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Philosophy and Life

Recent writing and occasional thoughts on assorted matters.

  • Climate crisis: spiritual crisis. Five principles as consciousness changing practices Oct 17, 2021- An MP3 version of the talk is here. Our carbon consuming culture has completely internalised the belief "that the world is made up of dead stuff plus active minds and acquisitive wills,” wrote Rowan Williams in This Is Not A Drill: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook. We have forgotten the spiritual intelligence that knows how to align with the natural intelligence…
  • Gnosticism, Then & Now – a conversation with Rupert Sheldrake Oct 6, 2021- A MP3 version of the conversation is here. The label “gnostic” is used to recommend and condemn. So what is, and what was, Gnosticism? This episode of the Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogues, with Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon, takes a lead from a series of fascinating essays exploring the ancient movement and its modern forms by the philosopher, David Bentley Hart. Gnosticism…
  • How To Know Paradise and Know It Now – new Dante talk Oct 3, 2021- A MP3 version if this talk is here. Today, many people feel Dante's Paradiso is irrelevant. It's not. It is the place of true perception and delightful knowledge, and the goal of the Divine Comedy. The question is how to follow Dante's lead and become aware of this domain of reality that is here, now as much as anywhere. In…
  • Know Thyself – Rupert Spira and Mark Vernon in conversation Sep 21, 2021- An MP3 podcast of the conversation is here. What is the direct path of Advaita Vedanta and why is it significant for so many now? How is it found across traditions, including within Christianity? Why might it matter to us today, collectively as well as individually? What are its links to psychotherapy, individuality, freedom, God? Mark Vernon talks with Rupert…
  • Book Launch and Celebration of Dante 700, event recording Sep 15, 2021- MP3 version here. For further details about Dante's Divine Comedy: A Guide for the Spiritual Journey - https://www.markvernon.com/books/dantes-divine-comedy-book For further details about the Dante Society of London - https://dantesocietylondon.com/index.html 2:34 Welcome 3:23 Dante’s first 700 years 6:08 Dante Society of London 9:14 Invoking Dante today 10:33 Introducing my new book 18:08 Reading in Italian and English from the Inferno, with…
  • Dante’s Divine Comedy – book published! Sep 8, 2021- Angelico Press has announced the release of Dante's Divine Comedy: A Guide for the Spiritual Journey. Dante Alighieri was early in recognizing that our age has a problem. His hometown, Florence, was at the epicenter of the move from the medieval world to the modern. He realized that awareness of divine reality was shifting, and that if it were lost,…
  • Against Moral Christianity Sep 4, 2021- My Philosophy column in the new Idler, September-October 2021. There is an old tradition of writing against figures or groups you disagree with. “Against” is the operative word. Augustine wrote “Contra Faustum”, which was a riposte to the Manichaean, Faustus. Thomas Aquinas wrote “Contra Gentiles”, which was a defence of Christianity against Judaism and Islam, with which Christianity has an…
  • Did Dante really go to paradise? Aug 22, 2021- An MP3 version of this talk and others is online here. In this 700th anniversary year, the truth of the Divine Comedy is a key issue. Modern critics may explain its spiritual veracity by putting its impact down to social construction and performativity. But Dante knew about literature as much as he knew about divine life. He is emphatically clear…
  • What the West can learn from the East – conversation with Rupert Sheldrake Aug 18, 2021- A MP3 version of the conversation is online here. Meditation, yoga, vegetarianism. Eastern practices have become a feature of western life. But what do we learn from them? This episode of the Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogues, with Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon, is prompted by a sense that the western way of life is being challenged, if not facing a full-on crisis.…
  • Nondualism, Divine Life and Now – on Looking East in Winter by Rowan Williams Aug 15, 2021- A MP3 version of the talk can be found here. Rowan Williams has written another hugely significant book, one ripe with meaning for now. In this talk, I unpack its themes of non-dualism and Trinitarian life, eros and kenosis, politics and justice, seeing truthfully and destroying the world. 0:39 Addressing the Anthropocene 1:28 The need for an epiphany 2:52 What…

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