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LAO TZU 27

LAO TZU 27

September 21, 2020

This podcast offers a reading of Chapter 40 of the Tao Te Ching. This short chapter deals with the nature of the Tao itself and how it creates all things from nothing. I consider the nature of the Tao as process based rather than thing based. I also draw out resonances between this chapter, particularly with regard to nothingness,  and insights into particle physics as suggested by Fritjof Capra in his book, The Tao of Physics (1975). [Free. 20 minutes.]

COVIDIOCY: WHO BENEFITS? - INTERESTING TIMES 10

COVIDIOCY: WHO BENEFITS? - INTERESTING TIMES 10

September 1, 2020

In this podcast, we analyse the covid-is-a-hoax movement which demonstrated recently in London, demanding the abandonment of all remedial measures against the global pandemic. We do so primarily by asking the question that we identified in a recent podcast [Grassroots and Astroturf] 'Who benefits from this movement?' The question proves revelatory of how this movement plays to the far right and upholds the status quo, whilst claiming the contrary. The involvement of far right parties in the loose coalition of new-agers, antivaxers, climate deniers, and adherents to fantastic conspiracy theories is not accidental. These elements are stitched together by irrationalism. [Free. 24 minutes.]

WHAT CAN WE DO?

WHAT CAN WE DO?

August 12, 2020

In this podcast, I apply some raw thinking to characterising what seem to be the two primary political orientations in Western 'democracies' today. These are conservatism and progressivism. I identify and characterise two tendencies in progressivism, majoritarianism and vanguardism. Both of these pose practical and theoretical dilemas. I propose a broad way forward for progressives which mitigates those dilemmas. The discussion passes through a range of issues, amongst them, the natures of inequality, wealth, power and revolution. [Free. 1 hour.]

THE CONVERSATION OF HUMANKIND

THE CONVERSATION OF HUMANKIND

May 14, 2020

In this podcast, we consider the conversation of humankind over millennia and the way philosophy can be understood this way. We give reasons for wanting to encounter it and share that encounter. The first is to equip ourselves with tools for enquiry, so that we are not 're-inventing the wheel'. The second is for its own sake, to delight in its sublimity and beauty. The third is so that we may be good ancestors.  [Free. 14 minutes.]

 

LAOTZU 19

LAOTZU 19

May 3, 2020

In this podcast, we consider Chapter 32 of The Tao Te Ching. Here, Lao Tzu emphasises the ineffability of the Tao even whilst urging the sage/ruler to follow it if he is to be a good ruler who is able to care for the people well. The implications of the ineffability of the Tao for the nature of language, that it cannot exhaust the world with its names or propositions, is suggested in the text and we tease it out. [Free. 29 mins.]

RESILIENCE: INTERVIEW WITH GODFREY DEVEREUX

RESILIENCE: INTERVIEW WITH GODFREY DEVEREUX

January 25, 2020

In this interview renowned Yoga Teacher Godfrey Devereux about a recent turn his work has taken. Godfrey has dropped the language surrounding contemporary Yoga to talk instead about resilience and how it is a consequence of a certain meditative self-enquiry. I ask Godfrey to elucidate this and particularly in the context of impending ecological catastrophe. I give my own take on these matters which is more inclined to speak up for activism. Listen to the following podcast, The Yogi and the Commissar, in which I explore some of the themes that emerged and in the light of Simone de Beauvoir's existentialism. [Free. 32 minutes.]

MISLEADING SLOGANS [3] “LEAVE MEANS LEAVE”

MISLEADING SLOGANS [3] “LEAVE MEANS LEAVE”

September 13, 2019

In this podcast, we unpack the common rhetorical phrase employed by no-deal brexiteers, "leave means leave". We point out that, though the phrase tautological, an implication is indirectly intended by it, whilst simultaneously concealing counter implications. The implication is that there is only one outcome of invoking and implementing Article 50 which would withdraw the UK from all its treaty obligations with the EU. The fact is that the terms "brexit" and "leave" denote a wide range of possibilities which need to be considered as to their probable outcomes and evaluated more generally. [Free. 30 minutes.]

DESIRE & THE FUTURE [YES & NO 6]

DESIRE & THE FUTURE [YES & NO 6]

June 9, 2019

This podcast, recorded in November 2018, continues with commentary on the Songs of No and Yes, and explores the theme of desire further. As well as asking if determinism universally applies, I ask what would be the existential consequences if it did. I conclude that metaphysical issues, like free will  - determinism are probably undecidable, and, in this case, of no existential consequence. The upshot for meditation practitioners is that they are well-advised to be engaged with the world and to make efforts to make a future of flourishing for self and others, rather than repudiating creativity, politics and altruism because "what will be, will be." (If such is their bent.) The practice of letting be with bright awareness, I argue, should be understood as applicable to all aspects of lived experience, including the active, creative and passive. The role of determinism in the scientific method is briefly considered. [Free. 18 minutes.]

DESIRING TRUTH [YES & NO 4]

DESIRING TRUTH [YES & NO 4]

February 16, 2019

This podcast is a commentary on the poem Desiring Truth from Songs of No and Yes. The poem outlines the enormous philosophical difficulties encountered in the quest for the truth about truth and contrasts them with the ease with which we employ our ordinary, common sense, adequationist notion of truth very effectively in everyday life. In the commentary, I draw on Patanjali's account of truth and knowledge in the Yoga Sutra, finding nothing problematic in our ordinary truth telling whilst suggesting that our various encounters with the ineffable, samadhi, have a valuable but unstateable truth content. I also note Patanjali's method of uncompromising truthfulness as an approach to the ineffable as encountered in the microcosm in the practice of self-study. [Free. 28 minutes.]

FREE SPEECH

FREE SPEECH

August 27, 2018

In this podcast, I take it that free speech, as an instance of freedom per se, is a very great good. However, this stance is not unproblematic in that free speech and freedom can subvert themselves as well as eroding other goods, e.g. equality. The obvious and often proposed notion that this can be overcome by policing or regulation raises the problem that any claim to the right to do the policing is impossible to legitimate and will therefore ultimately be authoritarian in nature. There is some hope in the possibility of general eduction based on ecouraging questioning rather than on inculcating dogma but this project also encounters a legitimation problem in that curricula are likely to be determined by some authority. [Free. 33 minutes.]

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