Podcast interviews

bridge-longThe intention behind these podcasts is to conduct informal, friendly and informative interviews with people from all walks of life. They could involve a discussion about the person’s background or why they have become a member. Alternatively, the focus could be on something that the person is involved in or an opinion they hold that in some way is in accordance with the Middle Way. Hopefully, these interviews can play a part in helping people get more of a feel for the Middle Way, and how it plays out in people’s lives and in various scenarios.

sharonBegleySmallEpisode 92: Sharon Begley, an American journalist specializing in science and co-author (with Richard J. Davidson) of The Emotional Life of Your Brain which will be the topic of our discussion today.
peterBlockSmallEpisode 91: Peter Block, a consultant and speaker in the areas of organization development, community building, and civic engagement. He’s co-wrote with John McNight The Abundant community which will be the topic of our discussion.
adamBriggleSmallEpisode 90: Adam Briggle, an associate professor of philosophy and religion at the University of North Texas in discussion about an article he wrote with the philosopher Robert Frodeman for the New York Times entitled When Philosophy Lost its Way.
stephenFarahSmallEpisode 89: Stephen Farah, the senior lecturer at the Centre for Applied Jungian Studies in Johannesburg, talks to us about the centre, Jungian psychology, its relevance today, how we can apply it and how it might relate to the Middle Way.
MelanieJoySmallEpisode 88: Melanie Joy, the founder and president of Beyond Carnism, a charitable organisation which she founded in 2010, talks to us about Carnism which she popularized in her book Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows.
stephen_batchelorSmallEpisode 87: Stephen Batchelor on his book After Buddhism: Rethinking the Dharma for a Secular Age, why it’s important for him to legitimize his teaching with early sources and whether the Middle Way should be promoted beyond Buddhism.
faithSmallEpisode 86: Barry Daniel, Susan Averbach, Robert M Ellis and Willie Grieve discuss faith. If we are going to avoid using ‘faith’ as a cover word for dogmatic belief, what does it mean? What can we have faith in, and how does faith relate to the Middle Way?
alvaNoeSmallEpisode 85: Alva Noë, a professor of philosophy at the University of California talks to us about his latest book Strange Tools: Art and Human Nature in which he explores what art is, why it matters and what it tells us about ourselves.
Mark-WilliamsSmallEpisode 84: Mark Williams, a professor of paleobiology on ‘The Anthropocene Biosphere’ which explores the impact of humans from a geological perspective on the biosphere. It also looks at how humans are potentially driving a sixth mass extinction.
ellenLangerSmallEpisode 83: Ellen Langer, a professor of psychology at Harvard University who she has often been described as the mother of mindfulness. She talks to us about mindful learning and the power of possibility
peterSheathSmallEpisode 82: Peter Sheath, A mental health nurse, counsellor, consultant, trainer and person in long term recovery who has spent many years in the field of health and social care. He talks to us about addiction, mental health & the Middle Way.
AmeliaWomackSmallEpisode 81: Amelia Womack, a British politician and deputy leader of the Green Party of England and Wales on Ecocide and Environmental Law for which she is an active campaigner.
steveHeineSmallEpisode 80: Steven Heine, a leader in the field of cultural psychology on the distorted view we have of the mind derived from the research of behavioural scientists due to most studies in this field being done on WEIRD people.
feminismSmallEpisode 79: Susan Averbach, Tim Crane and Shana Averbach in this round table discussion talk about feminism, how it has evolved, the progress it has made, the challenges it faces and how it relates to the Middle Way
marcLewisSmallEpisode 78: Marc Lewis, a developmental neuroscientist talks about his latest book The Biology of Desire: Why Addiction is not a Disease in which he argues that seeing addiction as a disease is not only wrong but also harmful.
chrisBeckwithSmallEpisode 77: Christopher Beckwith, an award-winning historian, discusses his latest book Greek Buddha with Robert M Ellis. He attempts to show how Early Buddhism shaped the philosophy of Pyrrho, the founder of scepticism in ancient Greece.
davidMcraneySmallEpisode 76: David Mcraney, an internationally bestselling author, journalist, and lecturer. talks to us today about his latest book ‘How to Beat your Brain’, an attempt to help us overcome our quirks and make decisions more effectively.
monicaDareSmallEpisode 75: Monica Dare, who is a Pilates and Alexander Technique instructor, talks to us about the origins of Pilates, how one goes about it and why she sees it as an integrative practice .
arnoMichaelisEpisode 74: Arno Michaelis, former racist skinhead, one time leader of hate metal band Centurion and now peace activist, talks to us about his life, overcoming hatred, his peace work and how all this might relate to the Middle Way
sarahDickinsonSmallEpisode 73: Sarah Dickinson, who is a volunteer with Samaritans, tells us a little bit about the rationale of the organisation, what it does, how one can volunteer and how it might relate to the Middle Way
hariSewellSmallEpisode 72: Hári Sewell, sociologist and director of HS Consultancy Associates, specialists in mental health, equalities & social care, talks to us about race, racialization and inter-relatedness and how all this might relate to the Middle Way.
pete&RichSmallEpisode 71: Pete Goble and Rich Flanagan in this member’s discussion, talk about how people perceive pain, the assumptions we make about it, how it’s influenced culturally, psychic and physical pain and, attitudes in dealing with pain.
Susan-Greenfield1Episode 70: Baroness Susan Greenfield, the neuroscientist, writer, broadcaster and member of the House of Lords, talks about her latest book Mind Change in which she explores the potential impact digital technologies can have on the mind
barryDanielSmallEpisode 69: Barry Daniel, In this latest member profile, talks to Susan Averbach about his life and background, why he joined the society, what other interests he has and how it has been for him producing the Middle Way Society Podcast.
JonathonPorrittsmallEpisode 68: Jonathon Porritt, the environmentalist, talks to us about his latest book ‘The World we Made: Alex McKay’s Story from 2050’ and the prospects for people engaging with the issue of climate change in general.
richardShustermanSmallEpisode 67: Richard Shusterman, professor of philosophy at Florida Atlantic University and author of Body Consciousness and Thinking through the Body. He talks to us about the emerging field of somaesthetics and its relation to the Middle Way.
robertMEllisSmallEpisode 66: Robert M. Ellis, the chair of the society talks about politics, political ideologies, the relationship between our values and political parties, the role of democracy and how all this might relate to the Middle Way.
bjornIhlerSmallEpisode 65: Bjorn Ihler, peace activist, writer & survivor of the attack on Utøya island in Norway in 2011. We discuss extremism, how education and critical thinking can play a key role in addressing the problem how all this might relate to the the Middle Way.
susanAverbachSmallEpisode 64: Susan Averbach, a rabbi with the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism. One of her goals is to work towards integrating Buddhist practice with humanistic Judaism and to promote a more Middle Way perspective.
noreenaHertzSmallEpisode 63: Noreena Hertz, the renowned economist and Honorary Professor at the Centre for the Study of Decision-Making at University College London, talks to us about her latest book ‘Eyes Wide Open’ How to make smart decisions in a confusing world’.
evanThompsonSmallEpisode 62: Evan Thompson, Professor of Philosophy at the University of British Columbia talks about his book ‘Waking, Dreaming, Being: Self and Consciousness in Neuroscience, Meditation, and Philosophy’ and how it might relate to the Middle Way.
alisonGopnikSmallEpisode 61: Alison Gopnik, developmental psychologist and philosopher talks about her book ‘The Philosophical Baby: What Children’s Minds tell us about truth, love and the meaning of life’ and how this might relate to the Middle Way
rodKingSmallEpisode 60: Rod King, the founder and campaign director of ‘20’s Plenty for Us’ a movement set up to campaign for a default 20 mile speed limit in the UK. He talks about its rationale, the effect it has had and the challenges it faces.
rupertSheldrakeSmallEpisode 59: Rupert Sheldrake, is a biologist, research scientist & is perhaps most well known for his book ‘The Science Delusion’ and his morphic resonance hypothesis. He explores this as well as the idea of science as an integrative practice.
philipKitcherSmallEpisode 58: Philip Kitcher, the John Dewey Professor of Philosophy at the University of Columbia talks about his latest book ‘Life after Faith: The Case for Secular Humanism’ and how this might relate to the Middle Way.
lynneFranksSmallEpisode 57: Lynne Franks was the founder of one of the UK’s best-known PR consultancies in the 1970’s. She has in recent years focused her attention on women’s empowerment and sustainability and this is the topic of the discussion.
julianBagginiSmallEpisode 56: Julian Baggini, the philosopher and author, talks to us about his latest book ‘The Virtues of the Table‘, how our relationship with food and drink is a great way to explore what it means to be human and how to try to live conscientiously
peteMallardSmallEpisode 55: Peter Mallard is the manager of the Barn Retreat near Totnes in Devon. He talks about the Barn, what it does, the ethos behind it, the value of going on retreat and how all this might relate to the Middle Way.
jamesSturtevantSmallEpisode 54: James Sturtevant, is a social studies teacher from Ohio, USA. He talks about his recently published a book aimed at helping teachers bond with students entitled ‘You’ve Gotta Connect’ and how this might relate to the Middle Way.
jeanBoultonSmallEpisode 53: Jean Boulton, who has a background in theoretical physics is passionate about the implications of complexity theory for management and policy development and its connection to spiritual traditions. The talk focuses on this latter relationship.
gayWatsonSmallEpisode 52: Gay Watson, is a psychotherapist and author who is very much concerned with the dialogue between Buddhist thought, psychotherapy and the Mind Sciences talks about her latest book ‘A Philosophy of Emptiness’.
stephen_batchelorSmallEpisode 51: Stephen Batchelor in conversation with Robert M. Ellis, the chair of the society, on the subject of the Middle Way. This is the second in a series of exploratory dialogues with Robert and thinkers on various subjects.
michaelBrooksSmallEpisode 50: Michael Brooks, the popular science writer talks to us about the state and role of science today, how one goes about doing good science, some pitfalls to avoid and what the future may hold for this fascinating field of human endeavour.
elizabethEnglishSmallEpisode 49: Elizabeth English, the founder Life at Work and a teacher in Focusing with the Focusing Institute, talks about Focusing, what it is, how you practice it, what are its benefits and how it might relate to the Middle Way.
rubinNaimanSmallEpisode 48: Rubin Naiman, is a sleep specialist and he talks about why so many of us are deprived of good quality sleep, in what way we might take some steps to address the balance and how this might relate to the Middle Way
haVinhThoSmallEpisode 47: Ha Vinh Tho, the Programme Director of the Gross National Happiness Centre in Bhutan talks about the project, it’s underlying philosophy, how it’s applied, the challenges it faces and how it might relate to the Middle Way.
frankLedwithSmallEpisode 46: Frank Ledwith, in this member profile, talks about his career as a university teacher and lecturer, his interest and involvement with Buddhism, the work of Stephen Batchelor and what the Middle Way means to him.
timKasserSmallEpisode 45: Tim Kasser talks to us about his book ‘Meeting Environmental Challenges: The Role of Human Identity’ , how he sees this as being often a missing link in environmental campaigning and how this all might relate to the Middle Way.
StevenHowlettSmallEpisode 44: Steven Howlett, co author of Volunteering and Society in the 21st Century talks about volunteering in general, some of the research projects he’s been involved in and how it might relate to the Middle Way
shaunaShapiroSmallEpisode 43: Shauna Shapiro, a clinical psychologist and internationally recognized expert in mindfulness talks about the IAA model of mindfulness, the integration of mindfulness into psychotherapy & the empirical evidence to support it.
marySearleSmallEpisode 42: Lancaster Co-housing resident Mary Searle-Chatterjee talks to us about the history, aims and values of this award-winning project. She also takes us on a tour of the place which is accompanied with photos in the slideshow.
harryBurnsSmallEpisode 41: Sir Harry Burns, the professor of global public health at the University of Strathclyde and a former Chief Medical Officer for Scotland on the causes of inequality in health, the causes of wellness and some solutions that he has implemented.
alisonArmstrongSmallEpisode 40: Alison Armstrong, a mindfulness teacher and researcher and founder of Present Minds on mindfulness and compulsive buying which began as a research project for her PhD and became a ground-breaking RESOLVE study.
stevenCHayesSmallEpisode 39: Steven C. Hayes, co-founder of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), talks about ACT, how it came about, what’s unique about it, what it involves, what are its goals and how it might relate to the Middle Way.
adam_CornerSmallEpisode 38: Adam Corner, journalist and Research Director of the Climate Outreach & Information Network (COIN) talks about COIN, its approach to climate change, its aims and objectives and how it might relate to the Middle Way.
marekDudaSmallEpisode 37: Marek Duda, from the Centre for Effective Altruism, talks about what Effective Altruism is, it’s five main principles, counters some of the more common objections against giving aid and how this all might be related to the Middle Way.
elliotAronsonSmall1Episode 36: Elliot Aronson, the distinguished social psychologist, author of the Social Animal and ‘Mistakes were made but not by me’ with Carol Tavris talks about his early life, cognitive dissonance and how it might relate to the Middle Way.
susanWrightSmallEpisode 35: Susan Wright, author of ‘Understanding creativity in early Childhood’ talks about her research regarding young children’s meaning-making and why the arts deserve a pre-eminent place in education and culture.
andrewBrownSmallEpisode 34: Andrew Brown, journalist and author of ‘Fishing in Utopia’. He writes a regular column in the Guardian on themes concerned with religion and this is the topic of the podcast.
iain_mcgilchristSmallEpisode 33: Iain McGilchrist, the patron of the society in conversation with Robert M. Ellis, the chair of the society, on the subject of dogma and the brain. This is a first in a series of exploratory dialogues with Robert and thinkers on various subjects.
edCatmullSmallEpisode 32: Ed Catmull. President of Pixar and Disney Animation talks about his new book Creativity Inc., how one sets up the conditions in a work environment so that creativity might flourish, how this relates to the ‘Middle’ and why he joined the society.
robertEllisSmallEpisode 31: Robert M. Ellis, the chair of the society, talks about cognitive biases, what they have in common, how you go about recognizing them, how you can work with them and in what way they relate to the Middle Way.
whatIstheMiddleWaySmall2Episode 30: What is your understanding of the Middle Way? 2. Responses to the above from: Paul Gilbert, Mark Vernon, Jim O’Driscoll, Claire Kelly, Vishvapani Blomfield, Rich Flanagan, Viryanaya, Peter Worley, Don Cupitt and Kristin Neff.
whatIstheMiddleWaySmall1Episode 29: What is your understanding of the Middle Way? 1. The first set of responses to the above from: Vidyamala Burch, Julian Adkins, Iain McGilchrist, Stephen Batchelor, Peter Goble, John Bolwell, Emilie Åberg and Norma Smith.
ninaDaviesSmallEpisode 28: Nina Davies, in this latest member profile, tells us about growing up in Singapore, her work in social care, the importance of feminism in her life and what made her join the society.
andyWestSmallEpisode 27: Andy West, a transformative mediator talks to us about the transformative framework, the nature of conflict, the difference between transformative mediation and Nonviolent Communication and to what extent this relates to the Middle Way.
martine_batchelorSmallEpisode 26: Martine Batchelor, a Buddhist teacher and author talks about ethics from a Buddhist perspective, exploring themes such as absolutism versus relativism, karma, ‘engaged’ Buddhism, non-harming and her understanding of the Middle Way.
JonathanRowsonSmallEpisode 25: Jonathan Rowson, a chess Grandmaster and director of the Social Brain Centre at the Royal Society of Arts, talks to us about the Social Brain project, it’s aims and objectives and the working assumptions that underpin its approach.
paulTeedSmallEpisode 24: Paul Teed, professor of history at Saginaw Valley State University tells us why he joined the society, what history means to him and why it matters. We also discuss objectivity, how to critically assess history and the film ‘12 years a slave’
KristinNeffSmallEpisode 23: Kristin Neff, Associate Professor in Human Development and Culture at the University of Texas talks about self-compassion, how she feels it differs from self-esteem, its contingent nature, and why it’s such a useful thing to cultivate in life.
ViryanayaSmallEpisode 22: Viryanaya on teaching critical thinking as a part of spiritual practice as opposed to a more academic focus, the value of teaching it to children from an early age and her understanding of the Middle Way.
claireKellySmallEpisode 21: Claire Kelly, the Operations Director of the Mindfulness in Schools Project on why she feels it’s important to introduce children to mindfulness practices, how the project goes about it and how it might relate to the Middle Way.
donCupittSmallEpisode 20: Don Cupitt, the theologian and philosopher, talks to us about how he understands religion and his non-realist position about God. He also touches on Jungian archetypes, agnosticism, Stephen Batchelor and how he views the Middle Way.
peterWorleySmallEpisode 19: Peter Worley of the Philosophy Foundation and author of the ‘If Machine’ and the award winning ‘Philosophy Shop’. The main topic is teaching philosophy to children and philosophy’s wider role in education.
marinaCantacuzinoSmallEpisode 18: The Forgiveness Project founder Marina Cantacuzino talks about how the project came about, it’s rationale and how she would like to see it develop. She also talks about forgiveness in more general terms and its complex nature.
richFlanaganSmallEpisode 17: Rich Flanagan talks to us about why he joined the society, what the Middle Way means to him, how he applies it in his life and work and why he sees that for him there is no conflict in being an atheist and a practitioner of the Middle Way.
VishvapaniSmallEpisode 16: Thought for the day presenter Vishvapani Blomfield talks to us about mindfulness and the Middle Way both in terms of how he sees them being approached from a more secular or a more religious perspective.
licSmallEpisode 15: Language in Conflict founders Lesley Jeffries & Jim O’Driscoll on how they set up the project to look at the potential contribution of linguistics to conflict studies by examining the use of language in conflict situations and its resolution.
markVernonSmallEpisode 14: Mark Vernon, the writer and journalist, talks about his book How to be an Agnostic, and agnosticism’s relation to theism. He puts the case for virtue ethics. We discuss Plato, Socrates, Jung, Iain McGilchrist and how he understands the Middle Way.
robertEllisSmallEpisode 13: Robert M Ellis, the chair of the society on his background, the time he spent as a Buddhist, how he became interested in philosophy, why he developed Middle Way Philosophy, how the society came about and his vision for the future.
paulGilbertSmallEpisode 12: Paul Gilbert, a clinical psychologist and author of the Compassionate Mind talks to us about compassion, how he came to develop Compassion Focused Therapy, Jungian archetypes, the Middle Way, values, mindfulness and forgiveness.
MonicaGarveySmallEpisode 11: Monica Garvey talks to us about Family Mediation, an integrative, non-confrontational and progressive approach to family disputes. She talks to us about children issues, overcoming dogmatic positions and the power of an apology.
EmilieSmallEpisode 10: Emilie Åberg, in this member profile, talks about why she’s studying psychology, her plan to be a horticultural therapist, her views on agnosticism, the Middle Way, integration, the Quakers, dogmatism and awe.
johnBolwellSmallEpisode 9: Ta’i Chi instructor John Bolwell gives an overview of this popular martial art and how it relates to the Middle Way. If you would like to see a short video of John performing one of the more common T’ai Chi forms then click here.
peterGobleSmallEpisode 8: Peter Goble, in this latest member profile, talks about his career in nursing, his experience of living and working in Africa, his work as a Buddhist chaplain, both in prisons and hospices and why he joined the society.
stephen_batchelorSmallEpisode 7: Stephen Batchelor, the secular Buddhist author and scholar talks about his interest in photography and collage, how he sees art as an integrative practice and how he feels it relates to the Middle Way.
iain_mcgilchristSmallEpisode 6: Iain McGilchrist, the patron of the society talks about his book The Master and his Emissary, the value of the arts, his views on, awe, modernity and religion and how he feels his work relates to the Middle Way.
julianSmallEpisode 5: Julian Adkins, in this member profile, talks about his life, why he joined the society and his experiences with the Christian, Buddhist and Atheist traditions. He also talks about his experiences as a ballet dancer, an engineer, a nurse and a CBT therapist.
darenDewittSmallEpisode 4: Daren DeWitt, a certified trainer with the centre for nonviolent communication talks about this integrative practice and how it can be a very effective technique for dealing with conflict both with others and ourselves.
vidyamalaSmallEpisode 3: Vidyamala Burch talks about her new book “Mindfulness for Health” and her work with Breathworks, an organisation set up to bring mindfulness as a tool for reducing suffering to people worldwide; regardless of their situation.
normaSmithSmallEpisode 2: Norma Smith In the first of a series of member profiles, retired art teacher Norma Smith talks about her life, why she became a member of the society, the middle way, the importance of art in her life, agnosticism, and the power of metaphor.
robertEllisSmallEpisode 1: Robert M. Ellis In this inaugural episode of the Middle Way Society podcast, the philosopher and chair of the Middle Way Society talks about the skill of critical thinking and how it relates to Middle Way Philosophy.

9 thoughts on “Podcast interviews

  1. Is it possible to subscribe to the podcast, in a way which the podcasting app on my phone can link to? Such as an RSS or iTunes feed?

  2. Hi Alan,

    I am in the process of trying to get the podcasts up on to iTunes. I am doing this in between a multitude of other things but will see if I can pull my finger out a little this weekend.

    There will be a post here, on facebook and twitter when this happens. Thanks for the interest.

    Rich

  3. The podcasts and our other audio resources are all now available on iTunes. Many thanks to Barry, Rich and Katja for all the work they put in to make this happen!

  4. I think an interview with Ilona Ciunaite would be interesting. She is the co-founder of http://www.liberationunleashed.com an online-forum in which people are being guided to see the difference between cognitive thinking and direct experience, such as sensations.
    It is a highly popular site regarding the illusion of being a separate being. Metaphysical ideas and arguments are basically not necessary, all exercises are based on direct experience. This movement is called Direct Pointing

    1. Hi Georg
      Nice to see you on this site now! I hold an agnostic position on whether there is or is not a self. ‘Liberation Unleashed’ appears to claim categorically that there is no such thing as a self which I would argue is a metaphysical claim. We certainly have an experience of ‘self’ whether that be a process, or one of various selves that arise in different circumstances and I would agree the idea of a single, fixed self is extremely dubious. However, this feeling of I, me, mine is very strong and arguably a trick of the mind to parse experience into some cohesive whole and gets us into trouble at times. Maybe it’s better to think of this as the ego rather than as the self? Something that is temporary and provisional rather than fixed.

      Here’s a talk Robert gave on the subject of self and ego http://www.middlewaysociety.org/self-and-ego/

  5. HI Barry,
    I agree. I do have the same “problem” with how Liberation Unleashed is using language. On the other hand, they deliberately do NOT talk about metaphysics. All they do is go into direct experience. Where is the fictional I in direct experience.

    Maybe it could be interesting, one thing is sure: there are many people hanging out there and they are quite successful with Direct Pointing

  6. I have the same problem with Liberation Unleashed: and because they do not talk about metaphysics (who does apart from philosophers?) doesn’t mean they don’t assume it. There seems to be an obsessive focus on one practice, plus a very narrow view of what they want to achieve that explicitly excludes ethics and any other kind of progress model. I don’t get the impression that these people are interested in the Middle Way particularly – but more in a specific kind of insight that is very much an end in itself and seems to explicitly reject any relationship with all humans’ other aims.

    I’ve had some contact with the ultimate founder of the LU movement, Ciaran Healy, and after what seemed initially like fruitful discussion, ended up with an impression of disturbing purism, messianism and a lack of openness to any perspectives beyond that narrow focus. That has decisively put me off further exploration of that line of practice. Efforts to overcome delusion have to be done so carefully, I think, if one is not to just supplant one delusion with another.

  7. Thank you Robert, I agree with you have said. There is a lot of Metaphysics secretly assumed but NOT talked about at LU.
    Among the secret facebook groups of LU there are periodically hot debates regarding Awareness, No-Self, Separate-Self, Ego etc. There are people of all backgrounds there trying to get along.
    What I found most helpful are the many openly accessible exercises regarding the issue of the separate-self but also exercises to loosen up once likes, dislikes and other forms of attachment which lead to suffering.

    In any case, I found your responses very helpful, they are greatly appreciated!! :)

    1. Just to be clear, I didn’t want to imply that the practices of LU can’t be useful to people. But that could also be said for a wide range of other practices. I just wanted to explain why I wasn’t very keen personally. If there are debates going on that sounds like a healthy sign, depending on how open those debates are to different possibilities.

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