"Your skin doesn't separate you from the world; it's a bridge through which the external world flows into you, and you flow into it."
More Alan Watts? Yes, it's always a good time for more Alan Watts. Over and over and over, repeat.
"The whole world is moving through you, all the cosmic rays, all the food you're eating, the stream of steaks and milk and eggs and everything is just flowing right through you."
Have you ever thought about your self in this way? In goes oxygen, water, sunshine Read more [...]
Philosophy, ideas, culture, intellectual development in the Arts, have been ridiculed by the right-wing "Liberal" political party in Australia. A Coalition Press Release yesterday read:
'The Coalition would look to targeting those ridiculous research grants that leave taxpayers scratching their heads wondering just what the Government was thinking.
Taxpayer dollars have been wasted on projects that do little, if anything, to advance Australians research needs. For example:
The quest for Read more [...]
On Thursday evening the widely acclaimed author Susan George presented the Ted Wheelwright Memorial Lecture at the University of Sydney, on the difference between legitimate and illegitimate authority. These are some of my scribbles.
Susan George started by reminding us that democracy is and will always be a work in progress—something you do not something you get.
The Problems with Neo-liberalism
She put into perspective the new neo-liberal model of politics, which continue to get Read more [...]
On Tuesday 18 June, I shook hands and looked into the eyes of the man who seems to be the happiest man in the world—His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet. More than meeting him, at the end of our event I received a blessing from him. It was very real but also surreal.
As one might imagine, it takes a lot of work and preparation, and a bit of stress. Ok, a lot of stress. Every detail must be taken care of. Every person must have a seat, but no seat should be empty. This Read more [...]
It is a common misinterpretation of the Theory of Evolution to think that there is a clear line between species—this is what Richard Dawkins calls “The Tyranny of the Discontinuous Mind.” If we are connected in time to all species, then are we not also connected to the big bang? In fact, within such a continuity, can we not define our selves as the Big Bang, expressing itself in different forms? Let's explore Dawkins' tyranny along with my all time favourite, Alan Watts.
In The Ancestor’s Read more [...]
In his TED Talk, the Canon Pastor of Exeter Cathedral in the UK, Tom Honey, explained some of the dilemmas involved in challenging images and ideas attached to the traditional notion of God within his congregation. He explains the way that ‘most people, both within and outside the organized church, still have a picture of a celestial controller, a rule maker, a policeman in the sky who orders everything, and causes everything to happen,’ and how in time he had become ‘more and more uncomfortable Read more [...]
The word "Fundamentalism" might make you think of people with unwavering beliefs who refuse to consider alternative views. You could be thinking of people committed to a political ideology on the far left or far right, or maybe a form of religious fundamentalism.
The word is often used interchangeably with "Extremism", which may make you think of suicide bombers, hate crimes against gays, sexual discrimination against women—anyone who use a "Holy Scripture" to justify violence. Yet you might Read more [...]
‘Extensive studies of colour perception over several decades have made it clear that there are no colours in the external world, independent of the process of perception.’
Since I was a child I've wondered if what I see to be green is the same as what you see to be green. I wondered if I were to switch places with someone would I be horrified by everyone walking around with green faces or green hair.
That's not the kind of un-real we are talking about here. I think we're safe to assume Read more [...]
After years of anticipation Samsara, the sequel to the movie Baraka, has been released. Samsara is a meditation on the endless cycle of birth, death, and rebirth, to which life in the material world is bound.
In Sanskrit, "Samsara" literally translates to "a passing through, from sam altogether + sarati it runs". Samsara is a journey through life, and the film provides a confronting snapshot of life, Earth, humanity, and the cycles we are a part of.
Directed by Ron Fricke and produced by Mark Read more [...]
'The notions most worth questioning are just those which are most taken for granted.’ 
I'm not sure who said "Truth cannot be told, it can only be found" (or something along those lines), but I believe there's something very important in this idea.
Each of us must search for our own truth/s. When you find your truth, you cannot impart it to others. You can share your truth in the context of it being your truth, understanding that the person you are sharing it with may enjoy your perspective Read more [...]
There are many ways to experience time. Our society dissects the movements of the cosmos, turning slices of time into clocks and calendars. Within those structures time can seem to move at very different speeds - when I'm bored or watching the clock, minutes can pass by very slowly, and when I'm enjoying myself the hours and days pass by very fast. How do these senses of time, the first known as "cosmological time" and the latter "phenomenological time" connect with each other? Ricoeur says it is Read more [...]
‘Heaven is not eternal, it’s just everlasting,’ says Joseph Campbell.
'I don’t follow that,' Bill Moyers replied.
‘Heaven and hell are described as forever. Heaven is of unending time. It is not eternal. Eternal is beyond time. The concept of time shuts out eternity.'
Joseph Campbell is a comparative mythologist, the great mind behind The Hero's Journey, among his many achievements.
The first time I read this quote I thought Campbell was saying that heaven is a place or Read more [...]
I've met two people who also can't get enough Alan Watts, and tonight will be our first night of our small Alan Watts Fan Club! In preparation I thought it would be useful to post some thoughts and summaries of his work.
Alan Watts (1915-1973) was a British-born philosopher best known for popularising Eastern philosophy for a Western audience. While he worked in many universities, including a fellowship at Harvard, giving lectures and writing books for many universities, he called himself "a philosophical Read more [...]
Rather than debating "Is there are God?" shouldn't it first be clarified "what exactly one is referring to by this word "God"? Can Panentheism provide a new slant on the God debate between New Atheists and Fundamentalist Christians?
I am having a mini thesis crisis - overwhelmed by wanting to say too much on too many things, referring to too many theorists, so I thought I'd share part of it with you and see if that helps. Some of the questions I ask myself:
Does "God" need to be understood Read more [...]
Have you ever noticed that the interior design of churches bears a striking resemblance to courts? From the pews to the preacher, and even their outfits!
There is a curious similarity between our politics and our religion, and an even more curious similarity between our systems of power within human societies and the way we imagine power structures within our universe.
"God" is still imagined by many people to be a king. This metaphor originated in the time when this image came to bear Read more [...]
I am far too aware of my being-towards-death. While Heidegger calls this "authenticity", I call it "frick'n annoying" and a "tad bit depressing". But it's too late now.
My ignorance is gone and like when you see a huge zit on someone's face, it's hard to then go back to ignoring it.
For all it's frustrations there may be something to it: an awareness of death leads to more conscious decisions in the way you live life.
Awareness of death makes you reflect on what you care about, and encourages Read more [...]
No one "gets it" like Alan Watts gets it. He summarises "it" in a 160 page book called "THE BOOK: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are" (1966). This TAG proves the pattern: no matter what I learn in the other fields and areas of scholarship, I can't help but return to the metaphoric and comedic language of Alan Watts.
These two paragraphs in the Preface to THE BOOK, (almost) captures the thesis I'm spending hours upon hours trying to write:
"THIS BOOK explores an unrecognized but mighty Read more [...]
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal Blog titled Australian's Lose Their Faith reported that 4.8 million Aussies marked "No Religion" on last year's census.
Following this article I spent an afternoon analysing the Australian Bureau of Statistics' 2011 Census.
The most interesting points:
"No Religion" 22.34% (made up of Atheists 0.27% ; Agnostics 0.16%; No Religion nfd 21.86%; Humanism 0.04% and Rationalism 0.02%).
"Not Stated" 8.57% (which may be because of the design of the Read more [...]
"To me war is a lot of prick waving. OK? Simple thing that's all it is. War is a whole lot of men standing out on the field waving their pricks at one another," said George Carlin, in his 1992 special Jammin' in New York.
"Men are insecure about the size of their dicks and so they have to kill one another over the idea. That's what all that asshole jack bullshit is all about. That is what all that adolescent macho-male posturing and strutting in bars and locker rooms is all about. It is called Read more [...]
During the Three Fork discussions (see this morning's post, which I didn't want to be longer than it already was) I began to relate the tension between left and right to the tension between the two parts of our “self” in time, that Paul Ricoeur refers to as the ipse and the idem.
The ipse is the “selfhood” – the you that was living in a moment sitting at school listening (or not) to a teacher talk, the you that is living in the moment right now reading these words, and the you that Read more [...]
Even the most obscure ideas and actions come from somewhere. Rather than getting defensive, attacking, or ignoring, I recently read a good tip: seek understanding.
David Harvey writes: "It is irrelevant to ask whether concepts, categories and relationships are 'true' or 'false'. We have to ask, rather, what it is that produces them and what is it that they serve to produce?" 
Thich Nhat Hanh elaborates a similar point with a metaphor: “When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you Read more [...]
"There are three problems in this world..." Sekai Holland opened her speech "1. men, 2. men, and 3. men." 
"Feminism" is an interesting word. In my ignorance it used to bring to mind images of men-hating women demanding to work, wear suits, and take off their bras. The idea of studying feminism or being a feminist was as foreign to me as studying astronomy and being an alien. Born in 1982 I missed the fight for women's rights and, without giving it a moment of appreciation, I have reaped the Read more [...]
After yesterday's encounter with Mr Moron, I mean, Mr Maroon, a religious fanatic arguing that Atheist's have no code for morality, I want to take a deeper look at ethics and morality from both a religious and secular perspective.
Given my research into the role of narratives in peace studies, I ask: What is the role of narrative in our ethics?
Mr Maroon was holding up his ethical code - the Christian bible - and asking for Atheists to hold up theirs.
"I have the Bible. Atheists have nothing. Read more [...]
"There are only two movements of energy," my yoga teacher noted as we arranged ourselves in Shavasana – the corpse pose – ready for relaxation, "expansion and contraction."
I adjusted my legs, relaxed my neck, and closed my eyes. I observed my lungs: expand, and then contract.
For the next five minutes or so I meditated on this idea. Expansion and Contraction.
It is true that our bodies are constantly expanding and contracting – whether we are breathing, drinking, or eating.
In Read more [...]