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HOLLOW SYMBOLS -  INTERESTING TIMES 2

HOLLOW SYMBOLS - INTERESTING TIMES 2

June 11, 2020

In this podcast, we take issue with the complaints from  certain Tory MPs, conservative academics and right wing pundits that the toppling of statues of slave traders and imperialists 'erases history' and  'strikes at our way of life', and that historical figures should not be appraised according to modern morality and values. We argue that, contrary to these positions, obscured parts of history are illuminated by such acts, that 'our way of life' does not exist as a monolith, and that past figures should be evaluated according to modern values if we are to appraise our desires for future generations. We sketch out out symbols need to be understood as both heavy and empty. Warning: contains swearing. [Free. 19 minutes.]

A STATUE DIES - INTERESTING TIMES 1

A STATUE DIES - INTERESTING TIMES 1

June 8, 2020

This podcast is the first of our series of immediate reflections on current affairs. In it, we deal with the toppling of a seventeenth century statue of slave-trader Edward Colston by demonstrators in  Bristol. We celebrate this action and offer arguments against the right-wing reactions to this event. [Free. 39 minutes.]

STATE OF THE WORLD JUNE 2 2020

STATE OF THE WORLD JUNE 2 2020

June 8, 2020

This podcast is an account of our reactions to the state of things as on 2nd June 2020. In particular, we reflect on the murder of George Floyd by police and the resulting widespread social unrest and police violence in many US cities and demonstrations of solidarity across the world. We attempt  to relate these events to wider historical, economic, cultural and ecological contexts. 

LAO TZU 20

LAO TZU 20

May 31, 2020

In this episode of our Lao Tzu series, we explore themes of judgement, desire, non-violence, and longevity: all in the light of Lao Tzu's meditation 'method' of aligning with the Tao. [Free. 24 minutes.]

ON DEMONIC SHORTCOMINGS: WHEN A SPAD BREAKS THE LAW WITH IMPUNITY

ON DEMONIC SHORTCOMINGS: WHEN A SPAD BREAKS THE LAW WITH IMPUNITY

May 25, 2020

In this podcast, we dissect the furore around Dominic Cummings' breaking of lock-down rules and the PM's refusal to sack him when other officials have been sacked for similar transgressions. We assert that the ramifications of this matter go beyond the indiscretions of one man, easily written off as peccadilloes, or even spun as legal, moral and full of integrity. We find that the matter exposes with great clarity the class nature of UK society, the entrenched nature of the culture of deference which upholds it, the absence of the truth faculty amongst the commentariat and the political class, the representation of gross inequality as the natural order, and much more besides. The public rage with which these events have been met attests to the legitimate resentment which has been subterranean for some time but which may now erupt. [Free. 44 minutes.]

LOCK-DOWN PROTESTS AND LIBERTARIAN ABSOLUTISM

LOCK-DOWN PROTESTS AND LIBERTARIAN ABSOLUTISM

May 19, 2020

In this podcast, we discuss the specifics of US and UK anti-lock-down protests which naturally leads on to a discussion of freedom per se and how it can be exercised so as to remove the freedom of others. This involves considerations of property, inequalities of wealth and power, discerning evidence, and evaluating narratives in the face of media and governmental disregard for truth. [Free. 24 minutes.]

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.]

 

CONSPIRACY THEORIES: EPISTEMOLOGY, POLITICS & SELF-CARE

CONSPIRACY THEORIES: EPISTEMOLOGY, POLITICS & SELF-CARE

May 8, 2020

The plethora of conspiracy theories circulating in the public discourse attests to a time of real crisis. In this podcast we examine the epistemological issues that arise from this situation, particularly with reference to scepticism, the hermeneutics of suspicion, and the matter of trust. We also briefly look at the relevant politics and the role of elite money in promoting conspiracy theories and how these theories, though perhaps rightly suspicious of government, nevertheless come down on the side of the status quo. We finish with some recommendations for self-care in the face of the toxic sea of post-truth that public discourse has become. [Free. 28 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.]

LAO TZU 18

LAO TZU 18

May 2, 2020

In this podcast we reflect on Chapter 31 of The Tao Te Ching. This Chapter deals with the pity and tragedy of war and the terrible nature of weapons and how the sage does not celebrate them. The sage, instead, loves peace and quiet and recommends it to rulers and peoples. We relate this to our current situation in which over $1.7 trillion are spent per annum globally on the weapons of war and in which many senseless and highly destructive wars are fought. We conclude that Lao Tzu's lesson in this chapter is one we urgently need to hear. [Free. 21 minutes.]