Mind & body.

I am interested in the idea and practice of spirituality: but it may all be nonsense, and I may be venially corporeal. This category is a bit of a catch-all for posts on subjects ranging from the intellectual (I should be so lucky), to the spiritual (likewise) via the psychological and the creative.

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Chris Martin on Trump (Or: Fascism, liberalism and karma)

Chris Martin of Cold Play was spot-on when he burst on to Graham Norton's set and described the karmic moment represented by Donald Trump's success in being elected President of the United States. Mr Martin said, in terms, that Trump expressed the feelings of millions of people, and that doing so is a refreshing and crucial part of democracy. Dead right. Read more...

Published

13 November 2016

Adolescent brain, liminality and the Universe

There is an ocean of interesting material on the development of the adolescent brain. Most of it concentrates on why teenagers are gloomy, risk-taking, drug-prone, drug-susceptible and hard to teach. I want to ask whether anyone has spotted research or discussion on a more positive or at least very interesting aspect to adolescent liminality. Read more...

Published

27 June 2016

The Referendum meta-debate

The EU Referendum debate is widely thought to have been information-light and anger-heavy. This is true enough, but in ways which might surprise. Here is a sketch of how the argument might be analysed. I am afraid it is a little personal, at least in the first para or two. Read more...

Published

22 June 2016

Jo Cox’s legacy to democracy

Amongst all the things which Jo Cox achieved and represented in life, in death she may produce a further great service. It would be a fitting memorial or tribute to this remarkable person that we start to reverse the cynicism with which the electorate, media and entertainment industry regard politicians. Read more...

Published

18 June 2016

The End is Nigh (not, probably): BBC TBQ

The BBC's The Big Questions asked a panel of "experts", and its audience, whether "the end is nigh". I responded that it almost certainly is not. Indeed, I said, things are going rather well and humans don't need huge reforms of their psyche - but many long for better politics and economics to come their way. Read more...

Published

12 June 2016

The Battle of Jutland – getting the history right

This is an account of some issues surrounding the historiography of the Battle Jutland, including a critique of a BBC documentary on this enormous naval engagement. It refers especially to two important written sources dated 1921 (and 1986) and 1998. Read more...

Published

09 June 2016

The Classics and modernity (#1)

This is a pair of essays on the theme of the Classics and their continuing influence. It's in two parts: #1 The Classics and Us (the reverberations of the Classical world on our civilisation) and #2 The Classics and Me (the reverberations of the Classical world on me much more personally). So this is #1... Read more...

Published

26 April 2016

The Classics and modernity (#2)

This is a pair of essays on the theme of the Classics and their continuing influence. It's in two parts: #1 The Classics and Us (the reverberations of the Classical world on our civilisation) and #2 The Classics and Me (the reverberations of the Classical world on me much more personally). So this is #2... Read more...

Published

26 April 2016

The UK economy and the welfare state

For an outing on the BBC 1 Big Questions ethics show, I pulled together some research on whether Britain was a fair society. My general view is that one should worry about the poor, on the assumption that they are unhappy because of poverty and need help. It is not a dead cert that people in need of help can be given it, of course. Moreover, it may well not matter whether (or even how much) a country is unequal. Nor is the amount of welfare spending by any means a perfect indicator of whether a country is a good place for either rich or poor to live. Other posts have discussed those themes. (Try an in-site search for "inequality".)  This one is intended to capture a picture of where the UK is compared with its neighbours, and - even more important - with other broadly comparable countries, in matters of wealth, welfare spending and educational outcomes. Read more...

Published

02 April 2016
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