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Philosophy and Life

Recent writing and occasional thoughts on assorted matters.

  • The value of virtues Nov 7, 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, interiority, scepticism, parables, ego and psi. Now I turn to virtues. Spiritual perception can be defined as the ability to resonate more fully with reality, and
  • What is hell? Nov 3, 2018 - Some preachers threaten hellfire, whilst others quench the flames with divine love. In our latest Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogue, following a suggestion of a regular listener, Rupert Sheldrake and I ask what sense can, today, be made of hell. Is it primarily a psychological state, in which people are locked up by distress? Is it a region of reality that some people,
  • A discussion of The Book by Alan Watts Oct 30, 2018 - The Book On The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are is arguably Alan Watts’s most brilliantly written book and one of his most challenging. The TV producer and writer, John Lloyd, called it “The best book I’ve ever read on the nature of what actually is, what the world is about, and how you should behave.” In this extended discussion
  • Why we need Halloween Oct 29, 2018 - This article is published at Christian Today. Local churches are being encouraged to hold 'light parties' this Halloween. The idea is to celebrate 'what's life-giving and positive', instead of what's dark and possibly evil, according the Church of England's promotional material. It's a recognition, as well, that the night when ghosts appear has been seized by commercial interests. Halloween is
  • Uniting science and religion Oct 26, 2018 - I've a piece published in the Church Times on the relationship between science and religion. The one line summary: “Mystical experience is a human birthright.”. Here's the start... IF YOU follow the debate on the relationship between science and religion, it is easy to come to one conclusion. There is nothing new under the sun. One side declares: science is
  • Psi phenomena Oct 3, 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, interiority, scepticism, parables and ego. Now I turn to psi. Spiritual adepts often attest to experiences of what is called the paranormal as their perception of
  • The say of the land Sep 25, 2018 - Is language produced by the mind? Romantic theory has it otherwise: words emerge from the cosmos, expressing its soul. Delighted that my essay on the origins of language has been published at Aeon. "Rather, language is one of those phenomena that arose when human beings engaged with life not so as to survive but so as to participate in the
  • Philosophy as Awakening: Stoics, Epicureans and others Sep 14, 2018 - Ancient philosophy is radically unlike modern philosophy, in ways that are fascinating and potentially life-changing. It's clear that pre-socratics such as Pythagoras were more like monks than professors, and Socrates set an agenda that Plato embraced as a remaking of the mysteries. But what of the Hellenistic schools who came next, the Stoics, Epicureans, Sceptics and Cynics? In this second
  • New online guide to the imagination Sep 1, 2018 - My new online course with The Idler is The Idler Guide to the Imagination. It's available at half price until Monday 3rd September. It's a practical and passionate plea for an imaginative approach to life. - It shows how imagination connects to and opens on to reality. - It considers the insights of thinkers including Shakespeare and Einstein, Blake and
  • Understanding the ego Aug 28, 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, interiority, scepticism and parables. Now I turn to the ego. It’s common to hear that spiritual development walks hand in hand with the denial of the

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