2 Podcasts on Loneliness

2 Podcasts on Loneliness

Photo by Francisco Arnela on Unsplash

Photo by Francisco Arnela on Unsplash

In Australia, to call someone a “Nigel” is say that person has no friends.

Thankfully, by the grace of God, I seem to have friends. Better still, I seem to have really smart friends.

Some of my friends produce online content!

In this post I would like to introduce you to 3 of them. In keeping with the theme of having friends (maybe), I would like to cluster my description of them around the theme of loneliness.

The first two are Joel Harrison, who lectures in Law at the University of Sydney, and David Taylor, who is a research assistant for the Centre for Disability Studies. Of the back of recent podcasting success, Joel and David have launched their own podcast called (a word used by JRR Tolkien to mean the “good catastrophe”). The main aim of the podcast, they say, is to “meander and banter through politics, pop-culture, church and society to explore how a theological imagination creatively envisages and serves the common good”.

The most recent episode on the lonely subject was a real tour de force, exploring the politics and philosophy of loneliness. The most striking point that came out of that episode was a link Hannah Arendt made between loneliness and totalitarianism. In her landmark work The Origins of Totalitarianism, Arendt said that loneliness and isolation was the breeding ground for totalitarian rule.

“The preparation [for totalitarianism] has succeeded”, Arendt said, “when people have lost contact with their fellow men as well as the reality around them; for together with these contacts, men lose the capacity of both experience and thought”. (Explore this link more by clicking here to read Maria Popova’s excellent essay in Brain Pickings.

The third friend is Justine Toh, who is senior research fellow at the Centre for Public Christianity here in Sydney.

She and I recently collaborated on a pilot podcast for Spiritual Lifehack, for the Australian Broadcasting Corporations Radio National program Soul Search. While Spiritual Lifehack will deal with many topics, the topic Justine and I focussed on was the deadly sin of sloth. Following the path beaten by the philosopher R.J. Snell and the Egyptian ascetic Evagrius of Pontus, we looked at how the vices in general, and sloth in particular, takes us down a road that culminates in a soul corroding loneliness.

I commend the work of Joel, David and Justine to you. If you could take the time to explore their work further, you will not regret it.

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