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LAO TZU: PART EIGHT

LAO TZU: PART EIGHT

October 20, 2017

In this podcast, we discuss Chapter Thirteen of The Tao Te Ching. In this chapter,  Lao Tzu recommends that we drop 'status anxiety' and reconsider our received notions of success and failure. We relate Lao Tzu's insights to modern life and recommend them for your consideration! [Free. 33 minutes.]

“CULTURE IS NOT YOUR FRIEND”

“CULTURE IS NOT YOUR FRIEND”

October 17, 2017

In this podcast, I reflect on Terence Mckenna's assertion that "culture is not your friend." I find that, indeed, culture as we know it today, frequently has ideological components, i.e. it plays a role in preserving and promoting social dominance hierarchies. However, it does have pragmatic possibilities, preserving ideas, crafts and technologies that have survival value. And, when not paralysed by conservatism, these possibilites can even develop beyond what can be achieved in a single generation, enhancing life. I argue also that culture has vital roles in entertainment and edification which can be usurped by ideology and which it is worth the effort to restitute. [Free. 25 minutes.]

TRUST

TRUST

September 23, 2017

This podcast is a meandering analysis of trust, starting with the question 'What does it mean when I say, "I trust you."?'. It covers considerations of character, predictability, and behaviour which lead on to a criticism of behaviourism and a phenomenological analysis of the ways we appraise character. The role of trust in exchange, promising and social organisation is outlined with a nod towards Nietzsche's polemical considerations of 'the mnemotechnics of pain'. A picture of our culture as a culture of mistrust emerges and this is illuminated by a tiny story conncocted by Wittgenstein. I also consider the atom of trust which is a possible relationship between two individuals. I conclude that trust takes a leap of faith, and though it might be irrational, life without it is barren. [Free. 35 minutes.]

LAO TZU: PART SIX

LAO TZU: PART SIX

September 16, 2017

In this podcast, we consider Chapter Eleven of The Tao Te Ching. This chapter deals with the uses of emptyness, not only in the sphere of practical life but also for meditation. [Free. 17 minutes.]

LEFT-RIGHT: PART TWO [COSMOPOLITANISM, ETHNO-NATIONALISM, HEIDEGGER, NIETZSCHE]

LEFT-RIGHT: PART TWO [COSMOPOLITANISM, ETHNO-NATIONALISM, HEIDEGGER, NIETZSCHE]

September 9, 2017

In this podcast I compare and contrast cosmopolitanism with ethno-nationalism. I discuss the use of Heidegarian tropes by alt-right ideologues to justify their stance which regards cosmopolitanism as the cause of all the ills of the modern world. I show how this move is easily countered and that Heidegger's view of 'the self' can actually be used to counter the notion that cosmopoitanism leads to the modern carelessness with the environment and 'rootlessness'. What is missing from the alt-right reading of the Heideggarian human 'self', I argue, is the questioning nature of this 'self' which in turn leads to the yoga questions: 'Who and what am I?'. At the very least, if we are honest with ourselves, the answer is that of Diogenes the Cynic: 'I am a citizen of the world'. At the same time, the beauty of one's particularity is revealed, even as one might rhapsodically experience oneness with everything. I trace some of this path of thought through a brief discussion of Heidegger's relationship to Nietzsche, to whom he dedicated four thick volumes of reflection and criticism. [Free. 43 minutes.]

SPIRITUAL BUT NOT RELIGIOUS [?]

SPIRITUAL BUT NOT RELIGIOUS [?]

September 3, 2017

In this podcast, I reflect on the currently prominent self-description of "spiritual but not religious".  Underpinning the possibility of such a notion, I argue, is a crucial difference between two ways of encountering our interiority. The first does so from a perspective that espouses this or that set of dogmas belonging to this or that institutional religion. The practices associated with this orientation are likely to entail moral cultivation and to proscibe certain lines of enquiry. The second does so from a perspective that takes it that everything whatsoever is up for questioning, including the dogmas of religion. I argue that Patanjali's Yoga belongs in the second category and is cosmopolitan in character, and that equations of Yoga with nationalism, such as that made by Baba Ramdev, are nonsensical. [Patrons only. 33 minutes.]

PARENTS

PARENTS

July 25, 2017

This podcast considers "making your peace with your parents" and why, if possible, it's a good idea. [Free. 20 ,minutes.]

YOGA AND THE FUTURE

YOGA AND THE FUTURE

June 23, 2017

In this podcast we discuss the future of Yoga both in a broad historical context and in the local UK context in which Yoga is being 'claimed' by the corporate fitness industry. The discussion naturally elides into a discussion of the potential roles that Yoga and Yoga practitioners should play in the unfolding of events as economic, cultural and ecological instabilities play out. We conclude that the fitness industry has to be strongly resisted by authentic yogis if Yoga is to be able to do its good work to maximum effect. An extended version of this talk was given at the IYN Yoga Festival on 2nd June 2017. [Free. 54 minutes.]

ARE WE IN CONTROL?

ARE WE IN CONTROL?

June 16, 2017

In this podcast, we consider the question "Are we in control?" The discussion takes in the matters of determinism, language, fundamental ontology and meditative yoga practice. We conclude with a recommendation of letting be with bright awareness whilst playfully recognising the role of (what we experience as) will and control in the practicalities of life. [Free. 36 minutes.]

LAO TZU: PART FOUR

LAO TZU: PART FOUR

May 31, 2017

This podcast deals with Chapters 6, 7 and 8 of the Tao Te Ching. Themes covered include breath and the pulsation of the universe, poetry and the attempt to eff the ineffable, up and down mysticisms and letting be, water and flow, the sage, confucianism, politics, desires and political manipulation, maternal nurturing, compassion and strategies for living, etc. [Free. 40 minutes.]