Below is a selected list of those written publications of mine that are available online. The list is arranged in reverse chronological order (so the oldest stuff is at the bottom). Above the link to each piece, a quote gives an idea of what said piece is about. A tantalising idea, one hopes.
I have a mix of writerly interests, and both my mind and pen are prone to tangents. But most of what I've written coalesces around some or all of the subjects of literature, philosophy, psychology, consciousness, Buddhism, horror, and the history of ideas.
“People who can’t make the various elements of their identity cohere will face trouble. ‘There is another man within me that’s angry with me,’ wrote the 17th-century English polymath Thomas Browne, in his anguished spiritual memoir. Life foists roles on us all; the challenge is to accept these costumes without letting the private core of you become pure quicksilver.”
“Horror – like the theology that provided its former home – is animated by the full spectrum of human psychology. It is driven by our desire to stop all the clocks, shrink into a bubble of the familiar and the known, reject all things foreign. Equally, it is shot through with the bone-deep knowledge that if we can’t adapt, we will perish.”
"At bottom, is the novelist more priest than scientist? Is trusting in fiction really any more sensible or rational than trusting in religious myth?
"Even if indiscriminate love is impossible, it is a glorious and gloriously daunting ideal. Within a Christian framework, it is precisely the tragedy of mankind that the one person capable of it was tortured to death."
"I have come to understand David Foster Wallace's Oblivion for what it really is: A work of horror fiction, whose unique brand of horror is rooted in Wallace’s reading about the brain."
"Does the current state of neuroscientific research create a pessimistic picture of human existence; and if so, how should we react? Can an individual consciousness know itself, and to what degree? And can an individual consciousness contact and know other consciousnesses, and to what degree?"
"In its debates, and its attempted or resisted rapprochements, neuropsychoanalysis dramatises a tension between two basic ways of thinking about what it means to be a human being: as a subject, and as an object. Or, to use an unfashionable dualism: as a mind, and as a brain."
"Why is it so hard, this naked aloneness? And, more beguilingly still, what might be gained from enduring it? Relaxation? Creativity? God?"
"Buddhism can be seen to cordon off and denigrate, in pursuit of psychic equilibrium, precisely those inner voices, those inner narratives, which are the wellspring for what Westerners generally regard as worthy of praise in the arts."
"Where Galveson most significantly predicts True Detective is in its presentation of a world which fails, despite the best attempts of its inhabits, at being irremediably bleak."
"Accusations of scientism and reductionism may or may not be warranted, but the fact remains: the most fundamental discovery in all of biological science remains more-or-less completely un-talked about in English seminars."
"Even if it’s not very fashionable to admit it, this is how many (perhaps most) people actually experience Shakespeare: with trepidation, with frustration, and eventually – provided you are not George Bernard Shaw or Leo Tolstoy – a sort of joyful amazement." "Something Bold This Way Comes: A Tempest for 21st Century London." Blogging Shakespeare, June 2012
"A large part of On The Road’s powerful and ongoing appeal undoubtedly stems from the lyricism of its language – as opposed to its linearity, or even narrative coherence. Translating this to the screen could quite simply be impossible." "On The Road, On The Screen." The Millions, May 2012
"Catch 22 is the perfect anti-war novel because it eschews anything that could be considered pious pacifism in favour of a bold examination of what war-making actually amounts to." "Catch 22: War Satire Still Bites in the Age of Fallujah and Helmand." Red Pepper, January 2012
"'It’s tough,' said his aide. 'You get into a routine of calling for things, you know? I mean Ban’s even found himself calling for things outside of work. In the subway in NY he’ll just suddenly start calling for fare reductions.'" "UN Chief calls for power to do more than just call for things." Newsthump, June 2011