E13 Buddhism: The Path to Nirvana

This episode has nothing to do with Kurt Cobain

Relative to our ancestors, we live in a very strange world. Food, sex, a holiday for 2 to Timbuktu - our every desire is available at the click of a button. But are we any happier than we were before?

Right at the other end of the spectrum, Buddhism offers us a path away from desire and towards contentment and tranquility. This episode will try to answer: how do Buddhists understand human nature? What is their alternative to the hedonic treadmill? And how can we attain Nirvana?

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E12 Anti-Natalism: Why Having Children Is Wrong

Better never to have been born at all?

Searching For It explores philosophies, ideas, and ways of life that can provide our lives with an overarching sense of purpose. But if anti-natalists had their way, we'd euthanize the human race as soon as possible because life is simply not worth living. In this episode, we'll investigate this provocative philosophy and try to understand why anti-natalists think it would be better never to have been born at all.

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E11 Sartre and Existentialism

Radical freedom, authenticity, and edgy Frenchmen in turtleneck sweaters

Communist, womanizer, and intellectual rebel: Jean-Paul Sartre wasn't just another grey, ageing philosopher, trudging his way through the academic establishment. Sartre was an existentialist, a fierce political campaigner, and he lived the philosophy he preached. In this episode, we'll be getting to grips with Sartre's brand of existentialism and discovering what it means to live as an authentic, radically free being.

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E10 Liam Ward on Camus and the Absurd

Discussing Camus, suicide, and the absurd with Liam Ward

In today's bonus October episode, Liam Ward joins Searching For It to discuss the philosophy of Albert Camus. Today's episode will see us revisiting the first episode of Searching For It and exploring Camus' notion of the absurd in more depth. Liam has a long-standing interest in Camus and all things existentialist, and brings to the table his thoughts on Camus' novel The Outsider and how we can apply Camus' philosophy to our day-to-day lives.

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E9 Altruism: How to do Good Effectively

Doing the most good we can with Effective Altruists

This episode brings the second instalment of the 2-part series on altruism. After having looked into why we should be so concerned about doing good in the last episode, today we'll be trying to figure out how we can do good the most effectively.

We'll be looking at a group of people called Effective Altruists who have spent a lot of time thinking about this question. We'll uncover the interesting and surprising conclusions that Effective Altruists have reached regarding which causes deserve our attention, and how we can go about supporting them the most effectively.

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E8 Altruism: The Case for Doing Good

What reasons to we have to be a good person?

This episode brings the first instalment of a 2-part series on altruism. Today we’ll be asking: what reasons do I have to be a good person? From a moral point of view, do I face any obligations to spend my time helping those in need? And from a self-interested point of view, can I find a sense of meaning and fulfilment in doing so?

In this episode you’ll find provocative thought experiments, interesting ways of making a positive difference to the world, and a lot of Peter Singer! Tune in, and Searching For It will be back on Monday 7 October with an episode on Effective Altruism and the most effective ways of doing good.

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E7 Freedom and Happiness

To be (free) or not to be (free)?

Aldous Huxley wrote a novel Brave New World, set in a futuristic society in which the citizens have everything they could ever want handed to them on a silver platter by the government. Although, the people don't have a choice but to accept this one-size-fits-all perfect life - they might be happy but they're not free to choose otherwise. In 2019, in a world in which insights from the behavioural sciences and big data are beginning to allow the government to exert more control over our lives, but in ways that might make our lives go better, how should we approach this trade-off between our freedom and our happiness?

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E6 The Psychedelic Experience: The Acid Tests

What is this, a cross-over episode?

In today's episode, we'll finish off the two-part mini-series on the psychedelic experience. This 'cross-over episode' will see many of the characters from the last 4 episodes of this podcast come together on a legendary bus trip, wild parties, and sharing mind-bending properties of LSD-laced Kool Aid. Join us to learn why they did this, and what they discovered.

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E5 The Psychedelic Experience: Psychedelic Music and the Grateful Dead

What happens when you cross a bunch of hippie musicians with an unlimited supply of LSD?

Join us in the first of our 2-part mini-series on the psychedelic experience. We'll begin today by exploring one of the most influential and unique bands in rock history: the Grateful Dead, and how they could induce a 'psychedelic effect' in the listener. But what is a psychedelic experience, and how can listening to music have such a strange effect on us? Tune in to find out!

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E4 Living Deliberately

Learning to take control of your life with a bit of help from Thoreau, Kerouac, and Into The Wild

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." - Thoreau, Walden.

In this episode, we'll be looking at the idea of living deliberately, and how it can help us to make the most of our limited time on this planet. We'll begin by exploring this idea through Thoreau's hugely influential book Walden, before thinking about how we can apply this lifestyle to our own lives in a world defined by consumerism and technology.

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