“The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.”
–Alfred North Whitehead

Month: May 2011

  • Towards an Eco-Ontology

    Adam over at Knowledge Ecology has posted about the need for a pluralistic ontology in thinking the differences between nature and culture. I’ve copied my response to him below: ——————————————— Another stimulating post, Adam. I love the thinkers you are bringing into conversation. I have not yet read Carolan’s essay, but I have a few […]

  • Feelings Matter because Motion Emotes.

    ConferenceReport (or Fred in the meat-world) likes to take his visuoaudiences on a walk through metaphors of mind. In this video, he draws on the work of the cognitive scientists George Lakoff, Thomas Nagel, Antonio Damasio, Thomas Metzinger, and William James, among others. I’m most interested in what Fred has to say about the relationship between consciousness and […]

  • Rudolf Steiner on the Evolution of Consciousness and the Alphabet

    Here are the first few paragraphs of a lecture by Steiner (given in Dornach, 18th December 1921) on the relationship between alphabetic technologies and the evolution of Greek and Roman consciousness: For some time we have been occupied with gaining a more accurate knowledge of Man’s relation to the universe, and today we would like to supplement our […]

  • Ecology of Mind, Economy of Play, Energy of Delight

    Meaning is infinite because language is indefinitely recursive, because “world” is a word, such that “word” has no world to refer to. Words refer only to themselves, except Yours, your Name, who is the Word but mustn’t know it. “Reality” is a word referring to a set of alphanumeric-audiovisual symbols inherited from an ancient alchemical cult. Sense is infinite […]

  • Stories of Life, Tails of Spirit

    A set of videos exchanged this week between Fred (ConferenceReport on YouTube) and myself about the use-value of terms like “life,” “consciousness,” and “matter” in philosophical and scientific discourse:

  • G. K. Chesterton on the Human Stranger

    “The simplest truth about man is that he is a very strange being; almost in the sense of being a stranger on the earth. In all sobriety, he has much more of the external appearance of one bringing alien habits from another land than of a mere growth of this one. He has an unfair advantage […]

  • Post-Secular Spirituality

    Michael over at Archive Fire recently linked to a published essay by a friend and former colleague at CIIS, Annick Hedlund-de Witt. Annick researches the way changing world-views in America and Europe stand to influence–whether positively, negatively, or not at all–the push for a more sustainable approach to development around the world. She focuses specifically on spiritual imaginaries (my […]

  • Ethologies of Death

    Adam over at Knowledge Ecology posted some thoughts in response to my last blog on the concept of Life. I suggested that one way of distinguishing the human from other kinds of being is that we can contemplate abstractions like life-in-itself, and therefore also, death-in-itself. Adam writes the following: I think this is worth discussing […]

  • The Logic of Life and the Life of Logic

    I’ve just finished Eugene Thacker‘s After Life, wherein he surveys the positions of key pre-modern thinkers, including Aristotle, Plotinus, Pseudo-Dionysius, Eriugena, Duns Scotus, Aquinas, and Nicholas of Cusa. Despite the often illuminating nature of their thoughts, it seems that none of these men were able to articulate a workable account of life-in-itself, at least not […]

  • Process Philosophy of Science

    I’m pasting a dialogue that I’m having on Facebook with Steven Goodheart here so others can chime in if they so please! ——————————————————————— Steven remarked that my comment about the paradox of science’s ancestral statements reminded him of Roger Penrose‘s somewhat Platonist take on the matter. I responded by saying: Steven, I think my statement […]

  • Marshall McLuhan on Electronic Consciousness

  • Michael Persinger and the Extended Mind

    I’d like to follow up on my recent post about Michael Persinger’s research on the non-local electromagnetic aspects of consciousness. There is a growing contingent of cognitive scientists taking what has come to be called the “extended mind” theory quite seriously. Andy Clark is most associated with the idea, but Levi Bryant has been blogging […]

  • De Anima Mundi

    Some questions have emerged about what the hell (or heaven) I might be talking about in my last essay about death and the soul. These questions provide me with an opportunity to reflect on my own writing in an attempt to more fully articulate the vision behind it. I don’t already have answers to these […]

  • Death as Trickster

    A reflection after participating in Steven Goodman‘s “Tibetan Trickster” workshop at CIIS several weekends ago. See my follow up comments to this essay here. ——————————————————————— I should begin. I don’t know how much time I have… I’d like to tell you a secret, even though I’m not sure if I can repeat it exactly as […]

  • Michael Persinger on non-local consciousness.

    Most of you have probably already heard of Michael Persinger. He is a distinguished and extensively published cognitive neuroscientist at Laurentian University in Ontario. He is best known for his research with the “God Helmet,” which is supposed to give most people who wear it a non-ordinary state of consciousness often described as encountering a divine intelligence […]

  • Emerson on Philosophical Inebriation

    From lecture 7- “Inspiration,” given on March 7, 1871: “Happy beyond the common lot if he learn the secret, that besides the energy of his conscious intellect, his intellect is capable of new energy by abandonment to a higher influence; or, besides his privacy of power as an individual man, there is a great Public […]

  • The Feat of Human Flight

    Prometheus stole fire from the Gods, and now Icarus is closing in on the Sun. Daedalus reverse engineered the technology of angels and made man into bird. Will our wax wings melt in the light of space, or has the fire of spirit burst free of heavier elements? With each invention, are we more upright, or […]

  • The Ideal Realism of Schelling and Emerson

    I have come across a copy of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s 1871 lectures at Harvard. They were his last lectures, a sort of summation and final testament of his life’s work. He titled these lectures “Natural History of the Intellect.” I wanted to draw attention to one lecture in particular, that on Imagination given on February […]

  • Documentary on Owen Barfield

  • Islam in Iran

    A few strange and interesting facts about the theologico-political situation of our friends in Iran. Several men who work closely with president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have been arrested recently due to pressure from supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Khamenei’s and Ahmadinejad’s relationship has been deteriorating rapidly. His associates have been accused of performing magic and conjuring djinns […]

  • Towards a Christological Realism: Thinking the Correlation with Teilhard and Barfield

    Preface Quentin Meillassoux‘s lucid text, After Finitude (2008), comes at a time when Continental philosophy finds itself engaging more closely with what might be called  “poetico-religious” modes of thought. Rationality of the Cartesian sort has been thoroughly deconstructed, and no longer seems capable of providing what it once promised: a clear and distinct picture of […]