Idea Byre

In looking for the next intellectual/religious revolution, we can search for patterns in those of the past. Here is a summary of the major patterns I see, with the axial age as an example, followed by some musings on how we might fulfill these patterns today.

Continue reading...

Every army fights the battles of its forebears. So too does every society fight the intellectual and social battles of the past. Our problems -- environmental and social -- fundamentally cannot be addressed by the society that created them. This is a discussion of what they are, where they come from, and why a more radical approach is required.

Continue reading...

"Religion in Human Evolution" is the late Robert Bellah's magisterial, sweeping account of human intellectual and religious history. I've made frequent reference to it in my essays, especially the broad framework of epochs. A quick summary here may be useful to my readers, and also anyone simply interested in the book -- which I thoroughly recommend.

Continue reading...

The difficulties of human life constitute, as the philosopher Mark Johnston puts it, "structural deficiencies," that include death, pain, and frustration. These cannot be waved away by politics or technological advance, and intellectually they demand a response; some way that we can live comfortably despite them.

Continue reading...

The theoretical reasoning of philosophy and religion created dualism, which split the world into mind and matter. This is not just a cosmological distinction: in everyday human life, dualism is the unseen foundation of thought, and it has caused the major problems we face today.

Continue reading...