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Archive for the ‘SpiritMatter’ Category

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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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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An article of mine by that title has appeared in a special issue of the Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture on “Popular Culture, Religion, and the Anthropocene.” The article contains the theoretical core of the book I’m currently writing on image regimes. It builds on my work in cinema and media […]

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Part Two of my book Shadowing the Anthropocene (open access to all) outlines a system of “bodymindfulness” practice rooted in the mindfulness meditation system of Shinzen Young, but extended triadically to account for the active nature of living. Here are a couple of comments on and tweaks to that system, which I’ll refer to as […]

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The following is a short essay I wrote for the Peder Sather/Reassembling Democracy workshop on “Environmental Change and Ritualized Relationships with the Other-than-Human World,” held at UC Berkeley this past December. There are physical boundaries between humans and specific nonhumans—fences, walls, windows (of homes, gardens, kennels, zoos, abbatoirs, safari vehicles, camera lenses, guns); and there […]

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