Dr Shaw is a lecturer in Further Education at Edge Hill University, Ormskirk. She also offers philosophy courses at the School of Continuing Education, Lifelong learning, at the University of Liverpool. In 2015, she has completed her Doctorate in philosophy with a focus on existentialism, the equilibrium doctrine and narrative. She has worked as a teacher of English and Comparative literature and Philosophy at The American University in Cairo, Egypt where she also obtained her BA (Hons). Dr Shaw has an MA in Philosophy and Literature from the University of East Anglia where she also taught on a number of humanities subjects. Whilst working in North Wales in Further education, she gained a PGCE aimed at teaching in FE and HE sectors. Dr Shaw moved to Liverpool in 2010 where she now resides.
Interests: Existentialism, Narrative, Comparative Literature, Feminist Thought, Public Speaking, Arab Existentialism, Philosophy of Education, Art, Music, Film and Theatre, Greek Mythology, Existential counsellor and psychotherapist.
Tuesday, 28 December 2010
Christmas is finally over, yet we all feel still. Who wouldn't love to be on holiday forever?
New year next and soon will be over. Am I excited? Can't really tell. I know one thing for sure though, I would have liked to have gone home...
I know I am home when I see my parents with open arms waiting for my arrival
I know I am home when I open my eyes to find my mum watching me in my sleep- I thought I was the only one doing it to my husband, Deian, which obviously creeps him out...it must be love...
I know I am home when I can feel the warmth and unbearable heat on my skin
I know I am home when my grandma insists to share a bed and wakes me up at 3 am to talk and catch up!
I certainly know I am home when I smell the beautiful cooking and taste the flavors of food made with love...
and I miss so much waking in my mum's room to suddenly smell her lovely scent and be able to lie down on her massive bed for an endless chat...
No matter how much I stay in UK, some things just never change I guess...
Image from: http://www.wendmag.com/blog/2009/09/08/melting-ice-people-advocate-for-climate-change-awareness/
Friday, 17 December 2010
The bad news though is 2010 has been a very very gloomy year in the UK- maybe someone would disagree here, but my goodnesss- not even the sun would shine properly- and even if it did shine, where is the heat!! For the first time in my life, I have fallen sick four times in a row in the same month! Like a camel in ice age- I am definately out of my natural habitate here... which makes me think...Is 2011 going to be any better ? Please God make the cold stop and put some heat in the sun, make the people nicer, make the shops give meanigful free stuff, make the politicians poorer and make everyone else richer. If there is any justice in the world...good things will happen.
Let us hope that Santa finds something to give this year...
Tuesday, 7 December 2010
Friday, 3 December 2010
Monday, 29 November 2010
|21st June 1905-15th April 1980|
rejects Freud’s notion of the unconsciousness and the development of sexual drives, eros and pathos, which shape one’s life and determines all actions. Unlike Freud, Sartre did not consider one’s early years of development, between the age of 7 and 17, as important. The paper argues, therefore, that Sartre’s psychoanalysis shares more in common with Adler’s psychology than Freuds’ as both, Sartre and Adler, stresses on the importance of understanding human actions rather than claiming that they are consequences of past life events. Adler’s works present what he calls a ‘master plan’ where one’s choices determine his/her present decisions influenced by society and nature. Sartre shares this notion with Adler as it is in line with his Existential psychoanalysis where the Id, Ego, and Super Ego are not in conflict but rather committing life choices, which Adler calls in his works ‘life plan’. Betschart states that Adler’s concept of choices is not carried out by a rational thing but rather by a reflexive intercultural man, he says “man wants to be by God” therefore, he commits “life lies” in the form of every day choices. But Sartre took the idea even further in his notion of bad faith and says “man is God”. For Adler, man strives over superiority, while Sartre’s man claims that “hell is other people” and constantly competes with the other. “Did Adler influence Sartre?” is one of the questions raised by Betschart. In 1912, The Neurotic Character presented a fundamental plan of life, “to insist that human character and actions must be explained teleologically, separate goals coming under the dominance of, and oriented towards, the final purpose. This guiding fiction or purpose, developed by the age of 5 years, was to move feelings of inferiority to those of superiority—under the direction of the individual's unconscious but uniquely created self-ideal—as a constellation of wishful thoughts and imaginings of being and becoming strong and powerful; or, if overcompensation was present, in fantasies of godlike immutable supremacy”. And between 1913 and 1914, Adler wrote The Practice and theory of Psychology where he mentioned an ‘inferiority complex’ as a consequence of man having to commit life lies as part of his life plan.
|Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Lena Zorina|
Friday, 26 November 2010
*Image: John Picton: http://www.flickr.com/photos/arthurjohnpicton/
Friday, 19 November 2010
Speakers were: Prof Berys Gaut (University of St Andrews); Prof Sue Golding (Greenwich University); Prof Mathew Kieran(University of Leeds); Prof Derek Matravers (Open University); Prof Peter Osborne (Kingston University); Dr Panayiota Vassilopoulou (Liverpool).
An interesting talk was given by Mathew Keiran, University of Leeds, entitled "The Resonances of Art". Kerian started by showing an image by Jane Alexander, "The Butcher Boys" which he saw in an exhibition in 1984 in South Africa. The artist Alexander is mostly referred to as South Africa's most difficult and least definable artist. Keiran expressed that this work of art triggers an emotional repellent, yet with consideration to how the body was idealised by the artist.
Those three mutants, as he called them, may seem threatening to many and to some extent predatory. Seeing this image for the first time, as an objective viewer and hearing Kerian's comments made me wonder whether they are predators or in fact petrified? For those on the other side of the world, those unknown to us and those who do not conform to our physical appearances, we may seem more of predators than the vice verse, perhaps because of our mannerism. Hence, it is rather hasty to jump to a conclusion that we, human beings, have the upper hand in actually deciding the "norms" and universalising the principles of art and beauty. Keiran claimed that experiences of works of art are subjective. There is critical disagreement where we present an impersonal meaning to the work, secondly, we transform our experience with the work, thirdly experience with works can become richer- meaning we take the time to reflect and evaluate, and finally, we revise our judgements. This latter perhaps suggests that works of art are interchangeable as well as our taste & judgement. For instance in David Hume's Standard of Taste, Keiran claims that there is a judgement of nature and colour. An example is Giuseppe Cesari called Cavaliere Aprino's painting "The Betrayal of Christ" painted between 1596-7 which has a narrative representation, in contract for instance to Cavaliere d'Aprino's painting "The taking of Christ" in 1602. The painting on the right has more subtle colours and depth while the one on the right "The Betrayal of Christ" suggests conflict and tension which gives the painting a further artistic dimension beyond color. Kerian explains that these kind of paintings push one towards relativism. He quoted, "human beings are inherently social hence inter & intra group identifies are central to us" (Sherif et al). One tends to value more aesthetic works that conform to ones' appreciation and caring notions, in other words works that relate more to personal experiences where one becomes "passionate" about them. However, Keiran gives an example of a person who has been brought up in North Wales and have been exposed only to a certain kind of music, i.e. Rock. Hence, identifies only with this kind of genre and acts upon that by seeking gigs that play such a genre. By this way, "access" plays a big role in forming our tendencies, taste, preference and sensibility to different works of art. Question then: How much can our previous experience contribute to forming what is or is not art? Kerian points at the danger of limitation if one always relates works of art to one's background, knowledge and experiences. One should maintain an openness to the work itself, Keiran adds. I agree and add onto this- no matter what the author/artist did in the past or while producing the work and regardless of who he/she is. A work of art can be relative, can be universal, it stands alone as it is and should not be judged otherwise...or should it?!
Thursday, 18 November 2010
born in 11th December 1931 in India, Chandra Mohan Jain (Hindi: चन्द्र मोहन जैन), and died in 19th January, 1990. (aged 58)
Influenced: Jivan Jagruti Andolan, Neo- Sannyas
Works: Over 600 books, and audios & video discourses.
Osho speaks on virtually every aspect of the development of human consciousness. His talks cover a staggering range – from the meaning of life and death to the struggle of power and politics, from the challenges of love and creativity to the significance of science and education.
He has an uncanny ability to translate ancient teachings into modern day understandings. He speaks on a vast array of spiritual traditions, such as Christianity, Sufism, Hassidism, Zen, Taoism and Buddhism. He also shares stories of the colorful history of mystics from all over the world!
You are neither the body nor the mind,
but only a mirror reflecting, without any judgment,
a pure reflection of the moon in the lake.
Witnessing is a key word for all meditators.
Witness that you are not the body...
Witness that you are not the mind...
Witness that you are only a witness.
Man is mind...
The word ‘man’ itself comes from the Sanskrit root man, which means mind. If you understand the workings of the mind, you will understand the reality of man and the possibility too. If you understand the inner mechanism of the mind, you will understand the past of man, the present and the future too.
Man in himself is not a being but a passage. In himself man is not a being, because man is continuously a becoming. There is no rest in being a man. Rest is below man or above man.
Below is nature, above is God. Man is just in between – a link, a ladder. You cannot rest on a ladder, you cannot stop on the ladder. The ladder cannot become your abode. Man has to be surpassed, man has to be transcended.
Man is a journey between your two infinities. One is your nature, one infinity; another is your hidden God, the other infinity. And man is just between the two, a ferry boat. Use it, but don’t be confined by it. Use it, but don’t be defined by it. Always remember that you have to go beyond.
That’s exactly what man is: a disease, a constant tension – to be or not to be, to be this or to be that – a constant fight between the soul and the body, the lower and the higher, unconsciousness and consciousness. To understand man as a conflict, to understand man as a constant tension will help immensely, because then you stop clinging to man as such. Rather, on the contrary, you start thinking ’How to go beyond, how to transcend, how to surpass?’Friedrich Nietzsche is right when he says that man is the only animal who tries to surpass himself, the only animal who can surpass himself. It is the greatest miracle in the world: to surpass oneself. But it has happened. It can happen in you! You are a great promise, a project, an adventure. But don’t start thinking about yourself as if you have arrived. Then you cling somewhere in between, and a part of you will be pulled to one side and the other part to another side – you will be torn apart. And you will remain in anguish, and your existence will be nothing but a long on-going nightmare.
The first state of mind we can call ‘pre-mind’. It exists in a very small child – very primitive, animal-like. Hence the beauty of the children, and the innocence, and the grace – because that anxiety which we call man has not yet evolved. The child is at ease. The child is not yet a traveller; he has yet not left his home in search for some other home. The pilgrimage has not started yet. The child is at rest – perfectly at ease and happy to be whatsoever he is. That’s why his eyes have no anxiety, and the child has a certain grace around him.
But this grace is going to be lost. This grace cannot stay forever, because it is unconscious, because it has not been earned, because it is a natural gift, and the child is completely oblivious to it. He cannot hold onto it. How can you hold onto something when you are unconscious of it? It has to be lost. The only way to gain it is to lose it. The child will have to go into corruption, into perversion. The child will have to go into the cunningness of the mind, and then the child will understand that he has lost something – something immensely valuable. But one can know it only when it is lost. There is no other way to know it. Then the search starts.
Something has been lost, something has been forgotten, something was there which is no more there; something is being missed, and one starts searching for it. here is no responsibility, because a child knows nothing of duty, the child knows nothing of values, virtues. The child knows nothing of sainthood, so he is not aware of sin either. He exists before the diversion, he exists before those two paths of sin and sainthood diverge, separate and go apart. He is in a kind of primitive unity. The child loses his innocence, loses his virginity, loses nature and becomes part of the civilised world – really becomes man.
And yet in anger we become more childish, in love we become more childish. Listen to the dialogue of two lovers, and you will find it very childish. Remember your own memories when you first fell in love: how you behaved, what you said to your beloved or your lover, and you will find childishness. Or remember when somebody provokes you and you become angry – you start doing things which are very illogical, unintelligent, undisciplined, chaotic. You repent for them later on, because later on, when the second layer comes back, the second layer repents for the first layer. When the civilized mind comes back, takes hold again, it repents. It says ‘It was not good of me. It was not good to do what I did.’ You regret...
People said about Osho..
"He is an enlightened master who is working with all possibilities to help humanity overcome a difficult phase in developing consciousness." -The Dalai Lama
"I was inspired by Osho's wisdom when I wrote the song 'How Fragile We All Are'. Reading his books gave me hope for humanity. It is a must for everybody to have a look into his words ....." - Sting, Singer & Performer
Monday, 15 November 2010
I think it is fair in today's Society to say that good teachers are costly, but bad teachers cost so much more. The cost of bad teaching is not financial only, but also catastrophic to society in general and individuals in particular. How many times have one questions how a person managed to secure their current job with such poor skills, qualifications and general abilities. It is tragic to see many people holding major important roles who are incapable of switching on a computer, producing a basic document or preparing an interesting speech. Education today unfortunately is getting worse- perhaps not many share my pessimism, however the evidence is there. One method of teaching that certainly allows students to hide into each other and cross their finger not to be detected is teaching in lecture halls. As seen in the image, the seating arrangement not only alienates the student from the tutor by keeping the students as inaccessible as possible from the tutor/lecturer, but also encourages students to avoid a tutor/student relation which is vital for reinforcing their learning process. Besides, student tend to lose the will to listen or learn after 20 minutes from a teacher's monologue, so imagine having the opportunity to hide behind the person infront of you for a quick nap unseen...
Teaching in lectures, no matter how much the lecturer attempts to make it interesting and enjoyable, has this effect on students. It never helps maintain a health attention span. The solution that some lecturers uses often is giving 20 minutes break within the lecture. This may not always be possible specially that at this current age and time, everything has to follow a schedule. Using multimedia like projectors, and powerpoint, is good if one knows how to produce stimulating slides that engages the students as well as get them involved. There is really no point doing so if one is not confident enough- it can become very boring and usually referred to as death by powerpoint which trust me, many lecturers/tutors today use it whether consciously or not.
So unfortunately, most education systems in middle eastern countries rely more on lecturing in halls. There is of course a significant difference from private universities who attempt to keep the number of students enrolling on one course low so that the tutor has a chance to engage with the class, while other universities- I would say this is more common- who rely 99% on lecturing where the tutor enters the class, give a talk, few questions here and there, then leaves without noticing much who is who or getting the chance to know the students capabilities to a great extent. One may argue that exams and other assessments methods will solve this problem, however, it is not usually enough- some students need more encouragement and personalised method of teaching to reach their potential and feel a sense of belonging, hence do their best and excel. Others are happy to continue attending lectures, getting a degree and taking on posts to survive- whether or not they are suitable for the job or have shown enough skill, knowledge, and ability to do the tasks or job- that will remain a never ending question....
Sunday, 7 November 2010
is the emotion of strong affection and personal attachment...
is not about oneself, it is about the other. The way they talk, smile, walk, and go about in life...
is loving those who deserve it.
is the discovery of ourselves in others, and the delight in the recognition...
I have always wondered how a mix of emotions can be called love... What makes "love" so important to us? Why is it important? Why are those who never find it, are in such distress? Can love be right in front of our eyes and we can't see you? Can love be easily found? Many philosophers have talked about love as either an emotion that makes us weak, faint, or that which makes us stronger...whichever way we see it, love is a necessary state that we value enough to spend all our lives looking for it. Whether we admit it or not, it seems that life has taught us that love does not mean gazing at each other but looking outward together in the same direction...People say that a woman has to be with a bad man to appreciate the good one, maybe that is true, but may not always be the case. A good heart finds its way, it is capable of sensing another good heart. One that believes that love has to be made, it does not create itself, it needs to be made, remade, and made new all the time. Unfortunately, it is true that love can be made in years and destroyed in minutes...
Saturday, 6 November 2010
The drum of the realization of the promise is beating, we are sweeping the road to the sky. Your joy is here today, what remains for tomorrow?
Heaven and earth are filled with purity and light.
Oh! joy for he who has escaped from this world of perfumes and color!
For beyond these colors and these perfumes, these are other colors in the heart and the soul.
Oh! joy for this soul and this heart who have escaped the earth of water and clay,
Although this water and this clay contain the hearth of the philosophical stone.
We are as the flute, and the music in us is from thee;
we are as the mountain and the echo in us is from thee.
We are as pieces of chess engaged in victory and defeat:
our victory and defeat is from thee, O thou whose qualities are comely!
Who are we, O Thou soul of our souls, that we should remain in being beside thee?
We and our existences are really non-existence;
thou art the absolute Being which manifests the perishable.
We all are lions, but lions on a banner:
because of the wind they are rushing onward from moment to moment.
Their onward rush is visible, and the wind is unseen:
may that which is unseen not fail from us!
Our wind whereby we are moved and our being are of thy gift; our whole existence is from thy bringing into being.
Thursday, 4 November 2010
The Celebration of a Troubled Genius: John Lennon (1940 –1980)
Maybe I am a dreamer, but I am not the only one... those were the worlds of John Lennon, one of the most talked about founding member of The Beatles who made a name for himself by writing timeless lyrics that touched everyone in the past, in our present time and will continue to influence many more in the future. The song-writing partnership formed by Lennon and Paul McCartney was one of the most successful partnerships of the 20th century.
On the 16th of October, 2010, in the Bluecoat, many people met to celebrate the lyrics and music of John Lennon. The event was part of the collaboration between the Philosophy in the City festival and the Bluecoat’s Chapter and Verse literature festival. This was a great opportunity to reconcile literature, philosophy, and music as disciplines that strive on each other to flourish.
John Lennon, according to the four contributors who were forming the panel to discuss his song writing and music with members of the public, was seen by many critics as a troubled soul. He lived a life surrounded by many yet felt alienated. His music presented a deep look into one’s consciousness, one’s relation to others, and one’s stand in society. Born and raised in Liverpool, his love for music started at a very early age. He formed his first band the Skiffle Craze as a teenager, later on the The Quarrymen, evolving into The Beatles in 1960. According to critics and biographers, Lennon had a rebellious nature and acerbic wit in his music, his writing, his drawings, on film, and in interviews, that were very controversial. But where did John Lennon stand in society? He was famous, loved as a member of The Beatles who took UK by storm. A time of The Beatlemania, and yet he felt lonely, and in capable of living a happy life which led him to drugs. The panel mentioned that, according to biographer Ian MacDonald, Lennon's experience with LSD brought him "close to erasing his identity". The use of such a drug profoundly affected his songwriting, as a product of his self-examination, and in the "hallucinatory imagery" he captured in his lyrics. For example in his song, Strawberry Fields Forever", Lennon sang "'Strawberry fields...Nothing is real.' Those simple phrases had a powerful effect sharing a rhythm and a rhyme. Hence, the image and the ethos are fused in meaning for the duration of the song. Even as The Beatles disintegrated in 1970, Lennon launched a solo career including his albums John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Imagine, and iconic songs such as "Give Peace a Chance" and "Imagine" which became title track anthems for anti-war movements, yet some of the lyrics offended religious groups. Lennon's explanation says the panel of contributors to the public, was, "If you can imagine a world at peace, with no denominations of religion—not without religion, but without this 'my God is bigger than your God' thing—then it can be true." Moreover, the contributors discussed how through Lennon’s work as a peace activist, his lyrics touched all generations as if he sang what everyone else, including himself, was feeling at the time in response of global events, such as his views on Vietnam War which were very criticised. Using his lyrics as a tool to address the world, he revealed his deepest fears of the future, anxieties and troubles. He addressed everyday man and woman, of all ages and said “maybe someday you’ll join us and the world will be as one.” His lyrics had such an impact that other song writers started to realise that music is about the people, the events, the worries and the troubles that life brings.
Listening to the songs of Lennon in the Bluecoat again was a revival and a reminder of how words that touch our deepest sense of humanity are valued and should be treasured forever. What Lennon felt through the good times and hard times were beautifully conveyed in his songs and thankfully he caused such a revolution in song-writing and music genres to the extent that thankfully other musicians took notice which means today that he will no longer be the only one...Members of the public showed their appreciation of the event by taking part in the discussion noting that if Lennon was alive today, he will have so much more to say about the dramatic changes and divisions in our society, the ongoing invasion, where one feels alienated, unnoticed and merely attempting to survive on a daily basis a survival of the fittest scenario. Lennon says, “My role in society, or any artist's or poet's role, is to try and express what we all feel. Not to tell people how to feel, not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all”.