As most of you know, I’m working on a book about the place of ecstatic experiences and altered states of consciousness in post-religious / secular / rationalist society. My broad thesis is that (1) western culture pathologised and marginalized ecstatic experiences from around the 17th century on but (2) humans kept on seeking ecstatic experiences Read more…

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I’m interested in companies and organizations that have a higher purpose than profit. Here’s an example – indie publisher Galley Beggar Press, set up in 2012 by Eloise Millar and her partner Sam Jordison, with bookseller Henry Layte who moved onto other projects in 2013. For a little company, Galley Beggar punches way above its Read more…

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I love the sociologist Peter L. Berger. For 50 years, he’s been producing intelligent, rigorous and sympathetic work on the sociology of religion. I just got a copy of his 1970 little book, A Rumour of Angels: Modern Society and the Rediscovery of the Supernatural, in which he talks about what he calls ‘signals of Read more…

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Wisdom is a watering-hole at which animals of many different species can come and drink – as long as they don’t insist on trying to convert, denounce or attack each other, but instead meet in friendship and good humour. Last month, I took part in a slightly silly stunt for World Philosophy Day. I and Read more…

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At the beginning of Philosophy for Life, I talk about Raphael’s famous mural of the School of Athens, and imagine getting a free ticket to study there. Well, this week, I got to join the school! The Idler Academy arranged a photo shoot on the steps of St Paul’s, with various British thinkers and philosophers. Read more…

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