ian.ellis-jones's blog

Forget About Having a 'Transcendental' Experience!

I am a rather sceptical sort of person. I am proud of that fact. I refuse to accept or believe in anything unless and until I am satisfied that there is sufficient probative material attesting to the existence or veracity of the thing in question.

Why There Was No ‘First Cause’

All three of the ‘great’ monotheistic religions---Judaism, Christianity, and Islam---postulate the existence of, and the supposed need for, a so-called ‘first cause,’ God being that ‘first cause.’ God---who supposedly ‘is because He is’ (cf Ex 3:14)---is said to be the ultimate ‘necessary’ Being on whom or on which everything else depends for its existence. After all, the theist exclaims, is it not the case that whatever cannot account for its own existence must depend on something which can? That ‘something’ is said to be God.

Andersonian Realism and Buddhist Empiricism

The attached article was published in the online journal The Northern Line, No. 13, October 2012, pp 2–13, as well as in the journal The Sydney Realist, No. 25, March 2013, pp. 6–15. The article interprets some key ideas and teachings of Buddhism in light of the situational realism of the Scottish-Australian philosopher John Anderson.

Why the Traditional Concept of God is Contradictory

The traditional Judeo-Christian-Islamic idea of God is inherently and irredeemably contradictory from the standpoint of both philosophy and theology.

Mindfulness and the Existential Angst of Our Being Both Observer and Observed

The Scottish-born Australian philosopher John Anderson, whose Australian realism (aka Sydney realism) has greatly impacted on my overall philosophy and thinking, taught that a single logic applies to all things and how they are related, and that there are three---yes, three---‘entities’ to any relation such as seeing, having, knowing, etc, namely, the -er, the -ed, and the -ing. First, there is the person who sees, has or knows. Secondly, there is the thing seen, had or known. Thirdly, and most importantly, there is the act of seeing, having or knowing.

All Things Are Not One: Some Insights from Buddhism and Empiricism

We often read or are told that all life and all things, including all people, are one. It’s a nice, comforting, New-Agey idea … but it’s simply not true.

Nothing in this world is simple. Whatever exists in this universe is complex and has internal differentiation, involving numerous differences and relations. Each thing is ‘a multum in parvo plurally related,’ to borrow a phrase from William James. ‘Things are with one another in many ways,’ wrote James, ‘but nothing includes everything, or dominates over everything.’

The Myth of Self-Improvement

At this time of the year many people make a resolution, which is often short-lived, to embark upon some sort of self-improvement program or to give up some bad habit. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am all for personal transformation, but there is a right, and a wrong, way to go about it, both in thought, word and deed.

In his book The Wisdom of Insecurity the American spiritual philosopher Alan Watts has this to say about the wrong way to embark upon self-improvement:


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