By Stephen Russell-Lacy. There are lots of cultural and individual differences between people, but do humans have something innately in common? According to philosopher John Locke, there is no such thing as human nature. In his view, the mind is at birth a “blank slate” without rules, so data are added, and rules for processing … Continue reading Human nature – Does it exist?
By Stephen Russell-Lacy. Are you old enough to believe, that for every drop of rain that falls, a flower grows? Or, that somewhere in the darkest night, a candle glows? What about the notion that for everyone that goes astray, someone will come to show the way? Even when they were written some people didn’t … Continue reading Belief – Must it make sense?
By Stephen Russell-Lacy. Question – How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb? Answer – one, but the light bulb has got to want to change. According to award winning professor of psychiatry Irvin Yalom, this idea of free choice (also called free-will) presents a problem to many psychological therapists. Their goal … Continue reading Free choice – An illusion?
By Stephen Russell-Lacy We can find plenty of goodness in the world. Human patience, generosity, forgiveness, and tolerance abound. It’s just as well. How else could we hope to tackle crime, moderate the effects of tyranny, lessen terrorism, and decrease warfare? Bad things if left to themselves will go their own ‘unsweet way’ and cause … Continue reading Goodness – Where does it come from?
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?
By Stephen Russell-Lacy. “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 … 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?