ISF PERSPECTIVES

PSYCHOLOGY, CULTURAL EXCHANGE, INSPIRATION

Welcome to ISF’s new digital magazine. Read interviews with leading thinkers, explore our special series on how psychology, science and the arts are shaping the way we view the world, and try some episodes of our popular podcast.  You can also listen to tales of mystery and wonder, narrated by none other than Michael Palin and Stephen Fry.
Welcome to ISF’s new digital magazine. Read interviews with leading thinkers, explore our special series on how psychology, science and the arts are shaping the way we view the world, and try some episodes of our popular podcast.  You can also listen to tales of mystery and wonder, narrated by none other than Michael Palin and Stephen Fry.
ISF Perspectives

The ISF interview


Inventor, scientist and author James Lovelock - 'Your instinct, your nature tells you what to do.'

James Lovelock

Scientist, inventor, author and centenarian, Dr James Lovelock is best known for developing the Gaia hypothesis. The theory has gradually gained ground as the best explanation we have of the multi-dimensional way both living and non-living parts of Earth interact to create a single organism. The hypothesis asserts that the Earth, through multiple regulatory mechanisms, maintains the range of equilibrium conditions needed for itself to thrive. ISF caught up with him at his home on the south coast of England — and presented him with a 2019 award for Human Achievement.
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Ian McEwan - 'We know perfectly well how to be good'

Ian McEwan

Ian McEwan is an internationally acclaimed author who has won numerous literary awards, including the Man Booker, the Somerset Maughan and the James Tait Black Memorial prizes. He was awarded a CBE in 2000. Several of his novels have been turned into films, including Atonement, On Chesil Beach and The Children Act. His latest book, Machines Like Me, will be simultaneously published in the UK and US April 2019.
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Pico Iyer

Pico Iyer

Pico Iyer is the author of a novel on Sufism, Abandon; a long meditation on the Dalai Lama, The Open Road; and the recent, best-selling TED Book, The Art of Stillness. In 2019 he will publish Autumn Light and A Beginner’s Guide to Japan, twinned books on his adopted home near Kyoto.

Photo credit: Brigitte Lacombe
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Wendy Doniger

Professor Wendy Doniger

Professor Wendy Doniger is a scholar of Hindu culture. She studied at Harvard and Oxford and is the Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions at the University of Chicago. Her numerous books include Hindu Myths: an Anthology, Women, Androgynes and Other Mythical Beasts, and The Hindus: An Alternative History. This last work became a No. 1 bestseller on its publication in 2009, but was later withdrawn from sale by its publisher, Penguin India, after coming under attack. It is now published by Speaking Tiger Books.
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Dr Desmond Morris

Desmond Morris

Desmond Morris is a zoologist, ethologist and surrealist painter. Author of dozens of titles, he is best known for his groundbreaking books on human behaviour, including The Naked Ape and Manwatching. His most recent book is The Lives of the Surrealists, published in 2018 by Thames and Hudson.
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Sanaa Hamri - An Unflappable Spirit

Sanaa Hamri

Sanaa Hamri is a Moroccan-American director of film, TV and music videos. She has worked with artists from Sting to Mariah Carey and Prince. Her feature films include Something New and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2. Hamri is the first Moroccan woman ever to direct a Hollywood movie. Her father was author and painter Mohamed Hamri, who was part of the Beat scene in Tangier in the 1960's and 70's.
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Erik Weihenmayer - ‘I can hear rocks and trees and even space’

Erik Weihenmayer

On 25th May 2001, Erik Weihenmayer summited Everest. Little more than a year later he had completed the ‘Seven Summits’ – scaling the highest mountain in every continent. The achievement would have been impressive for anyone. But for Erik it was all the more remarkable… because Erik Weihenmayer is blind. In 2008, he climbed the Carstenz Pyramid in West Papua New Guinea – the tallest peak in the Australian region. Weihenmayer has also made noteworthy climbs up the Nose of El Capitan in Yosemite, and ascended Losar – a 2700-foot vertical ice face in the Himalayas. With ‘No Barriers’ as his motto, Erik Weihenmayer is an athlete, adventurer, author, and motivational speaker. A foremost expert on culture and the environment, he is a Guinness Record Holder, and has even been honoured with a cover of TIME magazine.
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Wade Davis

Wade Davis

Professor of anthropology Wade Davis is a true polymath who has made substantial contributions in at least four significant areas. Aged only twenty he completed a traverse of the Darien Gap with British explorer Sebastian Snow. He then became an ethnobotanist under the tutelage of Dr Richard Schultes and went on to discover the ‘zombie poison’ used in voodoo rituals in Haiti. 
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Jason Goodwin – ‘The machine age has turned us upside down’

Jason Goodwin

Jason Goodwin is an author and chef, much of whose work is focussed on Turkey and the Ottoman Empire. His books include On Foot to the Golden Horn, Lords of the Horizon, and a series of crime novels featuring an Istanbul investigator named Yashim. His latest book, Yashim Cooks Istanbul: Culinary Adventures in the Ottoman Kitchen, was shortlisted for the Guild of Food Writers’ First Book Award.
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Paul-Gordon Chandler - 'A movement that builds on what we hold in common'

Paul-Gordon Chandler

Paul-Gordon Chandler is an author, non-profit executive, art curator, social entrepreneur and U.S. Episcopal priest who is an authority on the Middle East and Christian-Muslim relations, having lived and worked in the Middle East, North Africa and West Africa for many years. He grew up in Senegal, and has worked extensively throughout the world in leadership roles within faith-based publishing, the arts, relief & development and The Episcopal/Anglican Church.  From 2003-2013 he was the Rector of the historic St. John’s Church in Cairo, Egypt.

He is the Founding President of CARAVAN, an international peacebuilding NGO that is focused on building bridges through arts between the creeds and cultures of the East and West. The author of several books, his newest title is IN SEARCH OF A PROPHET: A Spiritual Journey with Kahlil Gibran, in which he looks at the all-embracing spirituality of the early 20th century Lebanese poet-artist and mystic, Kahlil Gibran, best known as the author of The Prophet.
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Martin Maudsley – ‘Stories seed more stories’

Martin Maudsley

Martin Maudsley is a professional storyteller based in south-west England. He has worked for the BBC, the National Trust, the Eden Project and the Soil Association, amongst many other organisations. In 2007 he established the Bristol Storytelling Festival, and was its director for seven years. He integrates music and poetry into his work, and draws on traditional tales, legends and myths from all over the world.
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ISF Perspectives

SPECIAL SERIES - EYE ON THE WORLD

ISF speaks with some of the world’s leading travel photographers – including Ed Grazda and Delphine Warin – about their travels and experiences and what makes the world tick. ‘Tradition in the form of continuity, heritage and lineage is the cornerstone of many of my photographs,’ Nick Fleming tells us. ‘I’m motivated to record certain ways of life that in my short career have changed fundamentally and forever.’

Ed Grazda - Where cultures mix

Ed Grazda - Where cultures mix


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Delphine Warin – 'Photography allows me to live more in the moment'

Delphine Warin – 'Photography allows me to live more in the moment'


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Peter de Mulder - 'Photography is a never-ending process of learning'

Peter de Mulder - 'Photography is a never-ending process of learning'


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Nik Fleming - Pictures that tell a story

Nik Fleming - Pictures that tell a story


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ISF Perspectives

ISF RESEARCH PAPERS | MONOGRAPHS

ISF’s latest monographs include Professor Leon Pomp’s lecture on Vico’s Theory of the Causes of Historical Change; former news editor Edward Campbell’s lecture, Some Unusual Aspects of Communication; and author Peter Brent’s paper, The Indian Guru and his Disciple. These were originally published by The Institute for Cultural Research.

ISF RESEARCH PAPERS | MONOGRAPHS

Founded in 1966, The Institute For Cultural Research brought together an eclectic group of individuals – from the sciences, the arts, business, government, and all manner of other disciplines. Established under the leadership of the writer and thinker Idries Shah, ICR considered profound questions facing human society, seeking answers by tackling problems in new ways. Or rather, as Shah insisted – in an ancient way. Such systems were employed routinely by human civilisation, until recent divisions and sub-divisions disrupted well-honed methods of advancement and progression. ICR’s Monographs were written by invitation of the board of trustees – ranging widely in subject from the importance of storytelling to secret societies in West Africa. An extraordinary cornucopia of published work, they form a unique resource in their own right, and are being made available by The Idries Shah Foundation.


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ISF Perspectives

Story Time

ISF Perspectives

In The News

WELL-TEMPERED TONES - A celebration of Sufi sounds...


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Honeyland: Life lessons from Europe's last wild beekeeper


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500 Words 2020 - Live Lesson - A journey through time…

500 Words 2020 Live Lesson


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How to start your own storytelling night


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ISF Perspectives

PRACTICAL PSYCHOLOGY - PODCASTS

We are delighted to share the news that our podcast now has over 100 episodes, which are released on a weekly basis on Thursday mornings at 8am UK time. This weekly podcast features selections from Idries Shah books, as well as original recordings and audio versions of our blog posts. It has been made available by The Idries Shah Foundation, and is voiced by David Ault.