Category: Blog

Hope Without Optimism – book review

My short review of Terry Eagleton’s latest book in the Church Times. On every page of this study of hope, which arose from a series of four lectures, there are a dozen reflections that would each merit contemplation. It makes

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Learning how to die

A Sunday Sermon for The Idler Academy. Drear nighted. That’s how Keats described December. Grey light. Brief days. Wind whistling through empty trees. Water frozen and forgetful of “Apollo’s summer look”. It’s the month in which time slows to the

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100 years old and making a comeback – Freud’s theories of the unconscious

This is a slightly amended version of the piece published at The Guardian. The unconscious has had a bumpy century since Sigmund Freud first described the extent of his discoveries in a seminal paper published 100 years ago this month.

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The psyche and God of an achievement society

A few more thoughts, prompted by Byung-Chul Han’s thesis that we live in an age of hyperachievement, positivity and therefore depression and anxiety, as he outlines in The Burnout Society. This is from a review in the new Third Way.

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The unconscious: 100 years old, and spiritual

This piece is in the new edition of the Church Times. THE unconscious is 100 years old this month — counting the publication of Sigmund Freud’s seminal essay “The Unconscious” as its birthday. Of course, the unconscious is as old

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Paris, terrorism, and psychoanalysis

I’ve been wondering whether psychodynamic insights have anything to offer in the aftermath of the atrocities in Paris. And I’ve found the writings of John Lord Alderdice, a former speaker in the Northern Irish assembly, who is also a psychoanalyst.

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Eliminate the positive. It's making us ill.

A Sunday sermon from The Idler Academy, on the redeeming power of negativity. We live in a dictatorship of positivity. “Yes we can,” is the dogma of the age not just the exhausting creed of politicians. You and I must

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Mindfulness and Psychotherapy: Complementary Practices

Mindfulness is rarely out of the news right now, and one theme that is doing the rounds is whether it can be dangerous. Projects such as The Dark Night are investigating the adverse effects of practice. Alternatively, the research upon

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Love will find a way

This essay, adapted from my book Love: All That Matters, is in the current issue of TPM. Developmental psychology is a field of study hardly known until the twentieth century. Before figures like Sigmund Freud, philosophers seemed not much to

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Heavens Above! Can we still follow Dante into paradise?

This article is published in the new issue of Third Way Magazine… In the 750th anniversary year of Dante’s birth, does the medieval world-view of The Divine Comedy still have anything to teach us? Mark Vernon’s planetary tour of the

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