Philosophy and Life

Recent writing and occasional thoughts on assorted matters.

  • Reclaiming scepticism Jul 9, 2018 - I've begun a new series of talks on inner life and seeing with the eye of the soul called How To See Spiritually. Previous talks have looked at why spirituality is important, soul, wonder and interiority. Now I turn to scepticism. Modern scepticism often aims at debunking and limiting awareness. But ancient scepticism was very different. It was a crucial
  • Consciousness in the age of machines Jun 30, 2018 - In The Shadow of the Machine by Jeremy Naydler is a fascinating read. It tells the long story of how human consciousness evolved so that, at the turn of the modern period, the machine might become the dominant metaphor and feature of our age. In our new, latest dialogue, Rupert Sheldrake and I discuss this prehistory. It ranges over ancient
  • Philosophy as Awakening Jun 13, 2018 - I've long been frustrated by how ancient Greek philosophy, and the teaching of Plato in particular, is routinely misunderstood in the modern world. I've written before about the errors of assuming he opposed spirit and body, invented secular rationalism, and provided the key argument for why goodness doesn't need godliness, as well as on the need to rediscover Plato's vision.
  • How to See Spiritually Jun 7, 2018 - I've just begun a new series of talks on inner life and seeing with the eye of the soul. The first 4 are below. More to follow in coming weeks. 1. Why spirituality? We live with a worldview that is powerfully materialistic in its orientation and has brought many benefits. But it has also lost sight of an awareness of
  • Trump, chaos politics, and training the imagination Jun 3, 2018 - It’s become commonplace to point out that liberals are struggling to understand contemporary politics. Individuals such as Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin escape rational analysis. These presidents don’t obey the rules when it comes to, say, protectionist economics or international spying. The latest book from Gary Lachman, historian of esotericism and former bassist with rock group Blondie, offers an alternative
  • What is magic? May 22, 2018 - Rupert Sheldrake and I have published the latest in our discussions, on the nature of magic. We've also renamed the conversations from Science Set Free to the Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogues. What is magic? How does it relate to psi and animism? Is prayer a kind of magic? We explore how people have engaged with the spirited economy of the natural world
  • Avengers: Infinity War as a dream May 4, 2018 - This piece was written for The Idler. Avengers: Infinity War is one of the biggest movies of all time. That’s official, after a record busting release weekend across the planet. The film is generating cash as extravagantly as its superheroes perform feats. Marvel is making billions. But why? Critics have argued that the franchise is a licence to print money.
  • The virtues of perception Apr 22, 2018 - Rupert Sheldrake and I have published the latest in our discussions, on the nature of virtue and morality. Our discussions are also available streamed and on iTunes. The subject of the virtues can be met with an inner groan, only sparking interest in relation to their shadowy opposites, the vices. It’s partly the product of an assumption that we are
  • The message of Easter the churches forgot Mar 29, 2018 - A piece written for The Idler. This week Western Christianity celebrates just about the most profound spiritual truth that human beings have discovered, as Jordan Peterson might put it. It is that death is not the end of things but is, rather, the pathway to life. It’s not, actually, a Christian truth. It’s a universal one. Plato wrote about it
  • Lessons in narcissistic personality disorders Mar 23, 2018 - This piece was published a month back in the Church Times. ABUSIVE church leaders are in the headlines. The reports range from horrific instances of serial sexual abuse to cases of everyday bullying, manipulation, and making threats. The Church is grappling with the problem, but seems to be struggling to find ways of managing it. A crop of newly published

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