Monday, 13 December 2010

Blair vs Hitchens on the good that religion does

Radio 4 - Monday 13.Dec.2010 3pm.

Blair should not have sought to defend "Religion" i.e the institutions. Hitchens is quite right to attack "Religions" for their attitudes to sex, sexuality, women etc. Blair should have said he agreed with everything Hitchens had to say, but then said there is more to faith or spirituality than is imagined or conceded in Hitchens' world view.

Conceptual Art

Art - craft, aesthetics and beauty
Conceptual Art - jokes, philosophy, politics, perception, consciousness

Monday, 29 November 2010

Confession time

How meditation did and didn't help me face my alcoholism
I came from a drinking family and a drinking culture. My parents nicknamed me “Booze” when I was a tiny baby, I was so desperate for my bottle (my mother tried breast feeding me but could not produce enough milk so I started life starving). I probably had my first drink when I was twelve. At fourteen I went on my first bender. By my twenties I had learnt how to drink 'responsibly' and only occasionally got pie-eyed or behaved inappropriately. I started a career, got married, brought up a family. Each year, the amount I drank steadily increased. It was just a habit, something I did every day. Not getting drunk, usually, just going up to bed relaxed and happy.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Seeing separation

Meditation am 6.sep.10
A moment, barely more than a split second (it never is more, the mind snaps shut like a trap) when I see that You are right here, closer than this, that what separates is inifinitesimally small. The slightest desire, effort, anything, takes me away from You. And that You are a shape shifter, a joker, a thing of paradox. That when you said “Hate your father and mother, sisters and brothers” that was no linguistic mis-translation from Hebrew (Fr Barry said Hebrew could only do black and white, cannot express preference or like this better than that, that Mathhew put it better than Luke) – that is the truth – we have to turn away from everything to find You and the Kingdom – from all separateness, distinction, duality, will – we have to let go of the world, to find the Source of the world, we have to be One as You and your Father are One.And that’s how it all starts, that is what is at the heart of the Big Bang – separation and duality, out of the Singularity.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010


Wednesday 21 July 2010

apatheia - to depression, horror - there is nothing else, nothing left - even this is empty

and that HeSheIt is even there, in and beyond that death

Thursday, 18 February 2010

The number 17

Yesterday, Ash Wednesday 17th February 2010 was the 31st anniversary of my marriage to Sukie, my first wife. 17 is a prime number, as is 2 and 1979. And 1 + 9 = 10, 1 + 0= 1, 1 + 7 = 8, 8 + 9 = 17, which is odd in a nice sort of way. 17 has always seemed to be a good number or a date on which things happen to me, and I just like it. In the same way perhaps as the late great Douglas Adams had a thing for 42 (or did he?).

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

The Bible as a personal narrative

An integral perspective on the Bible (and other sacred texts)

The Bible is an allegory of stages of development - magic, mythical and so on up to transcendental. Perhaps it's not a very good one, or rather messy and a bit of a rag bag, perhaps if we understood it better we would find out it's a better one. Just as the Greek myths model actual human behaviours, concerns, even psychoses

The construction of the Bible. Not the Word of God, but equally not the deliberate creation of a human author - created through history, by Jews, then Christians, then translated - Greek, Latin, English, German assembling and ordering texts according to what at each stage considered important / true. The process considered as a whole (and all the interpretations offered along the way as well) almost unconscious, and therefore possibly speaking about a greater, deeper truth than any one deliberate author could achieve. Quite different in scope and intent from say the Dhammapada, although not perhaps from the whole body of Buddhist literature.

Monday, 11 January 2010

evil and god - under construction

God, Philosophy, Universities: a history of the Catholic philosophical tradition
Alasdair MacIntyre - reviewed in the Tablet 9.Jan.2010

"Alasdair MacIntyre lists three problems that are inescapable for theism. The first is how to reconcile the goodness of God with the evil in the universe. The second is this: if God is the cause of every happening, it seems that finite agents have no real powers. The third is that it seems doubtful whether one can speak meaningfully in human language of a God who exceeds the grasp of human understanding. MacIntyre sets out the problems bluntly and fairly, but he does not set out to solve them. Instead, he urges that the history of theism shows that a thinker can maintain faith in God while treating his existence and nature as philosophically problematic. "

Friday, 8 January 2010

modern technology

Talking to P last night about what's wrong with modern technology (mobiles, internet, social networking etc. etc.) - today there are many fewer random interactions.

Before the mid 19th Century (in this country anyway) most people had no interactions with anyone outside their family and immediate community. Then the railways, the bicycle, the telegraph, mass circulation daily newspapers, wireless, telephones began to create a global industrial society, and people began to have many more random interactions - chance encounters with strangers on trains and in big cities, crossed lines on telephones (when was the last time that happened to you?) - random books on returned library shelves. People talked about synchronicity, or just co-incidence, about the 6 degrees of separation - a completely random set of links that would join you to anyone else on the planet in 6 jumps or less.