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Archive for the ‘Spirit matter’ Category

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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At a time when the U.S. itself appears on the brink of collapse — with riots in the streets, a pandemic crippling the country’s heath care system and wreaking havoc on its economy, a president tweeting out nods of recognition to his QAnon fan base and hinting at “the Storm” that is coming — the sense-making apparatus of digital media is rife with opportunities for disinformational entrepreneurs to make headway in various directions. […]

The internet is like a huge instrument — a hyper-complex, Robert Fluddian monochord, that works by allowing for an infinity of connections through which flow the sounds and vibrations of human emotional and affective contagion. When protests erupt across the country over the senseless killing of a black man in Minneapolis, the time scale in which large-scale action occurs speeds up and become affect-driven time, not a time in which collective deliberation is really possible. This means that informational, and therefore “disinformational,” bursts into that monochord become all the more powerful.

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Some people believe you’re born from nothing; you live, which is something; and then you’re gone again, back to nothing. (Here’s a poignantly compressed version of that, a life in under 6 minutes.) Others believe you’re part of a much larger thing, which keeps recycling itself (including you). Maybe there’s progress or development over the […]

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One of the most frustrating things about losing a family member during this pandemic has been the mandatory self-quarantine — the one that’s been imposed on me for crossing a national border to get here (to the Toronto area where my father was living up until a few days ago), and on my sister who […]

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