WELCOME TO MY WEBSITE

Its principal purpose is to help you find out what I have written and, in some cases, to make it available to you here. Some of it is academic, some of it as popular as I can manage, and some hovers between the two.

I was born in Winnipeg Canada but have lived in London for more than forty years. I am divorced with an adult son and step-son and a daughter aged twenty-eight. I have a long relationship with Buddhism (Soto Zen), my main teacher being Kobun Chino Otogawa. I am lucky enough to be able to do quite a lot of what I love best: thinking, writing, reading and teaching (mostly informal). However, I'm also into music, visual art, and photography, and I have a black belt (1st Dan) in karate-kickboxing which has now segued into tai chi.

What's New

Hello! My big news is that my new book – Enchantment: Wonder in Modern Life – has just been published. It is short and (in places) sweet, and I daresay never dull, so I hope you enjoy it.

For more information, go to www.florisbooks.co.uk (It's also available on Amazon.com, of course.)

There is also a Facebook page for the book here. And a Twitter page for the book: https://mobile.twitter.com/inenchantment and @InEnchantment

Since I am relatively unknown, writing on an unusual and hard-to-classify subject and published by a small independent publisher, if it turns out that you like my book and want to help it along then I would be extremely grateful if you would do any of the following: Buy a copy – preferably from Floris or through a local bookshop but if need be, yes: from Amazon!

Mention, discuss and/or recommend it to others, whether by email or on social media (Facebook &/or Twitter especially), blogs, lists or other discussion groups. Review it positively online (especially on Amazon) or for a publication. Ask your local bookshop/ bookstore to stock it.

THANK YOU!

P.S. Here's a link to my remarks at the recent launch of the book in London on the 18th October: https://youtu.be/Y5STxQC6dZ8

Other recent stuff includes: ...

"Analog Sea is a small community of writers and artists wishing to maintain contemplative life in the digital age. We publish high-quality printed books and a bi-annual journal, The Analog Sea Review. Our mission is to support what we call offline culture. We are interested in what poets, novelists, essayists, and visual artists create in solitude, that vital stretch of time when distraction fades and deep wells of thinking and feeling emerge. We aim to spark conversations between those who find artistic expression, philosophical inquiry, and reverence for nature critical counterweights to the racket and fragmentation of modern life."

A couple of points call for comment here. One is that The Ecological Citizen, which I edit (together with others), is an online journal which is nonetheless a thing of beauty and full of just such conversations. So it is certainly possible to do so online (and it's the only way we could do it at all, for various implacable practical reasons). But 'offline culture' is becoming an endangered species, so if you do want to support it, Analog Sea is definitely a worthy candidate.

The other point is this: is this sort of thing frivolous in what appear to be ecological endtimes? I don't think so, for doesn't it have a rightful place among just what we are trying to defend? The alternative appears to be the kind of logical nonsense we are familiar with from the so-called War on Terror: 'Give up your freedoms before terrorists take them away!' Only in this case, it's: 'Give up whatever can't be justified by its strategic usefulness before rampant instrumentalism destroys the world!' Let's not.

Background

I hold a B.A. (University of California at Santa Cruz, 1978, in Psychology, with highest honours), M.Sc. (L.S.E., 1980, in Logic and Scientific Method), and Ph.D. (University College London, 1987, in the History and Philosophy of Science).

From September 2006 until September 2009 I was a Lecturer in Religious Studies at the University of Kent (Canterbury), where I taught in the MA programme on the Cultural Study of Cosmology and Divination. From 2002-2006 I was a Lecturer at the Sophia Centre, Bath Spa University, where I co-taught the MA in Cultural Astronomy and Astronomy. I am a Tutor in the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture at the University of Trinity Saint David. I am also the Editor of a new online journal, commencing in Spring 2017, The Ecological Citizen.

I have reviewed books for History Today, New Statesman, The Guardian, The Independent and (most often) the Times Literary Supplement; appeared on two television programmes; and taken part in two programmes on BBC Radio Four. I also appear in interviews of two of the three extended New Line DVD’s on The Lord of the Rings.

One of my teachers who really was a teacher was Gregory Bateson. I was lucky enough to take his final classes in 1978. His influence on me was, and remains, profound.

In 2019, I became a Companion of the Guild of St George, the educational charity started by John Ruskin.

What It’s About

Considering my work as a whole, there are several different streams of study: (1) divination, including astrology; (2) the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien; (3) ecocentrism, including ecological ethics, eco-republicanism and eco-feminism; (4) the metaphysics of metaphor; (5) the spiritual and therefore incalculable dimension of life; and (6) enchantment or wonder.

There is a thread running through this apparently odd assortment. They are all subjects that have been marginalised by, and within, mainstream modernity. The project of modernity has been defined (by Val Plumwood) as the rational mastery of nature, including human nature. (Those very words radiate a cold, arrogant and fantastically misplaced pride.) It is therefore contemptuous of the wellsprings of life and its enchantment in the bodymind, the female, and the Earth. Its ultimate expression is probably transhumanism, whose ‘success’ would turn us into Ringwraiths.

What I write out of, on the contrary, is ‘radical nostalgia’ for what modernity mocks, marginalises, mimics and sometimes murders but which was good and worked, and (what is left of it) still is and still does. This, not reaction, is true conservatism of the kind espoused by Ruskin, say. What is wild and mysterious – what cannot be calculated, controlled, or bought and sold – is at the heart of what makes us human and makes life worth living. And in the empire of modernity, it is under assault.

By ‘modernity’, I mean the triple rule of capital, technoscience and the state: big business plus big science (including big data) plus Big Brother. Its banner reads, in various versions, ‘One Truth, One Way, One People’. And, of course, One Ring. At very best, the result is what Chesterton called ‘progress without hope.’

My current ongoing project concerns enchantment as a fundamental human experience which gives our lives much of their meaning, or rather, is the meaning. Enchantment reaches into and runs through all kinds of places: nature and place itself, myth, love and erotic communion, art of all kinds, religion, food, sport… I want to follow that course and try to understand it, the better to appreciate, honour and defend it.

We are all embodied, embedded, and utterly interdependent beings, not only with each other but many, many nonhuman others – in other words, everything the modernists want to forget, destroy, or ‘transcend’. Strictly speaking, therefore, the contrary condition of modernity is not pre-, post-, or even non-modernity; it is the fullness of life. Enchantment is an experience of that condition, and a reminder of its truth.

© Patrick Curry 2019