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Philosophy and Life

Recent writing and occasional thoughts on assorted matters.

  • Dante’s Divine Comedy 2020 Jan 25, 2020- This year, 2020, marks the 700th anniversary of the completion of the great Divine Comedy. I invite you to experience the odyssey, too, by accompanying me as I discuss each canto. Dante begins his journey by waking up in a dark wood. The air tastes bitter. He becomes fearful. Truth is out of reach. But his crisis is a turning…
  • AI and forgetting being human Jan 20, 2020- This is a review of Human Compatible by Stuart Russell first published in the Church Times. If you seek a book that explains why artificial intelligence (AI) will shape and change the future, this is the book to choose. It is clearly written by a recognised expert in the field, and offers novel suggestions that will leave general readers and…
  • Developing through difficulty – talk on Donald Winnicott Jan 18, 2020- The British psychotherapist, Donald Winnicott, has many key ideas that are useful when thinking about how we develop and connect with the wider world particularly in times of difficulty. His genius, in part, is also to take and on develop ideas of Freud as well as make connections with ideas of Jung. In this talk, I explore the way in…
  • The Netflix Messiah Jan 10, 2020- This piece has been published at Christian Today. Messiah is the new Netflix series. It features the appearance in the Middle East of a Christ-like character who, following an apparently spectacular miracle, gains a following. (I’m now entering into spoiler territory, though my thoughts below don’t reveal plot specifics.) As the episodes unfold, particular individuals and various government agencies have…
  • David Bohm and Owen Barfield: a conversation Jan 5, 2020- This is a summary of an exchange between the physicist David Bohm and the philologist Owen Barfield, and others, that took place on 1st and 2nd May 1982 at the Kettering Foundation. The occasionally broken transcript was given to me by Rob Lehman of the Fetzer Institute who facilitated the meeting. The exchange ranges over issues from insight and imagination,…
  • Imagination and unfolding reality Dec 30, 2019- Many today struggle to perceive spiritual reality. But might we be passing through a stage in the evolution of human awareness? In this dialogue, Rupert Sheldrake and I discuss a recent conference that addressed this question. It was inspired by the ideas of Owen Barfield, whom I've written about in my new book, A Secret History of Christianity. Barfield argued…
  • Spiritual growth Dec 23, 2019- This essay is posted at the blog of Perspectiva. What might it look like if we learnt to grow and progress and build differently - spiritually? During 2019, climate change became climate crisis, even climate emergency. The tenor has become more urgent and with that shift are raised further, more nuanced reassessments. One interests me, in particular. What might it…
  • Evolving Consciousness – complete films & podcasts Dec 17, 2019- All the recordings of our tremendous day, Evolving Consciousness: Spiritual Experience in a Secular Age, held on Saturday 30th November, can be found online.
  • The real meaning of Christmas Dec 17, 2019- This piece is published at Christian Today and The Idler. Many Christians will feel compelled to proclaim a social message this Christmas. How could they not? The story of a refugee family, with a tiny child, travelling across borders, fleeing hostile regimes seems irresistibly relevant in the modern world. Poverty and homelessness seem self-evidently integral to the Christmas story. And…
  • Why we always get biology wrong Dec 11, 2019- Rethinking Biology: Public Understandings, Edited by Michael Reiss, Fraser Watts, Harris Wiseman (2019: World Scientific) I've a chapter in this new book entitled, The Public Understanding of Biology: a journalist’s perspective, reproduced with permission here. A personal note might be useful. My scientific training extended to a physics undergraduate degree. I’ve written regularly on science at a popular level for…

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