At the age of 24, I pressed the “Eject” button from my conventional career path in City merchant banking and set off on my quest for wisdom and deeper understanding of life. I arrived at Champagne Moet & Chandon in Epernay in the autumn of 1976 with four boxes of books, combining reading with guiding visitors around the 18th century cellars. This year of reading was absolutely formative and I also spent time working in Heidelberg then at Hennessy in Cognac before a year at Cambridge studying for PGCE and my first encounter with TM, Since that time, I have devoted my life to education in the broadest sense, first as a teacher of languages and philosophy in Edinburgh and at Winchester College, then working for a variety of educational charities – principally the Scientific and Medical Network, Character Scotland and Wrekin Trust, although I also served as President of the Swedenborg Society some 20 years ago. The 25 essays featured in this volume were written over the last 40 years, the earliest being the one on Voltaire and Russell from 1979. Among the significant thinkers featured here are many who have shone their light on my path – Beinsa Douno, Swedenborg, Albert Schweitzer, Carl Jung, Viktor Frankl, David Bohm and Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan among others – and which can provide enriching nourishment for readers on their own life journeys.

I give details of my intellectual and spiritual journey in the ‘Formative Background’ at the beginning of the book. I introduce the background to each of the essays, which explore philosophy, meaning and spirituality; consciousness, death and transformation; and responsibility, ethics and society – all themes central to the Scientific and Medical Network, with which I have been associated for over 35 years and for whose journal, Paradigm Explorer, I review over 150 books a year. As such, these essays explore the nature of life and death, questions of meaning and purpose, and the challenge of how we can live more harmoniously together. It is my hope that readers will be inspired, as Dr Albert Schweitzer put it, in our common task ‘to become more finely and deeply human.’ I am grateful to friends and colleagues – including three distinguished former Winchester scholars – who have generously supported the book and especially to Dr Peter Fenwick for his preface and my old university friend whisky writer Charlie MacLean for his introduction. As undergraduates we made many amateur forays into these areas late into the night – the kind of significant student conversations that one is reluctant to stop in favour of sleep! I have dedicated the book to my children Charlotte, herself a writer and podcaster, and George, already a far better golfer than I ever was and a tower of strength to his many friends.

Here’s a glipse into the essay titles contained in this book.

A Quest for Wisdom – Inspiring Purpose on the Path of Life

Preface by Dr Peter Fenwick
Introduction by Charles MacLean
Formative Background

Philosophy, Spirituality and Meaning
Viktor Frankl and the Human Search for Meaning (1982)
The Absurd and the Mysterious (1981)
John Moriarty Memorial Lecture – Rhythmica Mythica: Separation and Union, Exile and Homecoming (2008)
The Principles of Love and Wisdom in Swedenborg and Beinsa Douno (2000)
Beinsa Douno, a Prophet for our Times 2018
Tao and Integration (1982)
Cultivating a Sense of Beauty (1984)
The Encounter of Eastern and Western Cosmologies – Speculations on Radhakrishnan and the Implicate Order (1984)
Consciousness and Spirituality: Widening the Scientific Perspective (c2001)

Consciousness, Death and Transformation
The Challenge of Death
Religious and Scientific Implications of the Near-death and Related Experiences (1985)
Aspects of the NDE in the Light of the Tibetan Book of the Dead and the Experiences of Swedenborg (1985)
Swedenborg and Survival (2001)
Swedenborg the Soul and Modern Consciousness Studies (2002)
The Near-Death Experience and the Perennial Wisdom (2005), 4,500

Taking Responsibility – Ethics and Society
Dr Albert Schweitzer – My Life as an Argument: The Plight of the Individual in Modern Society (1981)
The Ethics of Reverence for Life and the Problem of Peace (1981)
The Ethical Mysticism of Dag Hammarskjold (1983)
Religion, Society and Spiritual Renewal in Radhakrishnan (1983)
Ethics and the Nature of the Human (1983)
Beyond Fanaticism – the “Pneumatocratic” Perspective (1983)
Voltaire and Russell – the Crusade against Dogma and Fanaticism (1980)
The Spiritual Perspective and Political Responsibility (1984)
Fear of Freedom (1984)
Some Aspects of the German Democratic Republic (1983)
Towards a Culture of Love: an Ethic of Interconnectedness (2007)

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