The Existential Files


Here we are at episode 60 and we are yet again joined by another special guest, this time academic and writer, Francis O’Gorman. Francis chats with us about his book, Worrying: A Literary and Cultural History. As well as discussing worrying in general, we get to bend Francis’ ear about why the word existential doesn’t appear in his book: is this an English vs continental difference? And we also try and establish what the use of worrying may be! You can purchase Francis’ book at Amazon (and other good bookshops): https://goo.gl/fo2yYg

For episode 59 we are joined by another special guest, clinical psychologist Martin Seager. Martin chats with us about a recent article he has published in The Psychologist magazine, which covers a number of interesting and relevant topics including issues around mental health, the limitations of psychiatry when dealing with the human condition, gender issues for males and lastly we briefly chatted about the difficulty in treating psychology as a soft science. You can read Martin’s article that stimulated the discussion at https://goo.gl/TYkAdt

Here we are at episode 58, and we’re joined by another special guest, cognitive scientist and freelance writer, Matt Colborn. Matt chats with us about a variety of topics including his PhD research into bees and the application to machine learning. We then move onto discussing consciousness a little. This is followed by a chat about the SETI project and the search for aliens, both out in the wider universe, but also we chat about experiences of the terrestrial kind. You can learn more about Matt Colborn at his blog https://mattcolbornwriter.blogspot.co.uk/

For episode 57 we are joined by psychologist Dr Kate Sweeny. We got Kate on the podcast to chat to us about a recent article she wrote on the downside to positive thinking and the upside to pessimism! As usual we cover a range of topics including the benefits of negativity and worry, happiness and the empathy blind spot, climate and its influence on happiness, nihilism, the effects of mindfulness and meditation, and extreme optimism and preparing for the worst. You can read the article that stimulated this interesting discussion at https://goo.gl/4FgaiK

For episode 56 we are joined by psychologist Dr Krissy Wilson. Krissy is interested in why people believe in the paranormal (amongst other things) and is generally a skeptic of extraordinary claims. A former member of the APRU at Goldsmiths University, Krissy chats with us about a variety of topics including academia, self-deception, the placebo effect, the evolutionary advantage of belief, critical thinking, psychics and more. You can find out more about Krissy at https://www.uos.ac.uk/people/dr-krissy-wilson

For episode 55 we are joined by writer and academic Dr Andy Martin. Andy is a regular contributor to a variety of newspapers and has written a number of books, including an excellent account of the relationship between Camus and Sartre (The Boxer and the Beekeeper). His latest book is Reacher Said Nothing: Lee Child and the Making of Make Me, and is ostensibly about the creative process. A man with a wide range of interests and experience, we have an unusually informal chat about all manner of things, including language and the writing process, posterity, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and surfing (to name just some of the things we talked about). You can read some of Andy’s Indy pieces at www.independent.co.uk/author/andy-martin-0 or find out more at his personal website www.andymartinink.com/

For this episode we are joined by philosopher and existential psychotherapist Emmy van Deurzen. Emmy has not only written a whole host of books, but is also Principal of the New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling at the Existential Academy in London. A perfect guest for this podcast, Emmy chats with us about a whole range of topics, including helping us understand what existential therapy is, and how it can help people in their lives. We also talk about Thomas Szasz (who was the topic of the previous podcast episode) and Emmy describes the ways in which she both agrees and disagrees with the Szaszian view of mental illness. Finally, there is brief mention of Brexit and the idea that politics is also an existential endeavour. You can find out more about Emmy at her website, http://www.emmyvandeurzen.com/

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