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.[...]
Perhaps no single person did more to popularize Zen Buddhism in the West than Alan Watts. In a sense, Watts prepared U.S. culture for more traditionally Zen teachers like Soto priest Suzuki Roshi, whose lineage continues today, but Watts did not consider himself a Zen Buddhist.[...]
In 590 AD, Pope Gregory I unveiled a list of the Seven Deadly Sins – lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride – as a way to keep the flock from straying into the thorny fields of ungodliness.[...]
In Mexico on November 2, mortality is approached with music and laughter.
“On the Day of the Dead, when the spirits come back to us,” explains the Dr. Vigil character in the 1984 film of Malcolm Lowry’s Under the Volcano, “the road from heaven must be made easy, and not slippery with tears.