April 11th, 2023 | 1 hr 33 mins
conceptual analysis, creepiness, meditation, mysticism, religion, william james
David and Tamler talk about William James’ chapter on mysticism from his book "Varieties of Religious Experience." What defines a mystical experience? Why do they defy expression and yet feel like a state of knowledge, a glimpse into the window of some undiscovered aspect of reality? Is Tamler right that David has a little mystic inside of him just waiting to burst forth from his breast?
Plus – another edition of VBW does conceptual analysis and we’re sticking with ‘c’ words – this time the definitive theory of ‘creepy.’
August 16th, 2022 | 1 hr 32 mins
conspiracy theories, faith, meaning, religion, tolstoy
David and Tamler continue their discussion of Leo Tolstoy’s 'Confession.' When we left him last time, the famous author had bottomed out just years after writing two of the greatest novels ever written. Our eventual death, Tolstoy thought, strips life of all meaning and purpose – all answers to the question “so what?”. How does he emerge from this state of suicidal depression? What role does faith or “irrational knowledge” play in his account? What’s the meaning of the cryptic dream at the conclusion of the memoir?
Plus, bombarded with this recommendation, we were going to talk about a certain article that came out in "Qualitative Research" about masturbating to Japanese shota comics – we even had a guest – but had to scrap it. Instead, we discuss a recent study on conspiracy theories that shows that liberals are just as likely to believe in them as conservatives. Mostly we just talk about the conspiracies.
February 9th, 2021 | 1 hr 37 mins
consciousness, hell is the absence of god, religion, short story, ted chiang, the hard problem
David and Tamler return to the TCU (Ted Chiang Universe) to talk about his short story “Hell is the Absence of God." How would we behave if we had unequivocal proof of God, heaven, hell, and angels? Would that answer our questions about meaning and purpose and justice? Or would those same questions reappear in a different guise? Plus, the hard problem of breakfast, Jewish Space Lasers, and more…