The Sheldrake Vernon Dialogues show

The Sheldrake Vernon Dialogues

Summary: Dr Rupert Sheldrake is a biologist and author best known for his hypothesis of morphic resonance. Mark Vernon is a psychotherapist and author. Together they discuss: consciousness, prayer, angels, science and spiritual practices, magic, dreams, hell, the unconscious, rituals, enlightenment, atheism, materialism, and more.

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  • Artist: Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon
  • Copyright: © 2022 The Sheldrake Vernon Dialogues

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 Rewilding Christianity | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2347

A renewed interest in Christianity? Old traditions of myth and place revived? In this episode of the Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogues, Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon consider the significance of recent conversions, as confessed by figures such as Paul Kingsnorth and Martin Shaw, as well as the prominence given to Christianity by writers such as Marilynne Robinson and Jordan Peterson. They explore what has been called the “rewilding” of Christianity and whether traditional approaches have run out of steam. Are surprisingly common religious encounters with divine and supernatural presences becoming more acceptable? What of the challenge to mainstream forms of Christianity coming from the pens of Radical Orthodoxy and, unexpectedly, C.S. Lewis? And what might full strength Christianity invite and promise? This ripple of fresh encounters with Christianity won’t stop the general decline of church-going in the West. But maybe that very decline is making space for reinvigorated spiritualities. Dr Mark Vernon is a writer and psychotherapist. He contributes to programmes on the radio, writes and reviews for newspapers and magazines, gives talks and podcasts. His books have covered themes including friendship and God, ancient Greek philosophy and wellbeing. He has a PhD in ancient Greek philosophy, and other degrees in physics and in theology, and works as a psychotherapist in private practice. He used to be an Anglican priest. http://www.markvernon.com Mark's latest book is... Dante’s Divine Comedy: A Guide For The Spiritual Journey https://www.markvernon.com/books/dantes-divine-comedy-book?svd=75 Dr Rupert Sheldrake, PhD, is a biologist and author best known for his hypothesis of morphic resonance. At Cambridge University he worked in developmental biology as a Fellow of Clare College. He was Principal Plant Physiologist at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics and From 2005 to 2010 was Director of the Perrott-Warrick project, Cambridge.  https://www.sheldrake.org Rupert's latest book is... The Science Delusion: 2020 Edition https://www.sheldrake.org/books-by-rupert-sheldrake/the-science-delusion-science-set-free?svd=75

 Science With Soul: Reflecting on Rupert Sheldrake’s 80th Birthday Celebration | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2357

The Scientific and Medical Network organised a gathering on Friday 8th July to mark Rupert’s 80th birthday and reflect on his work. In this episode of the Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogues, Rupert and Mark Vernon discuss the day, recalling remarks made by speakers including Merlin Sheldrake, Jill Purce, David Lorimer and Pam Smart. They discuss a variety of themes seminal to Rupert’s work, from science as the calling to share in a living cosmos to the business of coping with sceptics, which is not without its amusing as well as tricky moments. The conversation celebrates the richness of an engaged and free approach to the study of the natural world, with its many mysteries, often active immediately around us everyday.

 Dante’s Paradiso, Awakening to the Light | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2645

This episode of the Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogues continues Rupert and Mark's exploration of Dante’s Divine Comedy, taking a lead from Mark’s book, Dante’s Divine Comedy: A Guide for the Spiritual Journey. Dante is now guided by Beatrice through the heavenly spheres and into the Empyrean. It is a journey into the abundance of infinity and eternity, which immediately struck Rupert as akin to a DMT trip. Mark and Rupert explore how that is an apt analogy with Dante enabling us to incorporate the visionary into everyday life and understand how deeper perceptions of being can inform different times and cultures. The conversation moves over the relationship between the one and the many, the universal message of Christianity, the ways in which love and intellect work in tandem, and how Dante can aid various quests for knowledge today. Dr Mark Vernon is a writer and psychotherapist. He contributes to programmes on the radio, writes and reviews for newspapers and magazines, gives talks and podcasts. His books have covered themes including friendship and God, ancient Greek philosophy and wellbeing. He has a PhD in ancient Greek philosophy, and other degrees in physics and in theology, and works as a psychotherapist in private practice. He used to be an Anglican priest. http://www.markvernon.com Mark's latest book is... Dante’s Divine Comedy: A Guide For The Spiritual Journey https://www.markvernon.com/books/dantes-divine-comedy-book?svd=73 Dr Rupert Sheldrake, PhD, is a biologist and author best known for his hypothesis of morphic resonance. At Cambridge University he worked in developmental biology as a Fellow of Clare College. He was Principal Plant Physiologist at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics and From 2005 to 2010 was Director of the Perrott-Warrick project, Cambridge.  https://www.sheldrake.org Rupert's latest book is... The Science Delusion: 2020 Edition https://www.sheldrake.org/books-by-rupert-sheldrake/the-science-delusion-science-set-free?svd=73

 Dante’s Purgatorio, How to Be Transformed | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2200

This episode of the Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogues continues Rupert and Mark's exploration of Dante’s Divine Comedy, taking a lead from Mark’s book, Dante’s Divine Comedy: A Guide for the Spiritual Journey. Dante and Virgil have found the way out of hell and a new adventure begins on Mount Purgatory. They first encounter souls who are shocked by their deaths and bemused by the afterlife. Then, the transformative ascent up the various terraces of the mountain begins. On each, souls are reckoning with the part of themselves marked by pride and envy, anger and lust, as well as other feelings and desires that must be cleansed in order to open their perception to the divine life that draws them. Finally, Dante and Virgil reach the earthy Eden, where Dante experiences a surprising, even shocking, encounter with the love of his life, Beatrice. Dr Mark Vernon is a writer and psychotherapist. He contributes to programmes on the radio, writes and reviews for newspapers and magazines, gives talks and podcasts. His books have covered themes including friendship and God, ancient Greek philosophy and wellbeing. He has a PhD in ancient Greek philosophy, and other degrees in physics and in theology, and works as a psychotherapist in private practice. He used to be an Anglican priest. http://www.markvernon.com Mark's latest book is... Dante’s Divine Comedy: A Guide For The Spiritual Journey https://www.markvernon.com/books/dantes-divine-comedy-book?svd=72 Dr Rupert Sheldrake, PhD, is a biologist and author best known for his hypothesis of morphic resonance. At Cambridge University he worked in developmental biology as a Fellow of Clare College. He was Principal Plant Physiologist at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics and From 2005 to 2010 was Director of the Perrott-Warrick project, Cambridge.  https://www.sheldrake.org Rupert's latest book is... The Science Delusion: 2020 Edition https://www.sheldrake.org/books-by-rupert-sheldrake/the-science-delusion-science-set-free?svd=72

 Dante’s Inferno Part 2, The Dangers of Spiritual Seeking | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2337

This episode of the Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogues is the second part of a conversation between Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon on the Inferno of Dante’s Divine Comedy. Deeper regions of hell are explored, in which individuals aren’t just confused about life but have become wedded to their confusions and the seeming power they bring. The deep ramifications of the worship of Mammon and worlds built on money is part of that addiction, as are the huge risks of spiritual seeking that arise directly from the tremendous goal of the spiritual quest, which is conscious participation in divine life. The conversation draws on Mark’s book, Dante’s Divine Comedy: A Guide for the Spiritual Journey. Future talks will consider the path Dante charts next, through Purgatory and Paradise!

 Dante’s Inferno Part 1, The Meaning of Descent | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1824

The Divine Comedy by Dante is one of the great spiritual works of the Christian tradition. But how can it be read and what does it mean? In this episode of the Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogues, Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon discuss the first part of Dante’s cosmic pilgrimage. It takes Dante through the circles of hell, until he reaches the lowest point of reality, the region furthest from God. It becomes clear that descent into darkness is a key part of personal transformation because it helps the individual discern the dark side of experiences such as love, anger and fame, in order that the light they also bring might be discerned. This also explains why the Inferno can comfort as well as disturb: troubling experiences and spiritual emergencies can be as much a part of enlightenment as those that are delightful and satisfying. Rupert and Mark will talk about the Purgatorio and Paradiso in future discussions.

 Gnosticism Then and Now | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1770

The label “gnostic” is used to recommend and condemn. So what is, and what was, Gnosticism? This episode of the Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogues, with Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon, takes a lead from a series of fascinating essays exploring the ancient movement and its modern forms by the philosopher, David Bentley Hart. Gnosticism was originally a set of cosmologies which shared the sense that the created order was blocked from the celestial spheres by angelic and demonic powers. It was remarkably widespread amongst early Christians of all kinds. They turned to Christ, in the hope of redemption or escape. Nowadays, it is used in different ways, often to express a sense of yearning or hope. As Rupert and Mark discuss, Gnosticism may offer the promise of a re-enchanted cosmos, freed from the Archons of the machine and mammon. Properly understood, it might offer a key for our times.

 What Can the West Learn from the East? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2215

Meditation, yoga, vegetarianism. Eastern practices have become a feature of western life. But what do we learn from them? This episode of the Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogues, with Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon, is prompted by a sense that the western way of life is being challenged, if not facing a full-on crisis. As Rowan Williams puts it in his new book, Looking East In Winter, climate change and environmental degradation are leading to a sense of needing not a programme or an ideology but an epiphany, which might renew our perception of reality. They discuss how eastern Christianity, as well as traditions in India, are based on participating with life and on the cultivation of conscious. They ask how this relates to insights such as the Christian Trinity and movements such as romanticism, as well considering the emergence of mechanistic science, which itself arose from western religious perceptions.

 Matters of Life and Death | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2081

Covid has brought the reality of death into the centre of our lives, but what can we learn about death in response? This episode of the Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogues, with Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon, is prompted by a sense that part of the anxiety arising from the pandemic is living in a culture that has forgotten how to know death in life. Rupert outlines some recent work on the role of death in plant life, and how that is not only of biological interest but can be spiritually resourcing. They discuss how wisdom traditions don’t dissolve death but understand it as a process that leads to more life, and therefore to be embraced and undergone. Both reflect on personal experiences of death and dying as well, in what they hope is a helpful as well as interesting conversation.

 Animals That Talk | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1939

Why do matters as seemingly unconnected as children’s stories and shamanic encounters feature talking animals? This episode of the Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogues, with Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon, is prompted by the book, Roland In Moonlight by David Bentley Hart. It relates long conversations between the Eastern Orthodox philosopher and his pet dog, generating fascinating thoughts on all sorts of liminal experiences, from telepathy to panpsychism. How might a re-enchanted world appear to us in the future? What does that have to do with ancient perceptions and modern science? Rupert and Mark discuss matters from pets to symbiosis, and the way that the living world participates in divine life.

 Billionaires, Brains and Belief | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1738

Could bliss be transmitted by a Happy Helmet? Are the fantasies of the super-wealthy secretly shaping our lives? In this episode of the Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogues, Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon discuss a new novel, Double Blind, by Edward St Aubyn. It is a story of ideas, including issues previously explored in these dialogues, from the nature of consciousness and the revelations of psychedelics, to the missing heritability problem and the replication crisis. St Aubyn has richly addressed our moment with its environmental and existential concerns. His characters explore matters of paramount important as they effect real lives. His book invites us to ask ourselves about the worldviews we hold and the ways in which our imaginations reach out for tomorrow.

 Panpsychism | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2327

The discussion of alternative worldviews, from various forms of materialism to types of idealism, has exploded in recent years, and the notion of panpsychism is in the middle of the debate. In this episode of the Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogues, Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon explore the different types of panpsychism being proposed, from more conservative forms that are linked to materialism, to older types that have been advocated by figures from AN Whitehead to Aristotle. They ask about the place of time and space in different views of reality, and tease out the connections to consciousness and eternity. Models including emergence and information theory rise, as well as the role of the brain, as they wonder about the direction in which this rich conversation is heading.

 Light | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1832

We naturally talk about seeking the light at the end of the tunnel, or hoping to be enlightened. But are such phrases that reference light more than metaphors? In this episode of the Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogues, Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon explore how light is both physical and spiritual, and note the remarkable harmony between scientific and mythical ways of exploring light. They ask about the links between light and intelligence, as discussed by figures from Plato to Dante, as well as how our inner lives, say when we dream, include light. Rupert reflects on his time in the ashram of Bede Griffiths, and Mark recalls remarks made by Roger Penrose. It turns out that the way we talk about the experience of light is hugely suggestive of the nature of reality. There are good reasons light is so closely associated with the divine.

 Artificial Intelligence | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1825

Artificial intelligence is rarely out of the news. But what is it? In this episode of the Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogues, Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon take a lead from the breakthrough by Google in the prediction of protein folding, which Rupert has studied for decades. Whether this success reveals any deeper understanding of nature leads to a discussion of different types of intelligence, such as emotional and spiritual. They consider what is lost when AI dominates the imagination, and obscures aspects of reality that are embodied, and those that reach beyond, such as pure consciousness.

 Day of the Dead | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2057

Most, perhaps all, cultures have moments of the year for fostering links with those who have died. In the western Christian world, the days of the dead are Halloween, All Saints and All Souls Day. In this Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogue, Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon ask about the significance of this time. They take a lead from the Pixar film, Coco, which conveys this liminal zone with striking nuance and sophistication, and go on to ask about the meaning of praying for the dead, as well as relating to the legacy of ancestors in practices such as Constellations. The links between the living and the dead, as explored by writers including Dante to CS Lewis, are also illuminating, as is psychedelic and near death experience research, which encounters hellish, purgatorial and paradisal states of mind. Ritual and wisdom can nurture healing, and a deeper sense of the meaning of this life as a preparation for more life, now and in the life to come.

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