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This website is dedicated to the liberation of consciousness. ‘Freedom’ can mean many things, but in some of the important senses, our lives, politics and art are less free than we think, and less free than they could be. The seeds of freedom and unfreedom lie in our consciousness. The intellectual’s task today is to be a cultivator of freedom.

A little about me

At school and university, I learned Latin, Greek, philosophy and economics, though I spent quite a bit of my time thinking about English poetry and Christianity.  In my twenties and thirties, I divided myself between poetry and development economics, working on, and in. Africa. This way of life led to divisions: among others, between my liking for the places I worked in and my professional task of transforming them: and between more and less ‘rational’ aspects of my own thinking. These divisions drew me back to philosophy, to the question: what aspects of human life should we be seeking to promote, or applauding ? Our projects are limited if we are using an inadequate answer to this question, and most prevailing answers are inadequate. Much of my philosophical work has been aimed at coming up with something better.

Meanwhile, I have continued to write poetry since I was fourteen, and I read poetry in a dozen or so languages. But it was only in my forties that I began to feel I knew where my poetic allegiances lay. I am hoping my poems will now find their audience.

I spent much of my youth grappling with the enterprise of Christian belief and nearly became a Roman Catholic. Since my early twenties, I have been sceptical of the claims of most major religions, though interested in contemplative practice. Recently, I started meditating in an idiosyncratic way loosely inspired by the Zen masters Shunryu Suzuki and Taishen Deshimaru.

This website is an attempt to unite these rather disparate interests. The blogs ‘Areopagus’ and ‘Eleutheria’ are, respectively philosophical/political and poetic/cultural. In the ‘Biblotheke’ section I shall be publishing links to various papers of mine. The ‘Odeion’ will house some information about my activities as poet. And ‘Strategia’ is my chess page.

I am available for creative and intellectual projects and can be contacted at john@johnmackinnon.org.uk.