On the 27th of February I ventured to London to attend the talk Dr Rupert Sheldrake was giving on his new book Ways To Go Beyond: And Why They Work. This podcast presents his address that evening, and the following Q&A session. The talk was given at the Meditatio Centre in Clerkenwell, which is part of The World Community for Christian Meditation.
His book, written as both a scientist and a spiritual explorer, looks at seven spiritual practices that are personally transformative and have scientifically measurable effects. He combines the latest scientific research with his extensive knowledge of mystical traditions.
Normally I write a précis about what is contained in the podcast but on this occasion I break with Sentient Seas tradition and invite the listener to come to it without such a description provided beforehand. Also in breaking convention set in previous podcasts – there is no music break in this one. It is the talk followed immediately by the Q&A session.
For me personally – Rupert’s address covered a lot of ground on mysticism, and spirituality, and I am still digesting the contents of his ideas. I have been inspired by his work since first discovering it about five years ago, and his observations wholly resonate with my own discoveries into the changes that are going on across science as a whole.
I hope you enjoy this recording as much as I appreciated the experience, and I would like to say a big thank you to Rupert for allowing me to record it and share it as a podcast. To check out more of his work visit his website at: https://www.sheldrake.org
Sentient Seas has reached number ten of its podcast series and this episode is an interview with the American scientist and cultural critic Guy McPherson.
McPherson is an Emeritus Professor of natural resources and ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona but left the Academy eight years ago to pursue other things after coming to grips on a personal and epistemological basis with what he believes the data on climate change represents. His thesis of near term extinction for the human species because of runaway climate change, is as one would imagine, hardly a topic that is embraced by many people, let alone mainstream media fixated on its normal gentile output of political soap opera, and the ever important coverage of vacuous panem et circenses.
After becoming part of a permaculture inspired community in New Mexico in 2009 McPherson left it around 18 months ago to spend time in Belize between his lecturing commitments that take him around the world. His message is a very difficult one to face yet for me, as both a concerned citizen and practicing Ecologist, it makes sense as I have witnessed the rapid decline in only a few decades of habitat, and so many groups of animals and plants in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. The sheer speed of ecological degradation that is going on is sickening to behold, as is the mostly incomprehensibly backward responses and policies trotted out by most governments in the world in regards to terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity. Their innately anthropocentric responses are the problem, and not even on the map of what is required.
Personally, I would prefer it that none of the shameful desecration and assault on the natural world is happening because of the actions of Homo sapiens but it is, and we need to take stock of what is going on, and behave in more compassionate and sensible forms. A reassessment of what an economy is actually for, and how it relates to our relationship with the natural world is long overdue.
Our discussion covered many things and included: Pursuing Aristotle’s idea of friendship; E.O. Wilson’s book ‘Consilience’; The epistemological baggage of reductionism and its black and white material world; Dominant narratives that run over everything and the ‘fingers in the ears’ culture; Civilisation as a heat engine; Why did the circular economy not happen 40 years ago?; The UN being upbeat on the challenge of climate change; Living and working in Belize; And McPherson’s ideas about the pursuit of excellence while understanding the depth of the hydro-ecological issues that face us.
There are two musical breaks in this podcast and they are firstly the Mesmer Disciples with ‘Real Loud,’ and secondly Pea Green Boat with ‘Glitch.’ If you like what you hear go and support the artists by checking them out at their respective links… https://www.facebook.com/MesmerDisciples and http://www.sonic360.com/peagreenboat/
Thanks to GM for providing the picture. The upper embedded image of the beach was taken by the editor on a beach on the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand. If you like what Sentient Seas is doing and would like to support it in then please donate via the PayPal button on this page. It would be much appreciated.
Welcome to podcast 9. This interview is with the New Zealand artist, writer, and musician Jordan Reyne who from 1997 to 2017 has produced a prolific body of musical work with numerous solo releases and others in collaborations with other artists.
Her work is a unique blend of guitar, vocals, electronica, and percussion with textured and harmonised parts set against sparse or dense backdrops and propelled with mysterious and beautiful loops which invoke both the 21st century and the ancient past. It is innately powerful music with, among other thematics, an engaging metaphysical critique of human experience i.e. the impact of anthropocentrism and the alienation and ecological degradation induced by our ever degrading socio-economic system.
Our conversation covers – her early life, her experiences growing up within the wild landscapes of the distant and isolated West Coast of New Zealand, the influence of her music teachers, her journey as an artist through her education and eventual translocation to Europe, the themes of her work and geo-political and socio-ecological realities, to her recent move in walking away from music for the time being into a new creative venture in script writing for the gaming industry.
Charlie Gray at the Horton Community Farm 2016. Picture by Laura Buston.
Number 7 of the Sentient Seas podcast series is an interview conducted with the English permaculturist and community grower Charlie Gray. She has an academic background in ethnobotany as well as community work overseas and is one of the co-founders of Horton Community Farm Co-operative Ltd after joining a group of people who as part of Transition Bradford decided to act upon a permaculture design which had been created as part of a permaculture design course. She is interested in finding new paths for organic food production systems in urban areas and the need for influencing planning and design to incorporate food growing into the fabric of cities as we move into the era of climate change and fossil fuel depletion.
Our conversation includes: discussing her experiences in post Contra-war Nicaragua in the 1990’s, the model of Horton Community Farm, food production as part of a broader system, providing a place to be and connect with nature for asylum seekers and refugees, working with forest school sessions, permaculture design as a tool, the palette of produce from the farm, the function of the margins, the usage of porous walkways, networks, the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens, the Permaculture LAND project, LILAC self build co-housing, planning keeping the 7th future generation in mind, alienated youth and manifested behaviour, the nature connection work of Jon Young, instinctual capacities/the implicit powers of deep connection, the cultural emergence work of Jon Young and Looby Macnamara, and a practice of gratitude.
The music break of this episode is a demo of a new Mass Spectrometer song called ‘The Liquor Well’. Partially written in response to seeing the residual after effects of 19th Century industrialisation on two sites in 2014 and 2015. If you dig the tune and want to hear more of their work go to https://massspectrometer.bandcamp.com where you can support the artists by purchasing their music and t-shirts, or https://soundcloud.com/mass-spectrometer where some of their soundtrack material can be heard.