Episode 94

Published on:

28th Feb 2024

Mini-Decoding: Indulgent Monologuing

Sometimes our intrepid Decoders like to focus on a specific rhetorical technique or recurrent pattern that can be observed across the Gurusphere. Here, Matt and Chris take a look at a bite-size portion of the philosopher John Gray's recent appearance on Sam Harris' Making Sense podcast.

Gray was invited to outline his critique of New Atheism, and his response is a remarkable monologue that encompasses a vast range of intellectual topics, philosophical thinkers, and historical periods. We travel from ancient religion to medieval peasants and finally to (almost) the contemporary era.

It is a veritable tour de force of an erudite philosopher's mind palace. So join us for a hike around through that palace and see if you agree with our assessment that the notable features reflect some common issues in academic, philosophical, and guru discourse.

Alternatively, you might find Gray's approach vibes with your interests, and that it is Matt and Chris who are simply showcasing their grumpy materialist perspective (again).

It will probably be impossible to tell unless we first consider what Spinoza said to Oldenburg in 1665 while taking due consideration of the Kokutai doctrine as elaborated by the Mito School in Meiji Japan, but that, of course, leads us to ancient Egypt and the pharaohs...


Show artwork for Decoding the Gurus

About the Podcast

Decoding the Gurus
A psychologist and an anthropologist try to make sense of the world's greatest self-declared Gurus.
An exiled Northern Irish anthropologist and a hitchhiking Australian psychologist take a close look at the contemporary crop of 'secular gurus', iconoclasts, and other exiles from the mainstream, offering their own brands of unique takes and special insights.

Leveraging two of the most diverse accents in modern podcasting, Chris and Matt dig deep into the claims, peek behind the psychological curtains, and try to figure out once and for all... What's it all About?

Join us, as we try to puzzle our way through and talk some smart-sounding smack about the intellectual giants of our age, from Jordan Peterson to Robin DiAngelo. Are they revolutionary thinkers or just grifters with delusions of grandeur?

Join us and let's find out!
Support This Show

About your hosts

Christopher Kavanagh

Profile picture for Christopher Kavanagh
A Northern Irish cognitive anthropologist who occasionally moonlights as a social psychologist. Chris has long standing interests in the psychology of conspiracy theorists and pseudoscience. His academic research focuses on the Cognitive Science of Religion and ritual psychology. He lives happily in Japan with his family.

Matthew Browne

Profile picture for Matthew Browne
An Australian psychologist and numbers-guy. He does research on all kinds of stuff, but particularly enjoys looking into why people believe the things they do: religion, conspiracy theories, alternative medicine and stuff. He's into social media in the same way people slow down for car accidents.