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Archive for the ‘Spirit matter’ Category

Wouter Hanegraaff has proposed that we rethink the study of religion as the study of “imaginative formations.” Much of my research has focused on something like that, or at least on the creative role of imagination in mediating the ways people come to live in the world, shape that world, and contest it among each […]

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The work of environmental/climate humanists is premised on the assumption that the way we make sense of the world matters. This means that the dreams we have — Covid pandemic dreams, climate change dreams — also matter. The best artists, in turn, help shape our collective dreaming. The environmental arts and humanities aim to help […]

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One of the things modern humans aren’t very good at is being fully present in a given moment — being here now, as Ram Dass famously put it — and remaining so in the midst of the activities, distractions, and challenges of the day. Meditation apps and mindfulness teachers can train you to do that […]

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Marking the passage of the seasons from summer to winter and back again is something people have done for millennia. Seasons are reliable — anyone living outside the equatorial band will continue to have colder and warmer seasons, probably for the rest of our lives. But many of us are realizing that larger cycles may […]

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Buddhism has its “Two Truths” and its “Three Truths“: the “Two” were made famous by Indian philosopher Nagarjuna; the “Three” a little less famous by Chinese philosopher Zhiyi. About a year ago, I offered up four perspectives on mortality, and here I want to make the case that they could be seen as a kind […]

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The New York Times has published an article on AI-generated faces which strikes me as an informal litmus test of our humanity, or at least of neurotypical emotional response. Here’s how to work it. Scroll through the mega-composite image at the top of the article — do it slowly, then quickly, then varying your speed […]

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One of the things I study is spiritual practices – which I’ll define (for simplicity’s sake) as the things people do to enhance their capacity to live in accordance with chosen ideals. Those ideals can be defined in religious terms (for instance, as salvation, enlightenment, or unity with God) or in more secular and philosophical […]

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As I’ve been preparing to cover QAnon in my media course (and trying to keep up with it, since it’s really been ramping up ahead of the election), I’ve seriously begun to think of it is a work of evil genius. Let me explain why. For starters, it’s worth reminding ourselves that QAnon was designated […]

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My course “Self-Cultivation and Spiritual Practice” starts from the premise that philosophy — at least as it has existed outside of today’s analytical philosophy departments — has generally been about how to live, and that the best philosophers around the world have offered detailed instructions on how to get better at that. Historian of philosophy […]

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In part 1 of this article, I compared two recent books, each of which proclaims a “new paradigm” in the scientific study of emotions and affect: Lisa Feldman Barrett’s “constructivist” How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain and Stephen Asma’s and Rami Gabriel’s “basic emotions”-rooted The Emotional Mind: The Affective Roots of Culture and Cognition. In […]

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The study of emotions, particularly within the field of affective neuroscience, is a complex field riven by paradigmatic division. In my book Shadowing the Anthropocene, I proposed a way to engage with one’s experience, including one’s emotional or affective experience, within an “eco-ethico-aesthetic” (or “logo-ethico-aesthetic”) practice that could help us deal with the “Anthropocene predicament.” […]

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I’ve long been receptive to the idea that we need a spiritual, or even a religious, movement to address the climate crisis. Of course, I define both “spiritual” and “religious” quite broadly, and am well aware of how both terms have been shaped within histories that are Eurocentric and dominated by monotheistic, Christian, and more […]

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