12th June 2014: Strange Terrain Part One; On A New Understanding Of The Nature Of Human Beings by Ciaran Healy

strange terrain

Come along to The Counting House at 7pm to listen to Ciaran’s talk. Share a crust of bread, and hear his philosophy…


Title of talk:

Strange Terrain
Part One: On A New Understanding Of The Nature Of Human Beings

Bullet points of what you would like to talk about:

  • The nature of foundational understanding – digging up the ideas our ideas sit upon.
  • Rationalisation and the potential illusion of mind.
  • How the illusion of mind is an elemental part of the central illusion of the human experience – the illusion of the human self.
  • The illusion of self as an evolutionary event.
  • The new light it can throw on real-life pain, irrationality, suffering.
  • Belief-based selfhood as the root of all amplified suffering and conflict.
  • What’s behind the mask?
  • Toward a new and more powerful way to be.


A few paragraphs on your subject:

Philosophy is my life, my passion. I love it in a way you’ve never read about, and for a good reason. Every revolution was a philosophical one before it was a real one. Philosophy is the bleeding edge of how human beings come to new ways of life, new ways of being together, new kinds of change. Deep, real, serious insight into genuine ways forward for humanity is something that many people could really, really use right now – and truly use, not just enjoy.
And that alone would be enough, but it is more than this. It is not just the results of philosophy which can do so much. For me, philosophy is the wild frontier, the wild horizon. Nothing comes close to the stakes that you deal with, because it is life itself that is being interrogated, real, messy human life. Yours, mine.
Are we brave enough to ask questions that implicate us all? That cut the ground from beneath our own feet and send us sprawling through chaos and insecurity, because we dared dig beneath the safe and static lies that the world teaches us never to question? Are we fools to do so? Is there truly a hope that there will be something there to find, something real and amazing, something worth the risk?
This is philosophy as it should be done, and as it must be done, not as you’ll study it in university.
Find out what you’ve been missing.

A few paragraphs about you:

At the age of 15 I was lucky enough to have a teacher who never stuck to the syllabus, a man called A. J. MacKinnon. He introduced the class, and me in it, to a book called The Great Divorce by a man you will know – C. S. Lewis. The Narnia guy. What most people don’t know is that he did easily the most groundbreaking work into the structure of human pain, evil, delusion, hate, despair, depression and rage, all for one end – to clarify the path to a primal experience of joyful life.
I was struck by this, and by how almost nobody cared. These questions, it seemed, were beneath the contempt of the professionals, being as they were, too vague to place inside an equation. Finding this attitude ridiculous on it’s face, I realised that if I were going to pursue inquiry into these questions, and hope to unlock the incredible potential they seemed to hold, I was going to have to go solo. And so I did.
That was coming up to 19 years ago. It’s been a long and very winding road. A lot of different things, a lot of different experiences and inquiries, more leads to chase down, more mistakes and more dead ends than most people see in ten lifetimes, but I finally feel I have something worth sharing.
I hope you do too.

What free internet knowledge resources would you recommend to others if they wish to explore your chosen theme further?

Bryan Magee’s Youtube series on Western philosophy, as well as his books “The Philosophy Of Schopenhauer” (which I think you can find free online if you dig) and “Confessions Of A Philosopher” (which is worth losing a limb to read).
Ramana Maharshi’s “’Be As You Are’”.