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Philosophy and Life

Recent writing and occasional thoughts on assorted matters.

  • Living in an Age of Spiritual Crisis Jun 13, 2019- Rupert Sheldrake and I have published the latest in our series of conversations, this time on Living in an Age of Spiritual Crisis. The depth of the environmental crisis is becoming clearer. Social crises are around us, too. But do these realities stem from a deeper spiritual crisis? We discuss whether we’ve become uncoupled from the foundations of life, which…
  • Fossils of consciousness Jun 10, 2019- I very much enjoyed this conversation with Paul VanderKlay, talking about Owen Barfield, CS Lewis, Christianity then and now...
  • How modern myths are subversive Jun 4, 2019- This article was published in the Church Times. Here's an excerpt. In short, modern myths celebrate what is proscribed in a secular age. The secret of their success is appealing to an inner awareness of energies that are not material. Further, the stories suggest that we can learn to relate to this dynamism, and not simply try to control it.…
  • Celtic Christianity and nature May 11, 2019- Anxiety about the natural world is high and with good reason. Surprisingly, perhaps, the earliest days of Christianity in the British Isles have something vital to teach us. In this new episode of The Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogues, Rupert Sheldrake and I take a lead from a wonderful new book, The Naked Hermit: A Journey Into the Heart of Celtic Britain, by…
  • What Tolkien learnt from Owen Barfield May 3, 2019- The biopic, Tolkien, opens this weekend. It doesn't look like it gets to what I think was a key inspiration for the great author, namely the thought of his fellow Inkling, Owen Barfield. I'd wager that The Lord of the Rings would never have been all that it is without Barfield's genius. More on films on Owen Barfield here...
  • What I believe Apr 30, 2019- This interview with Dan Koch at You Have Permission turned into something close to a What I Believe-type discussion.
  • 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.…

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