Almost Composed

Meditation and curiosity

The inattentive life is not to be lived

June 24, 2014

Before he was sentenced to death by hemlock, Socrates rejected the court’s clemency because it was offered under the condition that he cease questioning the people of Athens. The philosopher responded that, ‘the unexamined life is not worth living’. Many have considered the implications of this and the force with which the unexamined life should be rejected. One translation has it […]

categories: essays, philosophy, reflections

Buddhism and the human chain

May 13, 2014

The philosopher of Buddhism, Jay Garfield, gave a great interview to The New York Times’ philosophy blog, The Stone. “Treat the past reflectively and with gratitude and responsibility, and with an awareness that much of our present life is conditioned by our collective past; take the future seriously as something we have the responsibility to […]

categories: philosophy, reflections

Is there a self?

April 15, 2014

I’ve been following Robert Wright’s MOOC on Buddhism and Modern Psychology. One of the most interesting ideas at the heart of this course frames Buddhism as a rebellion against natural selection. Wright investigates whether by helping us to see the world more clearly, Buddhism, and particularly meditation, irons out some of the perceptual and affective […]

categories: philosophy

Things as they are

March 29, 2014

Last night I read a fascinating essay in the LA Review of Books on Donald Richie, an expatriate writer in Japan. I was struck in particular by this quote from Richie’s The Inland Sea: “The innocent does not look for reasons behind reasons. He, secure in the animal nature that all of us have and only […]

categories: philosophy, reflections

Philosophising The Stanley Parable

November 10, 2013

I spent all of last night exploring The Stanley Parable. If you haven’t played it, I’d recommend doing so before reading on. The Stanley Parable is a computer game that does something no other artistic medium could do so well. Early in the game, you are presented with two identical doorways. Before you can decide whether to […]

categories: philosophy, reflections