SOCIOLOGY – Theodor Adorno

Theodor Wiesengrund Adorno was born in Frankfurt in 1903 into a wealthy and cultured family. His father, a wine merchant, was of Jewish origin but had converted to Protestantism at university. Until his twenties, Adorno planned for a career as a composer, but eventually focused on philosophy. In 1934, he Continue Reading

PHILOSOPHY – Sartre

Jean-Paul Sartre made thinking and philosophy glamorous. He was born in Paris in 1905. His father, a navy captain, died when he was a baby – and he grew up extremely close to his mother until she remarried, much to his regret, when he was twelve. Sartre spent most of Continue Reading

Why a Hindu Priest Left the Religion to Follow Christ

[MUSIC PLAYING] Growing up in London, my parents were Hindus. That automatically makes me a Hindu. Hinduism is a canvas of hundreds of religions with different doctrines and ideas and philosophies. I was so desperate to search for God that at the age of 19, I flew to India and Continue Reading

PHILOSOPHY: Jacques Derrida

Jacques Derrida was one of the most famous, controversial, but also wise figures in recent French intellectual life. He invented a way of doing philosophy that he called Deconstruction, which fundamentally altered our understanding of many academic fields, especially literary studies. Derrida was born in 1930 in El Biar, a Continue Reading

Why Religious Beliefs Aren’t Just Silly

From a distance, it can all seem very silly. These people have gone to Lourdes, in the foothills of the Pyrenees, in the hope that the Virgin Mary might cure them of cancer and heart disease. These people have gone to Medjugorje in Bosnia Herzegovina to pray they might get Continue Reading

HYMN – “Take My Life and Let it Be”

Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee. Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love. At the impulse of Thy love. Take my feet, and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee. Take my voice, and let me sing always, Continue Reading

Countries for winners; countries for losers

We all, naturally, want to be winners. And so, consequently, a great many countries are designed to reward winners. These are the countries that pay a good deal of attention to optimising the conditions of life available to people who win. In such lands, if one is a winner and Continue Reading

PHILOSOPHY – Michel Foucault

Michel Foucault was a French 20th century philosopher and historian who spent his career forensically criticizing the power of the modern bourgeois capitalist state, including its police, law courts, prisons, doctors and psychiatrists. His goal was to work out nothing less than how power worked and then to change it Continue Reading

PHILOSOPHY – Hegel

Georg Friedrich Hegel was born in Stuttgart in 1770. Intellectually he was adventurous, but in externals, respectable, conventional, and proud of it. He ascended the academic tree and reached the top most branch, head of the University of Berlin, when he was sixty years old; he died the following year. Continue Reading

Why Socrates Hated Democracy

We are used to thinking very highly of democracy – and by extension, of Ancient Athens, the civilisation that gave rise to it. The Parthenon has become almost a byword for democratic values, which is why so many leaders of democracies like to be photographed there. It’s therefore very striking Continue Reading