Today you can be a fly on the wall at Columbia University, and listen to Robert Thurman’s lectures on “The Central Philosophy of Tibet.” Thurman is, as his own website rightly describes him, a “worldwide authority on religion and spirituality,” and an “eloquent advocate of the relevance of Buddhist ideas to our daily lives.[...]
Several years ago, an interviewer asked Stephen Fry to look backward — to reflect on his life and answer this question, “What do you wish you had known when you were 18″? What lessons would you draw in hindsight? Some of his answers included:
Don’t set goals for yourself, particularly material ones.[...]
Richard Dawkins — some know him as the Oxford evolutionary biologist who coined the term “meme” in his influential 1976 book, The Selfish Gene; others consider him a leading figure in the New Atheism movement, a position he has assumed unapologetically.[...]
Back in November, we brought you the BBC series of short animated videos, A History of Ideas.[...]
In 1977, erudite Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges delivered a series of seven lectures in Buenos Aires on a variety of topics, including Dante’s Divine Comedy, nightmares, and the Kabbalah. (The lecture series is collected in an English translation entitled Seven Nights.[...]
Ten months before his death — a death he knew was coming — Christopher Hitchens debated the question, “Is there an afterlife?”.[...]
Note: Vonnegut starts talking at around the 3:40 mark.
This is humanism, as explained by biochemist, science fiction author and former president of the American Humanist Association Isaac Asimov:
Humanists believe that human beings produced the progressive advance of human society and also the ills that plague it.
For some time now, people like poet Robert Graves and countercultural guru Timothy Leary have assumed that ancient religion and mysticism were the products of mind-altering drugs.[...]
Since the 19th century, thinkers like Ludwig Feuerbach, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Sigmund Freud have theorized religion as a strictly psychological and anthropological phenomenon born of the tendency of the human mind to project its contents out into the heavens.[...]
The Beatles’ sojourn in India can seem like a bit of a stunt, as much a rock n’ roll cliché as Led Zeppelin’s trashed hotel rooms or Fleetwood Mac’s coke binges. Easily parodied in, for example, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, the band’s turn Eastward looks in hindsight like faddish spiritual tourism.[...]