John Gray: Godless Mysticism

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Cafe 1001

91 Brick Ln · London

How to find us

The entrance to Cafe 1001 is on Dray Walk, a little lane just off Brick Lane (where Rough Trade is also found)

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In this talk and discussion, leading philosopher John Gray will explore what he calls godless mysticism.

In this type of atheism, the world is like God in some negative versions of theology - it is beyond thought or definition. All our concepts are just tools we use to grasp a reality we cannot truly understand.

What would it be like to live according to this view? If you accept that neither "God" nor "humanity" describes anything that exists, what will be your values? Will you try to change the human world, or look beyond it? If language is misleading as a guide to reality, what other means can you use to capture what is around you?

These and other questions will be considered against the background of John Gray's claim that atheism comes in many varieties, some of the most interesting among them semi-forgotten and little known, but well worth studying. He will draw on philosophers including Nietzsche, Schopenhauer and the Buddha. As usual, there will be breaks for group discussion.

This talk will launch the paperback edition of Gray's 'Seven Types of Atheism', a Sunday Times best-seller.

'A highly readable, fascinating book that jerks the debate on religion versus atheism right out of its crusted rut into the light of serious intellectual scrutiny' Observer

'An impressively erudite work'. Terry Eagleton in the Guardian

'John Gray is the great Schopenhauerian Buddhist of our age. The radical core of Gray’s work, unfashionable as it might seem, is a strident defense of the ideal of contemplation against action, whether the bios theoretikos of Aristotle or the ataraxia of the Epicureans. '. Simon Critchely in the LA Review of Books.

This talk is presented in partnership with the Experimental Thought Co, at Cafe 1001, a bohemian and atmospheric venue at the heart of the Truman Brewery, near Shoreditch High Street and Liverpool Street stations. The venue has a bar. The talk will start at 7 prompt. Tickets are £15.