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Philosophy and Life

Recent writing and occasional thoughts on assorted matters.

  • Trinities – latest discussion with Rupert Sheldrake Nov 16, 2019- Aristotle called three a perfect number. We offer three cheers of praise. Christians envisage God as triune. In this new episode of The Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogues, Rupert Sheldrake and I ask why three is associated with completion, creativity, dynamism and divinity. The discussion ranges over the patterns of three that are revealed in nature; the relationship between being, consciousness and bliss;…
  • A Secret History of Christianity – hear the introduction Nov 13, 2019- You can now listen to the introduction to A Secret History of Christianity: Jesus, the Last Inkling and the Evolution of Consciousness on youtube or audio. Do consider buying it as an audiobook!
  • Psychotherapy and the evolution of consciousness Nov 9, 2019- This is a talk I gave at WPF Therapy on how Owen Barfield's ideas about the evolution of consciousness might help shape psychotherapy's sense of itself. The youtube shows the core part; the audio is the full talk including my personal introduction and the questions. In short, psychotherapy can be said to have emerged to fill the vacuum left by…
  • Divine transports Nov 7, 2019- Excerpts from my essay on trance states and the origins of religion in human evolution published at Aeon. Dunbar believes that a few hundred thousand years ago, archaic humans took a step that ramped up this capacity. They started deliberately to make music, dance and sing. When the synchronised and collective nature of these practices became sufficiently intense, individuals likely…
  • Tutankhamun’s spell and the lure of ancient Egypt Nov 2, 2019- The artefacts of ancient Egypt fascinate because they touch a half forgotten experience of being in the world. Hieroglyphs do something similar. As Tutankhamun comes to London, what participation with life do they convey? Susan Brind Morrow, a translator of the writings known as the Pyramid Texts, argues hieroglyphs are best read as poetry, in her book, The Silver Eye.…
  • Life after death. A Halloween thought from Socrates. Oct 31, 2019- Socrates was at the start of a revolution in the perception of death. It had been experienced as a return to the ancestors. It became the way to discover the life beyond this life. This is an edited extract from my book, A Secret History of Christianity: Jesus, the Last Inkling and the Evolution of Consciousness. Our distant ancestors appear…
  • Owen Barfield and the power of words Oct 28, 2019- This article was published in The Tablet. I was once in a discussion about mission. We were a sub-committee, mulling over what we should do to spread the gospel and boost church numbers. An hour passed, as did various moods, from anxiety to optimism. And then someone said, “But wait. It’s not our mission that matters. It’s God’s mission.” The…
  • Barfield on Jung, Dante, Steiner, Lewis, imagination & meaning – a QnA Oct 25, 2019- Part 1 Part 2 I was delighted to get the chance to range over a wide variety of key questions put by Michael Leighty, gathered from an online audience, to reflect on the relevance and thought of the Inkling, Owen Barfield. The discussion includes the ideas of Dante, Jung, Kant, CS Lewis and Steiner, and thoughts on the crucial role…
  • The re-enchantment of Christianity – a conversation Oct 23, 2019- I hugely enjoyed this further conversation with Paul VanderKlay about Owen Barfield and modern Christianity. It ranged over the meaning of parables and the reality of miracles, the eyes that can see today and the ears that can detect what's coming tomorrow.
  • The Evolution of Religion with Rupert Sheldrake Oct 12, 2019- The origins of religion lie deep in the story of human evolution. But as Rupert Sheldrake and I discuss in this new episode of The Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogues, the scientific study of our encounter with other worlds is changing. It has been proposed that humans believe in gods because punishing presences keep individuals in check, but that's discredited. New research is…

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