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Philosophy and Life

Recent writing and occasional thoughts on assorted matters.

  • Three ways to contemplate life and death Apr 21, 2019- Three ways to contemplate that life may be bigger than death. (They're not proofs but hinting analogies which Plato argued have an advantage over proofs: they can expand your sense of reality whilst indicating their truths, rather than just dotting i's in the reality you already know.) 1. No scientist would write an equation unless maths had power. No composer…
  • Dante’s meaning of the cross Apr 19, 2019- In paradise, the Cross is explained to Dante in a way not heard in churches. It's not how God restores life, but rather was required by human notions of justice - penalty, payment, etc. It was not for God's sake, a nonsensical notion, God being God, but for the sake of human myopic sight. But with divine sight, it's possible…
  • Dying and rising: “I tell you a mystery!” Apr 19, 2019- The Idler has published the text of my BBC Radio 4 Lent Talk on doubting Thomas. Uncertainties in life are generally felt to be something to reduce, if not cut out. People try to ease their personal doubts and worries, business leaders dislike uncertainty and, perhaps partly in response, politicians seem increasingly inclined just straightforwardly to deny their unknowns. And…
  • Who was Jesus, and other questions Apr 15, 2019- I'm making some short films to get the ideas of Owen Barfield circulating in the run-up to the publication of my book, A Secret History of Christianity. The full set are online here. They cover questions including who was Owen Barfield, why Christianity is failing, how to save the planet, why we take photos, and lots more. Here's a couple.…
  • Lecture on the evolution of consciousness and Owen Barfield Apr 14, 2019- It’s been noted that the human experience of life has changed over time, and that during an “axial age”, in the middle of the first millennium BCE, a consciousness that is akin to our own first began to emerge. It’s why, in the west, we feel that philosophy began with figures like Socrates who lived then. So what are the…
  • Confronting a crisis the idle way Mar 26, 2019- This piece was written for The Idler magazine. One of things that happens when countries, organisations and individuals fall into crisis is that they lose the power to imagine how things can be different. They feel that there’s no happy way forward, that the only option is to stay trapped. It’s as a good definition of mental ill-health as any,…
  • Psychedelics: Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogue 46 Mar 23, 2019- Rupert Sheldrake and I have published the latest in our discussions, on psychedelics. Many people today seek an expansion of mind with them. So what other worlds, intelligences and entities are being encountered and sought in such experiences? We focus on psychedelics and spiritual paths, and why they are of such interest now. We explore the effects they have and…
  • BBC Radio 4 Lent Talk Mar 12, 2019- "I feel nervous if I'm called a Christian. It feels like being boxed in. But I can also see that buried within Christianity lies a transformative wisdom. But what is it, and how might it work? Well, take the figure of Thomas." My Lent Talk on BBC Radio 4, The Uncertainty of Thomas, is broadcast on Wednesday 12th March, and…
  • The presence of angels Mar 6, 2019- This article was written for Christian Today in response to the publication of Angels: A Visible and Invisible History by Peter Stanford. Angels are popular. Many people believe in them and, for a supposedly secular age, a surprising number of individuals have seen them. They’re even present to about seven per cent of those who don’t believe in God, according…
  • Pilgrimage – a discussion Feb 13, 2019- Rupert Sheldrake and I have published the latest in our dialogues, on pilgrimage. Millions of people around the world make pilgrimages. In a supposedly secular Europe, the spiritual practice is booming too. We discuss the revelatory experiences that people have when engaging with shrines and megaliths, temples and springs in this way, and talk about the evolutionary origins of pilgrimage…

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