Author Archives: Jangali

Foucault, language and freedom: a simple introduction

(A pdf version of this post is also available) In the thirty years since his death in 1984, the work of the French philosopher and historian Michel Foucault has moved solidly into the mainstream of methodology in the social sciences. … Continue reading

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Affect displacement

In classical Freudian analysis, affect displacement (Affektverschiebung) occurs when the energy with which a particular drive or desire is endowed with a view to its realization, is displaced to an alternative object (an alternative purposive schema) under the action of … Continue reading

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Does spiritual growth require hard work?

A recurring theme in pretty well every spiritual tradition is the arduous nature of the practices needing to be undertaken in order to achieve spiritual growth. Indeed, this tendency is so pervasive that it is even often to be encountered … Continue reading

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Shamanic residues in medieval Europe: a review of Ginzburg’s Ecstasies

In Ecstasies: Deciphering the Witches’ Sabbath (1989, tr. Raymond Rosenthal 1991, University of Chicago Press), Carlo Ginzburg argues that the practices of medieval witches in Europe, as testified to in the documentary evidence compiled by their persecutors, can best be … Continue reading

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Alan Watts on the perils and pitfalls for Westerners of attempting to follow Eastern spiritual paths

In this talk, Alan Watts explains the cultural presuppositions underpinning Taoism, Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta, and consequently some of the problems and contradictions often linked to their adoption by Westerners. Essentially, his argument is that these systems are designed to … Continue reading

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The urban shaman

In recent years there has been a considerable revival of interest in the West in shamanic practices, both those conserved by indigenous peoples and more syncretic forms such as Michael Harner’s “core shamanism“, Wicca and various nativist revival movements. Whilst … Continue reading

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Dealing with Life’s Decisions – (2) Innate Resources

In the previous article in this two-part series, I explained why, in a broad class of cases, the information we receive is likely to be a very poor guide to the actions we should take. This is the much-delayed part … Continue reading

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