Here’s an interview I did with Jamie Wheal, author of Recapture the Rapture and co-author of Stealing Fire. We talked about his life and work, and then got stuck into western spirituality and what’s wrong with it. Jamie was particularly interesting on how the global elite got into psychedelics, and why ‘all the worst people are taking all the best drugs’. How can spiritual culture go beyond self-absorption, and get into serving others? The full video is at the bottom.

We started by talking about his childhood in England, how he moved to Boulder, then eventually got into the Integral…

I carried out an online survey of over 500 people, to see whether they ever found dreams useful in their life, and to test out Jung’s theory of ‘big dreams’ — unusually vivid dreams which occur in times of transition and crisis, and which offer helpful support or guidance. Almost 80% of people said they found dreams helpful sometimes — though, as Jung suggested, such dreams are relatively rare (27% said they had fewer than 10 such dreams in their life) and they tend to occur in times of transition and crisis.

I thought it would be interesting to ask…

Space billionaires are experiencing the profound oneness of the planet burning beneath them. For the right price, you can too.

Virgin Galactic

The space tourism industry blasted off this week, with Virgin Galactic sending the first billionaire ego into orbit, before Jeff Bezos’ ego joins Richard Branson’s in the stratosphere on July 20.

A giant leap for homo sapiens, or pigs in space? You decide.

What caught my eye was how the trips were being marketed as a spiritual experience.

Virgin Galactic described its product as ‘humbling…spiritual’.

Matthew Upchurch, CEO of Virtuoso, one of Virgin’s space tourism vendors, said his customers are spiritual seekers:

[Space tourism] takes you out of your comfort zone, opens your mind and helps you grow as a…

One of the things I’m wrestling with at the moment is hierarchy in spirituality, and the idea of ‘higher’ and ‘lower’.

I’m writing a book that looks at evolutionary spirituality, and its tendency to elitism and authoritarianism. Many leading figures in the New Age of the 1880s to 1930s preached the coming of an evolved spiritual elite which, they sometimes added, deserved to dominate and control the rest of humanity.

This is obviously pretty noxious, and led to some bad outcomes, from abusive cults, to totalitarian politics like the Nazi party.

Right now, western society is in a historical moment…

In the third century BC, Qin Shi Huang, the emperor of China, was obsessed with attaining immortality, so he sent his advisors throughout China to discover the elixir of eternal youth. They weren’t able to find it, so instead he ordered almost a million workers to build him a necropolis, where 70,000 terracotta warriors would guard him in the afterlife.

Today, in California, Silicon Valley billionaires are happy to spend a similar amount to try and become immortal gods. And many of them are turning for advice to Dave Asprey, the father of ‘biohacking’. …

On Wednesday, anti-virus software entrepreneur John McAfee hung himself in a Barcelona prison, while awaiting extradition to the US on charges of tax avoidance. McAfee had long insisted there was a conspiracy against him and all of humanity, and in the minutes before he died, he played his final card — uploading the letter Q to his Instagram.

It was more evidence that the Qanon conspiracy rumbles on, even after Trump has left office, Biden has taken power, and every prophecy made by this 21st-century Nostradamus has proven false.

Since the anonymous internet account known as ‘Q’ first posted on…

The most common criticism of spirituality is that its narcissistic, consumerist, selfish, apolitical and full of woo-woo magical thinking. That can be true, but not always. There’s one area where spirituality is much less individualistic, more politically active and more prone to evidence-based thinking than other faiths — and that’s regarding the environment.

Anecdotally, the overlap between spirituality and environmentalism is deep and obvious. Several friends of mine are active in Extinction Rebellion, the British-based environmental movement, and they are almost all ‘spiritual but not religious’. …

A couple of weeks ago, I saw the name ‘Bo Burnham’ trending on Twitter.

I looked him up, he turned out to be a young comedian who made one of the best films of 2018, ‘Eighth Grade’

Eighth Grade is a deeply cringey, touching and scary film about the effect of social media on an awkward eighth-grade wannabe-influencer.

I would never have guessed such a sensitive film could have been made by a 20-something YouTube comedian.

In 2006, when Burnham was a sweet young Christian teenager from Massachusetts, he posted a video of him singing a funny song while playing…

There’s an anecdote about William James, visiting his brother Henry James, in Rye in Sussex. The village was something of a writers’ retreat — HG Wells, Joseph Conrad, Rudyard Kipling, Stephen Crane, Ford Madox Ford, and Rebecca West would all spend time there. That weekend, GK Chesterton was staying in the inn next to Henry’s house. William, in his 60s, is overwhelmed by curiosity to catch a sight of this young writer, so he puts a ladder up to peer over the wall. His brother is appalled — ‘such things simply aren’t done here!’ he wails. …

Here in no particular order, apart from the last one which is clearly the best, are my top ten performances on the BBC music show, Later…With Jools Holland.

At number 10, it’s Adele, back in the days when she was curvier, performing her number Chasing Pavements. She has oodles of charm and this song is pure New Year’s Eve..

At nine, it’s the first performance on Jools from Future Islands, whose lead singer clearly decided to just effing go for it, and gave us some incredible chest thumping, metal growling, ice-skate moves, and hair-stroking gyrating at the end. …

Jules Evans

Author of Philosophy for Life and other books. Honorary fellow, Centre for the History of the Emotions.

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