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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Spirituality: do’s and don’ts

I have written elsewhere a bit about whether spirituality is an idea with meaning, for those of us who claim to be post-God. I usually say it is. Here's a word or two more about what it might look like and how one might head toward it... Read more...

Published

19 May 2014

BBC R4 Sunday show: faith and business ethics,

I contributed to a pre-recorded "package" for BBC Radio 4's Sunday programme on an inter-faith initiative to produce (actually to update) a code of business ethics. This is the sort of thing I mulled-over as I prepared... Read more...

Published

15 May 2014

Senna: F1’s fast-master of the Post Modern

I find, a bit late, that I like a great deal about Formula One, and am slowly learning about some of its characters. I'm afraid I knew nothing about Ayrton Senna, whose death 20 years ago is being marked today, until I read various online posts about him just now. One mini-essay revealed Senna to be a master of the Post Modern.... Read more...

Published

01 May 2014

RDN on Michael J Sandel

I meant ages ago to write a note about Michael J Sandel's What Money Can't Buy. I read it with mounting irritation and wanted just to mark people's cards as best I could as to what to watch out for when they come to it.... Read more...

Published

01 May 2014

Loving the fake (#2 of 2): Human zoos

I love the "problem" of tourism and - most sharply - the problem of the "human zoo". Almost all our travel, at least where it involves looking at people rather than landscape or animals, has a dimension of anthropological voyeurism. Much of it is a matter of play-acting amongst imagined peasantries or primitives. This has now reached new heights of self-consciousness, and is blissfully funny as well as serious.... Read more...

Published

24 April 2014

Loving the fake (#1 of 2): Digital rip-offs

I love the idea of fake art in the age of digital rip-offs. To put it in grander terms, I love the "issue" of conservation - facsimile, and reproduction, actually - in an age of mass culture and digitalisation. (In my next blog, I want to riff in rather the same way about the modern issue of tourism and anthropology, flowing from Human Zoo tourism.) We have entered a wonderful time in which re-envisioning, for instance, Tutankhamun, Seti I and and Piranesi fairly make the mind explode with potential. I explore some of this below the fold: Read more...

Published

24 April 2014

RDN and Richard Mabey

Richard Mabey writes in the Slightly Foxed Quarterly (Issue 41, Spring 2014) about Vole, the pioneering environmental magazine which Richard Boston started and edited in the 1970s (the latter, I also did, much less well, for its last few issues). I get a bit of a mention.... Read more...

Published

19 April 2014

Rory Stewart’s middling account of the Middleland

Rory Stewart, Tory MP for Penrith and the Border and previously a diplomat in some chronic "borderlands" (ex-Yugoslavia and Afghanistan) has given us a TV (and, I gather, a book) account of his love of what he calls the Middleland, between England and Scotland, which he now represents. It's exhilarating stuff, but is it tosh.....? Read more...

Published

16 April 2014

On Strathcarron on Twain on the Levant

As part of my serendipitous reading saga, I am actively pursuing what might be called Levant studies, not least with the goal of a visit to Israel. I am hoovering up useful travel and history commentaries on the region, and am hugely glad to have come across the remarkable Ian Strathcarron's valuable account of a journey he made in 2011 to recreate a journey made to The Holy Land by Mark Twain in 1867. Read more...

Published

04 April 2014

“Scrap the BBC!” Mk II

The BBC is likely to become very small, or even disappear, if not paying the TV Licence fee becomes a civil offence (is decriminalised, in the jargon). What an extraordinary turn-up for those of us who thought the BBC an absurdity but also thought that its dismemberment would probably have to wait a generation. That is roughly where I was when I wrote "Scrap the BBC!" in 2006. Here is how things might turn out.... Read more...

Published

24 March 2014
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