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.
Number 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.
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’.
Episode 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.
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.
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.
The 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.