On the approach of winter

For the night is dark and full of terrors. George R.R. Martin, A Clash of Kings I often use this blog to point out the turning-points of the cycle of the year. Here in the northern hemisphere, we are approaching the autumn equinox, the point when the nights start to be longer than the daysContinue reading “On the approach of winter”

On population

Malthus has been buried many times, and Malthusian scarcity with him. But as Garrett Hardin remarked, anyone who has to be reburied so often cannot be entirely dead. Herman E. Daly, Steady-State Economics: The Economics of Biophysical Equilibrium and Moral Growth (1991) There are several canned responses that always seem to come up whenever theContinue reading “On population”

On demagogues

The lovely dullards again and againInspiring their bitter ambitious men. W. H, Auden, “Danse Macabre” Presumably due to some administrative lapse many years ago, I received the education of a gentleman, which included a study of the classical languages. (I suppose some unfortunate gentleman of the same name was sent to a Secondary Modern toContinue reading “On demagogues”

On the spectacularly obvious

We have to shift our attitude of ownership of nature to relationship with nature. The moment you change from ownership to relationship, you create a sense of the sacred. Satish KUmar Well, I try quite hard not to respond to all the examples of head-banging idiocy I see in the press, because life is shortContinue reading “On the spectacularly obvious”

On domestication

The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which. George Orwell, Animal Farm If you read any history of the beginnings of agriculture – and if you haven’t yet, I recommend that you do; ColinContinue reading “On domestication”

On borders

Nations, like individuals, tell stories in order to understand what they are, where they come from, and what they want to be. National narratives, like personal ones, are prone to sentimentality, grievance, pride, shame, self-blindness. There is never just one—they compete and constantly change. The most durable narratives are not the ones that stand upContinue reading “On borders”

On accountability

It is wrong and immoral to seek to escape the consequences of one’s acts. Mahatma Gandhi I would go further than the Mahatma: it is impossible to escape the consequences of one’s acts. But this is is of course not the received wisdom amongst our elites. Of course one can escape the consequences of one’sContinue reading “On accountability”

On political authority

There are no governors anywhere. Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson, The Illuminatus! Trilogy We live in an age of problems, or more precisely, of predicaments: that is to say, issues that have no actual solutions, and which can at best be mitigated. To a greater or lesser extent, this has always been so forContinue reading “On political authority”

On being disconnected from reality

Take a holiday from reality whenever you like, and come back without so much as a headache or a mythology. Aldous Huxley, Brave New World One of the things that makes human beings as adaptable as they are – and therefore so numerous and widespread – is our ability to ignore inconvenient facts. When IContinue reading “On being disconnected from reality”