On the Day of the Dead

Life is wasted on the living. Douglas Adams, The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the \Galaxy This post appears on the first of November: All Saints’ Day, also known as All Hallows (hence Hallowe’en for the previous evening). In Celtic tradition it is Samhain, the mid-point between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice. In Latin countriesContinue reading “On the Day of the Dead”

On sanity

Mens sana in corpore sano.(A healthy mind in a healthy body.) Juvenal, Satires, X You need to be quite careful when quoting Roman satirists. My old school, for instance, had a motto taken from the poet Martial: “Quas dederis solas semper habebis opes” – “Only those riches you have given [to others] will be yoursContinue reading “On sanity”

On the end of a chapter

I know nothing stays the sameBut if you’re willing to play the gameIt’s coming around again Carly sIMON, cOMING aROUND aGAIN Unless you have been living under a rock, and goodness knows I do my best to do so, you will have heard of the recent demise of Queen Elizabeth II. Or, if you’re Scottish,Continue reading “On the end of a chapter”

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”

On excess

Too much of a good thing is wonderful. Mae West Context is a wonderful thing. Mae West was speaking in the context of the Hays Code, Prohibition, and the general backlash against freedom of expression of all kinds, but especially those involving sex, alcohol and recreational drugs. It was in the same context that H.Continue reading “On excess”

On processed food

“Eating is an agricultural act,” as Wendell Berry famously said. It is also an ecological act, and a political act, too. Though much has been done to obscure this simple fact, how and what we eat determines to a great extent the use we make of the world – and what is to become ofContinue reading “On processed food”

On taking the first step

Houston, we have a problem. Jim Lovell (attr.) It is a truism, although nonetheless true, that the first step towards dealing with a problem is acknowledging that it exists. We know this because a very large fraction of adults in the industrialised world are either in an addiction programme of some sort, have been inContinue reading “On taking the first step”

On disagreement

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. S.G. Tallentyre, The Friends of Voltaire Disagreements have been with us for as long as people have had opinions, which is to say for as long as there have been people. What is interesting about this historicalContinue reading “On disagreement”

On denial

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed Everybody knows that the war is over Everybody knows the good guys lost Everybody knows the fight was fixed The poor stay poor, the rich get rich That’s how it goes Everybody knows Leonard Cohen, “Everybody knows” There is rarely much pointContinue reading “On denial”