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Philosophy and Life

Recent writing and occasional thoughts on assorted matters.

  • The genius of Piranesi by Susanna Clarke Nov 29, 2020- I hugely enjoyed the new novel by Susanna Clarke, prompted to read it in part because I knew of her interest in Owen Barfield. It did not disappoint and I wanted to share why by talking about it in relation to four levels of meaning: the literal, moral, tropological and anagogic. I'd go so far as to say it's an…
  • A conversation on the New Abnormal Podcast Nov 22, 2020- Why hope rests on perceptions, community on being yourself, and resilience on questioning. Good talking with @SeanPdeC at The New Abnormal podcast.
  • The tricky parable of the talents Nov 15, 2020- The story of the master giving 5, 2 and 1 talent to slaves trips up those who see the parables as moral or justice tales. But there is another way of understanding them, asking us whether we have the eyes to see, the ears to hear of an entirely different economy and kingdom. Reading from A Secret History of Christianity,…
  • Dante’s Divine Comedy. The boxset Nov 8, 2020- I've just completed the last of 100 YouTubes/podcasts, one for each of the 100 cantos of Dante's masterpiece, The Divine Comedy. The complete YouTubes series is here. The complete podcast series is here, and on other podcast platforms including Spotify and Apple Podcasts. This year, 2020, marks the 700th anniversary of its completion. Next year, 2021, is the 700th anniversary…
  • Love in a time of crisis Nov 2, 2020- Our times are shaped by infantile forms of love, and even those who talk of love rarely seem to have more nuanced perceptions of it. But understanding love as linked to loss, and as a developmental path, can help us personally and culturally today. Love can then be known to grow through loss and struggle, and the loses and struggles…
  • The Day of the Dead, a discussion with Rupert Sheldrake Oct 28, 2020- Most, perhaps all, cultures have moments of the year for fostering links with those who have died. In the western Christian world, the days of the dead are Halloween, All Saints and All Souls Day. In this Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogue, Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon ask about the significance of this time. They take a lead from the Pixar film, Coco,…
  • Mark on The Sacred Podcast Oct 12, 2020- I talk with Elizabeth Oldfield on The Sacred Podcast about breakdowns, the power of psychotherapy, the emergence of Christianity, the imagination, the future of science, sensing the divine. Amongst other things.... 'Ultimately what you want people to do is realise they are far bigger than they realise and to become more aligned with the biggest, most expansive and divine parts.'…
  • Pseudo-science, a discussion with Rupert Sheldrake Oct 2, 2020- The accusation of pseudo-science is often made against those involved in the New Age, and sometimes rightly so. But as Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon discuss in the latest episode of the Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogues, there is a lot more to the sneering and ridicule than meets the eye. They explore how science itself might morph into pseudo-science, which is perhaps…
  • Revelation, discussed with Rupert Sheldrake Sep 4, 2020- World religions and inspired individuals alike say they are the recipients of divine revelation. But what might that mean? In this new episode of the Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogues, Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon discuss the nature of revelation. They explore how revelation is a means of channelling and connecting with insight and intelligence in the domains of both religion and science.…
  • The Four-Fold Vision of William Blake Sep 4, 2020- The Four-Fold Imagination is an essay I've had published at Aeon. The YouTube below is a complementary look at some of Blake's images, conveying a felt sense of single vision, two-fold, three-fold and four-fold vision. Do read and share the essay!

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