Category: Philosophy

HistoryPhilosophyThe History of Religion

Karen Armstrong – The Clash of Civilizations

It has been a while since Sentient Seas has published anything. The main reason being that I have been very busy with other publishing projects so I hope you enjoy this piece – the first since 1.1.17. It is an address by the scholar and author Karen Armstrong given to a packed Leeds Town Hall for the 2007 Schumacher North Lectures. I recorded this for a film and very much enjoyed her delivery.

Karen ArmstrongArmstrong is internationally recognised as an authority on the history of religion, particularly Islam, and has written extensively on the problems of inter-religious understanding and fundamentalism. Her work points towards the possibility of a new inclusive, post-modern spirituality that could help to heal the tragic divisions and misunderstandings that are apparent today.

As it happens of late, on occasion, I have sadly been witness to incidences of anti-Muslim prejudice. This disturbs me profoundly as those uttering such, aside from such conduct being extremely disrespectful, generally have not the slightest understanding,  on any level – of what they are seeking to denigrate with such utterances. I feel also that there is an axiom of prejudice that has been exascerbated by certain media outlets over nearly the last two decades or so that has sought to deliberately demonise Islam and its believers.

As it happens almost all Muslim folk that I have met over my life have been sincere, hard-working, warm, and generous people – and it pains me to hear of an entire faith group being bullied and scorned to suit various nefarious and misguided agendas. So pulling this out of the archives has been a reaction to that.

This piece is published on the 11th of September 2017, the 16th anniversary of the horrendous attack on New York City in 2001. An event, which in some ways helped define an atmosphere for the early part of the 21st Century, and proceeded the hideous wars and conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere in more recent time.

EsotericismPhilosophyPsychology

Podcast 8. Phil T. Mistlberger – From three 20th Century Magi to the Wisdom of the Elder.

 

Numbpt-mistlbergerer 8 of the Sentient Seas podcast series is an interview conducted with Phil T. Mistlberger who is a Vancouver based author, transpersonal therapist, and seminar and workshop facilitator.  His four books focus on eastern and western esotericism. Phil has an academic background in Health Studies and English literature but got restless with academia in his early 20’s and went travelling for months through India, Nepal, and the Tibetan plateau, staying variously in Buddhist monasteries and Indian ashrams. He returned to Canada in the mid 80’s and graduated from a transpersonal therapist’s training program in 1988. Since then he has worked as a transformational therapist and workshop facilitator. He has had a number of transpersonal influences, studying and practicing in many traditions, including the Gurdjieff Work, the Western esoteric tradition, Gnosticism, Kabbalah, A Course in Miracles, a decade as a disciple of the Indian mystic Osho, many forms of depth psychology and therapy, and most major Eastern pathways, including Tantra, Zen, Tibetan and Theravadin Buddhism, and Advaita.

Our conversation in podcast eight includes: the making of Phil’s ‘Dangerous Magi’ book published in 2010;  “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s” Matthew 22:21; The Fourth Way – petals in the water and roots in the mud; low self esteem, sources, and its consequences if unexamined; sharpening boundaries; self confidence and the power of belief; levels of karma; not taking things personally; the role of the western esoteric tradition in time to come; the British historian Ronald Hutton; the fear of an inner view versus the effect of transformed individuals; the human ego is ancient because it is about the impulse of survival; the weakness of the spiritual impulse versus the ego; ‘My Dinner With Andre’ and “points of light”; conscious relating and authenticity; elderhood – when does it happen?; and active curiosity.

If you’d like to investigate more of Phil’s work his website can be found at: http://www.ptmistlberger.com. The Samurai Brotherhood can be found here: http://samuraibrotherhood.com.

The music break of this episode is a Mass Spectrometer song called ‘Luminar’. It was partially inspired by a 2001 laboratory experiment in the USA where physicists may have accelerated  particles to 300 times the speed of light in a caesium gas chamber. It appeared that because of the unimaginable speed of the particles during the experiment that experienced time was actually going backwards – with the particles moving at an estimated  8,980,139 km/second (or 5,580,000 miles/sec). If you dig the tune and want to buy it – and help support their work – go to https://massspectrometer.bandcamp.com and find it within their 2014 EP ‘Guild Hall’.

CosmologyEcological ethicsEsotericismHistoryPhilosophy

Podcast 6. Dr Sean Kelly – Coming Home: The Birth & Transformation of The Planetary Era.

Sean KellyEpisode 6 of the Sentient Seas podcast series is an interview conducted with the Canadian philosopher and author Dr Sean Kelly. Sean Kelly is a Professor in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco in the USA. Along with his abiding interest in the work of Jung, Hegel, and Morin, his current research areas include the evolution of consciousness, integral ecologies, and transpersonal and integral theory.

I was turned onto his 2010 book ‘Coming Home: The Birth and Transformation of the Planetary Era’ via the Carolyn Baker Lifeboat Hour in recent time. [her podcast page can be found here… https://carolynbaker.net/podcasts/]

‘Coming Home’ is an elegantly written big picture study of the evolution of consciousness and cosmology, and the fractal patterns that Dr Kelly has found in terms of cluster periods of transformation over recorded history – beginning with the axial period (as per Jaspers of 800 BCE – 200 BCE). After reading it I just had to go sit on a beach in Wales for a spell and just think about it and absorb the ideas. Needless to say I loved it. It is a wonderful book and one of the best things I’ve read in years. It is a cosmology, consciousness, and historical epistemological masterclass series in a 200 page book.

The following comes from the book sleeve: “With the threat of global climate change, a looming mass extinction of species, and increasingly complex and volatile geopolitical relations, the entire Earth community has entered a most critical phase of what the author describes as the ‘Planetary Era’. This era began some five hundred years ago with the conquest of the Americas and the Copernican revolution in cosmology, but it is only now becoming a defining feature of human consciousness on a global scale.”

I approached Sean to do an interview about ‘Coming Home’ and the issues it touches on, and he graciously accepted and this podcast is the result of our discussion. Our conversation includes discussion on: his original ideas for his book which originally had the title ‘The Prodigal Soul’; fractal patterns in the arc of history; Hegel and wholeness; the triphasic structure; clusters of transformation i.e. the new enlightenment of 1880 – 1900; complexio oppositorum – the mystery of the absolute; dealing with the shadow – and conceiving of it as a practical and ethical responsibility; self remembrance and its benefits; a new narrative from a growing global network of critical consciousness; current power structures, momentum, and resource sequestering; the innate and largely unexamined problem of instrumentalism; the challenging of the private ownership of the commons; miracles – big and small; the organic expansion of the great turning versus the great unravelling; possible visions of 2100 AD; transition and big ecological issues to sort out to avoid massive overshoot; facing the deepening shadow as a priority; the immaturity of contemporary western culture; transcendence through reaching to historical roots, a revival of western rites of initiation; and David Bohm and the notion of the implicate order.

For further information on Sean Kelly’s work go to http://ciis.academia.edu/SeanKelly

The music on the podcast is a tune called ‘Avignon’ by Mass Spectrometer and can be found here, https://massspectrometer.bandcamp.com/track/avignon. If you dig it please buy it and help support the artists who made it.

 

 

 

Ecological ethicsEnergyPhilosophyScience

Podcast 5. Dr Mike Joy – The ecological realities of New Zealand.

MIke Joy (WQNZ)Episode 5 of the Sentient Seas podcast series is an interview conducted with the New Zealand ecologist and author Dr Mike Joy. For some brief background New Zealand currently has some serious problems with water pollution in rivers and lakes, particularly nitrate and phosphate leaching and effluent runoff, as well as other ecological problems like biodiversity loss. Mike Joy’s work is at the forefront of understanding the depth of these problems and in understanding what new pathways could help address them. Our conversation includes discussion on: ecologists cataloguing biodiversity decline, flawed legal tools in protecting landscapes, changes in land use in agriculture, the lack of awareness of cumulative effects, problems of intensification and nitrate pollution, fossil fuel linkages/calorific deficits and the challenges to future food production, the current opportunity for diversification, the outdated precepts of non-ecological economics i.e. GDP, ecosystem services assessments, integration/worldview and cosmology, and that humans and their systemic harnessing of the natural world now actually make our species the ecology of the planet.

For further information on Mike Joy’s work go to https://waterqualitynz.info

The music on the podcast is a tune called ‘Anchorite’ by Mass Spectrometer and can be found here, https://massspectrometer.bandcamp.com/track/anchorite-3

 

Ecological ethicsPhilosophyPsychologyScience

Podcast 2. Patrick Curry – Philosophy, Enchantment, and Ecological Ethics

Patrick Curry 2016

Patrick Curry

This is episode 2 of the Sentient Seas podcast series. It is an interview conducted with the London based ecological philosopher and author Dr Patrick Curry. The conversation covers: the position of philosophy in 2016 and its place in a neo-liberal world, academic philosophy and its confines, learning for its own sake, defining cognitive dissonance and its relation to the ecological crisis, the teaching of traditions and the value of having a teacher, anthropocentrism and ecocentrism defined, unexamined assumptions, our frames of reference – the long term vs the short term, human overpopulation – the unexamined topic, scientific ecology vs political ecology, objectivism vs subjectivism in science, becoming a better human being, Val Plumwood and ecofeminism,  human universalism and being top of the food chain, what is an economy actually for?, enchantment, intrinsic value vs instrumentalism, ecocentrism already implicit in human communities in the west, the commodification of life and its future, the Ecocentric Alliance, and Population Matters.

 

For further information on Patrick’s work go to http://www.patrickcurry.co.uk

PhilosophyPsychologyScience

Podcast 1. Mick Collins – The Unselfish Spirit: Human Evolution in a Time of Global Crisis

This is episode 1 of the Sentient Seas podcast series. It is an interview conducted with the author, psychologist, and holistic coach Mick Collins about the content in his 2014 book ‘The Unselfish Spirit: Human Evolution in a Time of Global Crisis’, which is available on Permanent Publications.

Mick Collins 23.3.16.crptThe podcast conversation covers key issues within Mick’s book including transpersonal psychology and its importance, as well as: spiritual emergencies; the role of archetypes in the modern world; the rich interface, power and pragmatism of dreams; the healthy ego and the transpersonal; the power of the placebo; Jung as modern shaman; Ted Kaptchuk; stress has overtaken back problems as the key health issue in the workplace; reflexivity between ones inner and outer worlds in occupational interests; teachers wanting to leave the education profession, SALT magazine; Herbert Marcuse and a renewed politics of consciousness; connecting visionary energies; Theodore Roszak; technology/robotics and estimated 15 million job losses in next 20 years in the UK; co-creation and communities of influence; interdisciplinary work for the greater work; synchronicity; a collective dream. For further information on Mick’s work go to http://www.epiczoetic.co.uk

The music on the podcast comes from Mass Spectrometer and the NDR Jazz Workshop.