Who is Number One: On Jordan Peterson and the Political
This is a talk I gave at conference is Boise University that aimed at exploring the work and world of popular speaker Jordan Peterson. In contrast to the growing body of work that shows how Peterson misunderstands and misreads many of the theorists he references, I want to concentrate on one of the people he reads well: Carl Jung. I aim to show that Jungian theory lies at the very heart of Peterson's understanding of subjectivity, his views on religion and his political orientation.
In this seminar I'll be showing how Jung's fundamentally religious orientation differs from the central insights of psychoanalysis, and how it leads to Peterson's conservative understanding of Christianity and reactionary political vision. A vision that ultimately sustains the very progressive politics he fights against.
It could be argued that the central question throughout the history of Christianity has revolved around the best way to interpret the Crucifixion. Yet this discussion has by no means been restricted to the confessional church. Indeed many prominent philosophers have taken a deep interest in the Crucifixion and reflected on its significance. In contrast to religious interpretations - that connect the atonement with theism, meaning and reconciliation - this Seminar explores a pyrotheological approach that sees the Crucifixion as expressing a form of life marked by the end of religion, the loss of meaning and the embrace of the absurd.
To compliment the short film Making Love, we created a 40 minute commentary in which I explore the philosophical and theological themes that animate the movie (along with the relevant clips). This is the audio from that commentary. To see the video, visit my youtube page.
While commentaries are often optional extras in movies, I see this as a vital, enmeshed, part of this project. Our aim is for the movie and the commentary to work together in enriching and deepening the insights of the viewer. It’s a model I’ve tried to use in my books, especially How (Not) to Speak of God - which played on the movement between the intellectual and existential dimensions of Pyrotheology.
In 2018 I joined Rob Bell on his Holy Shift tour. This is a recording from one of the stops. In my talk I explored the idea that the Holy can be approached as a wholly other dimension that cuts across our being. A dimension that we attempt to hide from and ignore. Yet the more we ignore it, the more this wholly other dimension creates unholy hell in our lives. In contrast, if we are able to turn our attention towards it, and orient ourselves to its tremor, it can bring new life to us. If you would like to support me and get more content, visit pyrotheology.com.
Once a month I give online seminars via Patreon. I occasionally put some up here. If you'd like the full set, visit pyrotheology.com.
In this seminar I offer a framework that enables people to see how religious ideology functions, what a pyrotheological reading of Christianity entails, and how this is practiced in community. During the seminar I’ll be showing how religious ideology continues to function within secular spaces and offer a religionless reading of Christianity that aims squarely at eviscerating this way of operating in the world.
In doing this I draw out the main difference between pyrotheology and things like Depth Psychology, the Enneagram, Humanism, Progressive Christianity and Liberal Christianity.
In this short reflection I use Tillich's idea of Ultimate Concern to introduce one of the basic aims of Pyrotheology. To learn more about Pyrotheology, check out the pyro-seminars on my Patreon. If you want to take a deep dive into Tillich's notion of Ultimate Concern, check out my course 'Find and You Will Seek' on my website.
Find and You Will Seek: https://peterrollins.com/advent
In this podcast I explore the roots of modern notions of romance, the impossibility of relationships, and how to turn that impossibility into something truly beautiful. I even give a little relationship advice at the end!
Does thinking get us anywhere? Is relativism possible? What can we know? In this seminar I explore Speculative Philosophy through the lens of Paul Tillich's book My Search for Absolutes. To hear my full set of lectures on this book, visit peterrollins.com and get my Find and You Will Seek course.
From a philosophical point of view, Advent can be seen as a time when we might open ourselves up to the thought of the Infinite erupting in the heart of Finite. Beyond its narrowly religious meaning, we can say that the word 'Incarnation' articulates the idea of Truth being enfleshed in the world.
This provides the perfect opportunity for me to offer an Advent course on one of my favorite books by Paul Tillich. The book is based on a series of lectures that Tillich gave shortly before his death, and it represents his last important work. It also happens to be his most personal work, and one of the clearest overviews of his life project.
The lectures explore Tillich’s lifelong search for the Absolute, and draw out how he viewed this passionate search as itself the evidence that the Absolute he sought had already been found.
During this course we’ll confront a powerful argument, beautifully articulated, that explores how ‘seeking’ and ‘finding’ are intimately intertwined. An argument that provides a way to avoid both fundamentalism on one hand and relativism on the other.
By doing this course, you will gain a powerful way of understanding the relationship between faith and doubt, grasp what Tillich means by ‘the God beyond God’, and gain an appreciation of how we might already be grounded in the truth that we seek.
If you'd like to join me for this advent course, just jump onto my website or click peterrollins.com/advent
Psychoanalysis vs Depth Psychology | On Jung and Freud
In this short reflection I outline one of the central differences between Jung's Analytical Psychology and Freud's Psychoanalysis. This is a reflection that is based on a talk I recently gave on a critical assessment of Jordan Peterson's work.
See no evil, acknowledge no evil, experience no evil | On Ideology and Antagonism
How does ideology prevent us from touching antagonism, how does it function in religion, and is there a religionless way of articulating faith. Click here to get the course I talk about in the video: https://peterrollins.com/beyond-belief
How to Start a Cult | An Interview with Maggie Rowe
This is part of an interview I did with the writer, performer and cult leader Maggie Rowe originally done for my Patreon page. Maggie is an actress, writer and performer. Maggie has written screenplays for films including Bright Day! and Out West, for TV shows such as Flaked and Arrested Development, and created the stage productions for Hollywood Hell House, Hollywood Purity Ball, Lawyer Cop Doctors, and Pretty Good Show). She has also edited a book of personal essays called Dirty Laundry, and even founded a satirical religion called Pyrasphere. In addition to all this she has produced and regularly performed in the spoken word show sitnspin (created by Jill Soloway) at the Comedy Central stage. Her latest book is called Sin Bravely: A Memoir of Spiritual Disobedience.
The Madness of Catching Light: On C.S. Lewis, Lacan and the Sublime
One of C.S. Lewis’ most interesting and intriguing works is a short story entitled ‘Light’. A huge amount of controversy and mythology surrounds the text itself, and it was never published in his lifetime. Indeed, its final form wasn’t published until two decades after his death. This is a dark story that reads like something penned by Jean-Paul Sartre or Camus.
In this seminar I offer a close reading of the story and use it to unpack the nature of desire, the madness that comes from certainty and the nature of the Sublime. I’ll employ the story as a means of shedding light on Lacan’s enigmatic statement, “do not give way on your desire” and draw out the difference between fundamentalist fanaticism and a healthy celebration of the Sublime.
In 2017 Peter was a guest on Moshe Kasher's Hound Tall, along with Nick Thune, Sara Schafer and Kurt Metzger. It's a pretty crazy interview with some magical moments sprinkled through the comedy chaos.
Escaping the Sitcom of Life: David Brent, Grotesques and Life Before Death
One of the greatest comedic characters to come out of the UK in recent years is undoubtably David Brent. Created and performed by Ricky Gervas, Brent is a pitiful character; constantly hiding from his self-loathing by unsuccessfully trying to play the part of a successful, funny, attractive and popular Renaissance Man.
In the figure of Brent, Gervas has been able to create a character who manifestly wrestles with repression, neurotic symptoms, and eruptions of the unconscious. However, while the character is largely comic, there is a tragic element to him that is fleshed out at the end of The Office and at the conclusion of the movie David Brent: Life on the Road.
In this Pyro-seminar, I’ll be using Brent as an example of the universal struggle that is human existence. Not only that, but I’ll be showing how Brent can show us how to bear the weight of that struggle and find a depth of meaning.
With the help of Brent, I'll attempt to delineate the type of freedom that a pyrotheological community offers.
In this seminar from 2014, Peter explores how the categories of Idiot, Imbecile and Moron can give us insight into different ways of engaging with the social order, and touches on the theological significance of this in relation to the theme of conversion
This is the introductory talk from Wake 2018. In it I talk about how Pyrotheology relates to the notion of Lack. It deals with some of the material I wanted to cover, but I never got to the theme of Idolatry that was my original aim, so I'll cover that at a later date. I also thought I'd give you a little taste of Adam at the beginning (the friend who I run Wake with).
What if the problem with meditation as it's mostly practiced in contemporary society, isn't that it doesn't work, but that it does. That it helps us to integrate more seamlessly into our world, minimizing our discontent, rather than helping us mobilize and enjoy our discontent.
Salvation For Zombies (Lecture At The Brehm Center)
In June 2014 gave a lecture where he offers some thoughts on modern Christianity and some of his theological explorations, followed by a Q&A time with Pete and Barry Taylor, Brehm Center professor of arts and culture.
Stationary Movement: On Grace, Law and Pyrotheology
Here I talk a little about how grace functions in the everyday sense, and how this needs to be distinguished from its offense theological meaning.
If you'd like to get more content like this and be involved in our "Non-Membership" community, click the link: peterrollins.com/patreon
Losing the Lost Object: On Scapegoating, Ideology and Conversion
With traumatic events like those witnessed in Charlottesville, we’re faced with the challenge of how to read, and respond to, the rise of right wing organizations. In the current climate of political unrest, there are groups who wish to mobilize discontent around the figure of a scapegoat. Some group that can be held responsible for real political, economic and cultural antagonisms.
In this seminar we explore a theoretical framework that can help us interpret the rise of extremism and understand how to develop an effective response. Beyond condemnation and calls for love, we look at how a pyrotheological reading of Christianity can help us actively forge micro-societies of resistance that can positively transform our political landscape.