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"More! More! is the cry of a mistaken soul, less than All cannot satisfy Man," wrote William Blake. How we might participate in the All, without consuming more and more, can serve as a summary of Blake's vision and vocation. All he did was, in a way, an increasingly extended, expansive reflection on how to live in the presence of infinity. The mist…
 
The reality TV star, Tyler Henry, became famous with his celebrity readings. His new Netflix series, Life After Death, is a chance to consider what he does in a different light. My sense is he is one of the relatively rare highly gifted clairvoyants, who have impressed investigators like William James. I'm also struck by how his way of working reso…
 
The land commons are the shared material resources that nobody in particular might own, and everyone might have, though they are routinely taken from us. Land and forests, water and minerals. The spiritual commons are the being of life itself that nobody owns and everyone has. And arguably, they are being taken from us even more carelessly and call…
 
A conversation on wrestling with Christianity - or perhaps more accurately, the Christianities that swirl around the figure of Jesus - at the Medicine Path podcast, #87, with Brian James. For more on Brian - http://medicinepathpodcast.com, http://brianjames.ca For more on Owen Barfield and his take on Christianity - https://www.markvernon.com/consc…
 
Modern Stoicism is more diverse than I knew, I learnt when I spoke with Simon Drew, Kai Whiting and Sharon Lebell. In particular, the divine element in ancient Stoicism, which was central, has not been discarded by everyone involved in the recent Stoic revival. In this conversation, we talk about Stoicism, the Logos, the cosmos, Christianity, and t…
 
Politics and religion is a question of our times. The role of the church and Christianity is contested in both Russia and the liberal West. William Blake was aware of the failure of politics in his time, recognising it wasn't ultimately a failure of leadership or practical solutions but of vision. What politics is for? What role do religious instit…
 
The scientific study of religion has produced numerous accounts for the evolutionary origins of a sense of the numinous in Homo sapiens. Robin Dunbar, Professor of Evolutionary Psychology at Oxford, is in the vanguard of plausible theories, not least as explored in his new book, How Religion Evolved and Why It Endures. In this interview, for the Ch…
 
The two hemispheres hypothesis, championed by Iain McGilchrist, has become well-known. But what light does it cast on modern society and our direction of travel? The nature of overweening bureaucracy, technologies of control, and the narrowing of freedom are explored in this conversation between Iain and Mark Vernon. They discuss issues from the le…
 
Each week, on Thursdays, we meet for Idler Drinks online, at which I give a short talk. We're not meeting over Easter, so this is an extra, reflecting on the Isenheim Altarpiece and the extraordinarily moving experience of Marian Partington, to ask how pain might be born when so much of it surrounds us. A written version of the reflection is online…
 
Is the resurrection a miracle? Are the events of Golgotha a mystery? And what of the resurrection of the body and attempts to prove what happened as an historical fact? William Blake argued passionately that treating Easter as a miracle or a mystery entirely misses its significance, which is visionary - a moment when perceptions are cleansed and et…
 
This conversation is part of the Living Mirrors podcast, hosted by neuroscientist James Cooke, exploring topics like consciousness, science, spirituality, meditation and the renaissance in psychedelic research.โดย Mark Vernon
 
A discussion of two new books on human evolution by leading evolutionary biologists, Robin Dunbar and Simon Conway Morris. Dunbar offers a revisionary account of the emergence of religion in Homo sapiens. Conway Morris considers widespread myths in Darwinian evolution, of which he is a leading researcher and advocate. Put together, the books sugges…
 
I turned to William Blake seeking hope and found a remarkably accurate account of our times and his, lived during the Napoleonic Wars. Albion despairs, but Blake does not. He sees a pathway, denying nothing, towards renewed inspiration.โดย Mark Vernon
 
The second part of my conversation with Jonas Atlas, host of Revisioning Religion about spiritual development. Mark Vernon's latest book takes a deep dive into Dante's Divine Comedy, a classic masterpiece, which, after many centuries, still provides many helpful insights for those who find themselves on a spiritual journey. We place Dante's work in…
 
A conversation with Jonas Atlas, host of Revisioning Religion about spiritual development. Mark Vernon's latest book takes a deep dive into Dante's Divine Comedy, a classic masterpiece, which, after many centuries, still provides many helpful insights for those who find themselves on a spiritual journey. We place Dante's work in a longer lineage th…
 
Witnessing so many Ukrainians responding courageously to the Russian invasion is moving and impressive. There is violence and suffering and death. And yet, in the midst of the undoubted tragedy, there can be detected the distinct presence of hope. Points of light outshine the darkness. What is the source of this faith and powerful resilience? I thi…
 
Perception is cleansed in the struggles of life, William Blake realised, as his own life was lived between heaven and hell, innocence and experience, vision and labour. Opposites are the energy that bring the power to see through surfaces to Eternity. Blake offers maps that chart the transformation from the narrow sight of Ulro to the full embrace …
 
The recent work of the psychiatrist and philosopher, Iain McGilchrist, allows us to bring the role of dualities in spiritual perception right up to date. He has shown how brain lateralisation facilitates two types of perception. They are asymmetric, both required in right relation for the fullest awareness of the world, which is so often lacking in…
 
Much is now known about Stonehenge. Wonderful artefacts have been recovered, a welter on display at the British Museum's gobsmacking 2022 show. But much mystery remains. How to interpret the past? Why do stone circles still draw us? What did our ancestors know? They participated in life differently. They weren't waiting to be us, though we yearn to…
 
A talk as part of the Dualities series with the Pari Centre, running through February 2022. For more information see - https://paricenter.com/event/dualities/2022-02-06/ In this talk, I discuss dualities in Plato. The ancient Greek is often accused of dualism, though the word itself didn’t exist at the time, which points to a subtler and crucial re…
 
What might Christianity have for us today? How might it stories still speak? Where to find what’s right in the tradition? I was delighted to speak with Paul Kingsnorth, whose substack and other writings since his conversion to Christianity, are helping to galvanise a new debate about religion in our society. We explore the need for more than cultur…
 
he hard problem of consciousness. Imagination as an "overheated brain". A future in the Cloud or Metaverse. William Blake was a thinker as well as poet and artist. His prophetic punch comes from seeing through the mode of living he saw developing in his times, that so powerfully shape our own. In this talk, I use five of his great sayings, as well …
 
How can we find a way through conflicts in and around science? What about experts and simplifications, uncertainties and advice, control and its consequences? Tensions are only going to get worse as the fallout and impact of Covid becomes clearer. In this talk, I consider two notions of power, as explored in the New Testament: dunamis, which might …
 
William Blake died in the apartment he shared with Catherine Blake on Sunday 12 August 1827. A contemporary letter reports: "He died ... in a most glorious manner. He said He was going to that Country he had all His life wished to see & expressed Himself Happy, hoping for Salvation through Jesus Christ – Just before he died His Countenance became f…
 
Rupert Spira and I met for a second conversation, beginning with one of William Blake's great exclamations of nondual awareness: “Awake! awake O sleeper of the land of shadows, wake! expand! I am in you and you in me, mutual in love divine I am not a God afar off, I am a brother and friend; Within your bosoms I reside, and you reside in me: Lo! we …
 
William Blake used his infernal methods subtly to critique Christmas via his illustrations to Milton's ode, On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity. He sought to reveal how its message of eternity is distorted by worldly vision. Blake objected to the gentle Jesus, meek and mild, of the stable. He pushed against the humble child, pointing out that Jesus…
 
Our times are marked by divides that will remain, possibly deepen. Has the Divine Comedy anything meaningful to offer a riven state? For more thoughts on Dante, and a guide to the Divine Comedy, have a dig around my YouTube channel or website - https://www.markvernon.comโดย Mark Vernon
 
Some talk about God too much. Others are said to be too embarrassed ever to do so. I think much of the pickle around God-talk arises from a fundamental, modern mistake. God is not an object to be proven, evidenced or possessed. God is the subjectivity of existence itself - beyond talk, though talk we must do, because talk too is already in God. I m…
 
I'm talking about an essay that can be found online at the Perspectiva website - https://systems-souls-society.com/spiritual-intelligence-what-it-is-why-its-needed-how-it-might-return/โดย Mark Vernon
 
I much enjoyed the conversation with Hetta Howes, Matthew Sweet and Francesca Stavrakopoulou on God: An Anatomy. It was broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking (https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m00114py). We had a good conversation over profound differences, which I develop further here. I think they matter, not just as an academic spat, in this …
 
Few have explored the nature of being human more directly than Charles Foster. He writes about his experiences in the wild in his books, Being A Beast and, most recently, Being A Human, raising profound questions about our awareness of the natural world in the past, present and future. The evolving nature of our perceptions of ourselves and the cos…
 
The British historian, Arnold Toynbee, is currently out of fashion. The British poet and artist, William Blake, is not, though he is rarely well understood. So what might they have to say to our times? Toynbee strove to understand the inner as well as outer processes of history, developing a theory he called etherialisation. Blake appreciated the d…
 
The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity by David Graeber and David Wengrow does a great job at debunking the big histories of figures like Noah Yuval Harari and Stephen Pinker, but at a cost that ultimately undermines their argument. In this discussion and critique of a wonderfully disruptive book, I outline their case and some of the evi…
 
Our carbon consuming culture has completely internalised the belief "that the world is made up of dead stuff plus active minds and acquisitive wills,” wrote Rowan Williams in This Is Not A Drill: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook. We have forgotten the spiritual intelligence that knows how to align with the natural intelligence embodied in the livin…
 
The label “gnostic” is used to recommend and condemn. So what is, and what was, Gnosticism? This episode of the Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogues, with Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon, takes a lead from a series of fascinating essays exploring the ancient movement and its modern forms by the philosopher, David Bentley Hart. Gnosticism was originally a se…
 
What is the direct path of Advaita Vedanta and why is it significant for so many now? How is it found across traditions, including within Christianity? Why might it matter to us today, collectively as well as individually? What are its links to psychotherapy, individuality, freedom, God? Mark Vernon talks with Rupert Spira about these questions and…
 
Meditation, yoga, vegetarianism. Eastern practices have become a feature of western life. But what do we learn from them? This episode of the Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogues, with Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon, is prompted by a sense that the western way of life is being challenged, if not facing a full-on crisis. As Rowan Williams puts it in his new…
 
Rowan Williams has written another hugely significant book, one ripe with meaning for now. In this talk, I unpack its themes of non-dualism and Trinitarian life, eros and kenosis, politics and justice, seeing truthfully and destroying the world. 0:39 Addressing the Anthropocene 1:28 The need for an epiphany 2:52 What is our key problem? 4:32 Nondua…
 
The standard big history of human evolution, exemplified in Yuval Noah Harari's bestseller Sapiens, sees religion and spirituality as a byproduct of survival, at best a necessary fiction. But new science is telling a different story. Research done by Robin Dunbar, Agustin Fuentes, Robert Bellah and others is showing how engaging with invisible worl…
 
I've notice a tendency to downplay the divine element in accounts of William Blake, and to reduce his understanding of the imagination to a human artefact, from its true status as a supernatural capacity that he knew. In this talk I consider 5 ways in which this can be resisted: - Blake's insistence that "there is no natural religion". - Blake's af…
 
Covid has brought the reality of death into the centre of our lives, but what can we learn about death in response? This episode of the Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogues, with Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon, is prompted by a sense that part of the anxiety arising from the pandemic is living in a culture that has forgotten how to know death in life. Rupe…
 
An extended conversation that begins with thoughts on Owen Barfield, participation and the meaning crisis, Schopenhauer and Jung, moving through the state of modern physics, to the nature of evolution, the nature of mind at large, the role of dissociation and projections, and freedom. For more on Bernardo's work see - https://www.bernardokastrup.co…
 
Anthony Ashley Cooper (1671-1713) may be the greatest English philosopher you have never heard of. In the 18th century, he was said to be the most famous philosopher in Europe. His ideas suffered in England, as those of his empiricist tutor, John Locke, took hold. But they inspired figures from William Blake to Adam Smith, and are, in my view, much…
 
A short discussion of psychodynamic psychotherapy, talking about the experience of suffering, the ego, the past and present, and the future change as people move through three zones - which might be described as hell, purgatory and paradise. For more see - www.markvernon.com.โดย Mark Vernon
 
Why do matters as seemingly unconnected as children’s stories and shamanic encounters feature talking animals? This episode of the Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogues, with Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon, is prompted the book, Roland In Moonlight by David Bentley Hart. It relates long conversations between the Eastern Orthodox philosopher and his pet dog,…
 
Modern Christianity, at least as expressed by the church, has become very confused about the afterlife. So can our experience of life now, illuminated by wisdom traditions and modern science, offer a way into this perennial question? I've written more fully about these things in my book, A Secret History of Christianity. See here - https://www.mark…
 
Death always brings subterranean assumptions and stresses to the surface, and the pass of Prince Philip is no exception. The moment carries the weight of millennia, which is why it’s hard to navigate, though it can be better understood as part of the evolution of human consciousness, as Owen Barfield and others understood it. The key test is the vi…
 
Could bliss be transmitted by a Happy Helmet? Are the fantasies of the super-wealthy secretly shaping our lives? In this episode of the Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogues, Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon discuss a new novel, Double Blind, by Edward St Aubyn. It is a story of ideas, including issues previously explored in these dialogues, from the nature o…
 
Some reflections on the fascinating conversation between Jordan Peterson and Jonathan Pageau: - Maybe it's not how to be a Christian but to realise how you already are - Why symbology, developmental maps and archetypes become as many rabbit holes - That the beginning and ground matters as much as the end and theosis - CS Lewis and what he never qui…
 
Iain McGilchrist and Rowan Williams were in dialogue on Friday 19th February 2021, a beautiful exchange that was sadly not recorded. Here I offer some thoughts on it, particularly in the light of reflections offered by Matt Segall. It concerns transcendence and immanence, being and becoming, eternity and processes in space and time - or to put it a…
 
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