A Buddhist makes the claim that the self does not exist. In Sanskrit this is called anâtman. In other words my notion of I or myself is an illusion. When people first hear this, they are astonished. How can anyone deny they exist? Don’t we have our own thoughts and feelings? Don’t we act in … Continue reading Buddhist idea of no self – True or not?
“All the gold which is under or upon the earth is not enough to give in exchange for virtue.” (Plato, philosopher) The idea of virtue can feel a little scary. Surely no-one can be such a worthy human being as to do no wrong, show courage at all times, and be full of generosity and … Continue reading Virtue – Is it achievable?
For over thirty years I worked as a psychological therapist in the British National Health Service. I helped patients start to manage and deal with their mental health problems. The service expected me to discharge each case as soon as possible so I could see the next patient on the long public waiting list. Following … Continue reading Mental health – Same as spiritual health?
There are two well-known hypotheses – death survival and immortal life. You may find the idea of living forever a bit daunting. If you were to continue to exist, what you would be doing with yourself all that time? Actually, if true, it would be much more than a long time: it would be – … Continue reading Immortal life – Not forever surely?
You might think some saints and criminals are basically good or bad. • Mother Teresa devoted her life to the care and service of the poor. • Zacarias Moussaoui participated in the 9/11 terrorist conspiracy which resulted in the death of 2,996 people, and at least $10 billion in damage. • Nelson Mandela was a … Continue reading Criminals – Are some people just bad?
There may be individuals with a radically reformed character. Several theories offer reasons why this may be possible. After having been a bad person, is it later possible to become a much better individual? To be a genuinely reformed character? To develop personal virtues which are the opposites of previous reprehensible conduct? Furthermore, is it … Continue reading Character – How does change happen?
Our pets are loyal and affectionate members of our family and we don’t ever want to be parted from them. Lucy a beautiful black cat has lived with us for seventeen years and is nearing the end of her days. To ask ‘Do animals have a soul?’ implies that you do believe in the soul … Continue reading Soul – Does my pet have one?
When the women’s movement spoke up for the value of women it rebelled against the traditional gender stereotypes and proclaimed equality between the sexes. It quite rightly opposed any idea of male superiority and female subservience. Some fear that any talk of gender is only a short step from women being different to being inferior … Continue reading Gender – Are there deep differences?
You may feel undeserving of any happy destiny because you are fundamentally not okay with yourself. Well, for all I know you might well be consumed by a huge ego, be selfish, vain, bitchy, resentful, etc. But I would like to ask how do we really know when we are basically bad? That would be … Continue reading How bad a person am I?
A bit of self-pride seems part of the positive trait of self-esteem. Possible danger of self-pride Yet we speak of pride before a fall. The story of Icarus is about a young man’s attempt to escape from Crete by means of wings that his father constructed from feathers and wax. Icarus ignored instructions not to … Continue reading What’s so bad about a bit of self-pride?