Friday, June 12, 2015

Happiness and its Causes 2015

The view from my hotel window and mind: Heideggerian fog
This week I was a guest at the 'Happiness and its Causes' conference, in Sydney.

The Dalai Lama was also speaking, but I spent my free time working on The Art of Reading, which is due to my publishers in August. Because of my worldly attachments.

The art of listening
My first gig, on Tuesday, was a seven-hour workshop, 'The Pleasures and Virtues of Exercise', for just over forty people. Normally I run this for smaller groups at The School of Life, but this worked well.

Participants went for a silent, solitary walk, sprinted, punched and blocked in pairs, and meditated on their little toes. And between each exercise: lectures and discussion.

Some great reflections from participants, particularly on the virtues required for martial arts, and the almost sacred experience of explosive movement.

One of the highlight: a large group of lanyarded conference-goers, sprinting up and down the promenade at Sydney Harbour, thinking about mortality.

'What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not a goal...' - Nietzsche
On Wednesday I had a day off, which I devoted chiefly to my manuscript. I sat in Newtown for most of the day, writing about Batman, Heidegger and Borges. I also dropped into Better Read than Dead, and signed a stack of My Pop is a Pirate.

Better signed than not. Inscribing at Better Read than Dead, Newtown
Thursday saw me giving a quick lecture, 'How to Think About Exercise'. My talk followed Michelle Bridges on "The Motivation Myth", which perhaps made for incongruous viewing. I discussed my kids' refusal of dualism, and the importance of avoiding the 'body as machine' mindset.

You can read a summary by one of the audience here, and I'll post the video when it's online.

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