The Unmet Needs That Make Us Human

I was walking with a friend recently and we got talking about insomnia, about how strange it is that you can’t fall asleep when you’re meant to, which is one of the most basic functions of an animal. And yet so many of us (myself included) struggle to fall asleep, and if we could just…

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Defining Naturalistic Spirituality

Over the last 50 years in the UK, the proportion of the population identifying as non-religious – often referred to as ‘Nones’ – has been on the rise. The British Social Attitudes Survey from 2019 found that over half (52%) of the UK population regard themselves as belonging to no religion. Hannah Waite, from the think…

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Mudita (Sympathetic Joy): One of the Hardest Buddhist Virtues to Cultivate

Mudita (sympathetic/empathetic joy) is one of the four brahma-viharas (also known as the sublime attitudes or Four Immeasurables), which are the Buddha’s “heart practices” – those that develop particular emotional states, or virtuous emotions, that help to cultivate happiness in ourselves and others. “Brahma-vihara” literally means “dwelling place of brahmas”, and brahmas are gods who…

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Pitfalls Associated With Metta Bhavana (Loving-Kindness Meditation)

There is an increasing amount of attention being paid to the risks of meditation, a practice that – through its mainstreaming – has wholly been associated with calmness and mental health benefits. However, a growing body of research and first-person accounts are revealing that mindfulness meditation – particularly when it’s intensive and prolonged, as on…

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Applying Pascal’s Wager to Animal Ethics

Blaise Pascal (1623-62) was a French mathematician, physicist, philosopher, and Catholic theologian. One of his most influential contributions to the philosophy of religion is a philosophical argument known as Pascal’s wager. This idea was published posthumously in Pascal’s Pensées (“Thoughts”).  This post will describe how Pascal’s wager can be usefully applied to animal ethics, namely,…

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