Introducing Owen Barfield

The words of the last Inkling himself open this discussion I had on Barfield’s thought with the editor of the Barfield Literary Estate website, Rory O’Connor.

It was a pleasure to talk about thinking and imagining, rainbows and spirit, climate change and the future.

For our conversation, click here.

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The front line of parapsychology

In this new episode of The Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogues, Rupert Sheldrake and I discuss how psi experiences can best be understood.

The evidence for these phenomena is dismissed by sceptics with increasingly dogmatic assertions. But that’s no surprise because the data in support of phenomena from telepathy to pre-sentience is now openly discussed in leading science journals.

So the real question, at the forefront of research, is which of the various ways for accounting for them is most productive.

We draw on the proposals aired at a recent seminar attended by the leading theorists, including Rupert himself. We explore the ideas of practising physicists and biologists working in the area, and move onto questions from the nature of time and consciousness to the philosophy of A.N. Whitehead.

The many previous discussions between myself and Rupert Sheldrake can be found on youtube, streamed, Spotify, iHeartRadio, as a playlist on SoundCloud, and on iTunes.

Posted in Blog, Science Set Free, Talks

Romanticism and the meaning crisis

The Toronto psychologist, John Vervaeke, has reached romanticism in his series, Awakening from the Meaning Crisis. He is moving into the area that Owen Barfield considered core.

In this discussion, that ranges across the ideas of Kant, Romanticism, psychotherapy and Christianity, I sketch how Barfield’s notion of final participation offers a sense of the way forward.

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Testing Christianity and the Evolution of Consciousness

A couple more podcast talks have been published.

Skeptiko with Alex Tsakiris – a penetrating exchange considering not only the place of Christianity in the evolution of consciousness but the significance of everything from NDEs to UFO experiencers today, and how Owen Barfield’s ideas help illuminate them.

Challenging Opinions with William Campwell – another feisty conversation that teases out the state of Christianity today, the challenges of science to spiritual sight, and how we perpetuate our own myths about the Bible, belief and the divine.

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Living in an Age of Spiritual Crisis

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 are not just biological and social but spiritual. We ask how this loss shows itself in difficulties ranging from mental health to social cohesion. We explore how a society that doesn’t have a sense of the spiritual becomes unreal, as if our desires can be fulfilled solely in material ways. We discuss how a spiritual crisis distorts the sense of being human, but how it also offers a prime opportunity to recover and regain an energising sense of what it means to be alive.

The many previous discussions between myself and Rupert Sheldrake can be found on youtube, streamed, Spotify, iHeartRadio, as a playlist on SoundCloud, and on iTunes.

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Fossils of consciousness

I very much enjoyed this conversation with Paul VanderKlay, talking about Owen Barfield, CS Lewis, Christianity then and now…

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How modern myths are subversive

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. They alert us to a wisdom that is fundamental in a religious world-view. Spirit, the supernatural, and powers such as love are cosmic and potent.

Even to the casual consumer, popular myths foster religious feeling and a taste for spiritual knowledge. They are potentially revolutionary. As another Inkling, Owen Barfield, put it: the cinema screen and the page of a book can become “an entirely new window” through which to see the world — although, in truth, the window has been there all along.

Cont…

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Celtic Christianity and nature

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 Nick Mayhew-Smith.

It makes several arresting claims. For example, the early missionaries, before the Synod of Whitby, engaged in a deep dialogue with the indigenous druids and pagans of these islands to forge a new engagement with the natural world under its Creator-God. They realised that in dark caves, icy waters, mountaintops and sacred groves, the divine could be found and that a lost paradise was scarcely a touch away.

So what has this Celtic vision of life in all its fullness got to teach us today? Could Christianity regain the sense that nature shares the yearning for God? Might this ancient vision become a crucial resource for a time facing environmental degradation and possible collapse?

The many previous discussions between myself and Rupert Sheldrake can be found on youtube, streamed, Spotify, iHeartRadio, as a playlist on SoundCloud, and on iTunes.

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What Tolkien learnt from Owen Barfield

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…

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What I believe

This interview with Dan Koch at You Have Permission turned into something close to a What I Believe-type discussion.

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