Archives

Beyond Small Talk

Seen for what it is, small talk is an imprisonment of false bonhomie and an utter failure of communication. But, seen for what it could be, small talk can be an opportunity to step beyond the banal and everyday into the hidden terrain of another’s world. But such an imperative can be intimidating, and can […]

Read More

Meaningful Work

If you had asked a serf 400 years ago if they found their work fulfilling, they would have looked at you in confusion; the necessity of work was absolute, the type of work was non-negotiable, and toil was considered a part of the process; a type of thinking which backgrounded Max Weber’s The Protestant Ethic […]

Read More

A Blank Page

A blank page can be for writers (including yours truly), both paralysing and debilitating. Signalling a potential waiting to be realised, it is likewise unlimited potential, potential without direction; any decision taken closes down others which could have been made in its stead. To the extent that a blank page signals absolute freedom, it likewise […]

Read More

You’re Not Normal

Looking in the mirror, you probably say to yourself in particularly self-hating moments that you aren’t normal. Everyone else seems able to hold down a job, maintain emotional equilibrium, and manage healthy relationships; it is you, and you alone, who are singularly cursed to abnormality. If only you could change, be different, be normal… But, […]

Read More

Measure

To the Ancient Greeks, one of the essentials of the good life was keeping everything in proper measure. As a part of this, Greek tragedies portrayed man’s suffering as a result of him going beyond the proper measure of things. So did Shakespeare. Shakespeare’s noble vice was a quality in his protagonists (Othello, Romeo, Macbeth, […]

Read More

Wintering & the Turning of the Seasons of Our Lives

‘We are in the habit of imagining our lives to be linear’ writes Katherine May in her work Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times. We imagine ‘our lives to be a long march from birth to death in which we amass our powers, only to surrender them again, all the while […]

Read More

Why We Are Mean To Those We Care About

We should be nicer to those we care most about than a complete stranger. After all, these are the people who we have made an implicit promise to embrace and care for. Yet, oddly enough, this isn’t always the case. In fact, we inflict far greater malevolence, insult, and injury to those we care about […]

Read More

Friendship and Giving Good Advice

Good advice is a gift. Like any gift, it isn’t about you, but the other person. Here, this means that what matters is what helps your partner in conversation, and not your desire to be seen as wise. Tied up in this is an important recognition: good advice shouldn’t involve telling someone what to do […]

Read More

Mobius as Metaphor: Strength & Weakness

The Mobius strip is a surface with one continuous side and one boundary. It folds in on itself with its opposite poles revealing themselves as the same side. It isn’t like a coin, which has two sides. On a coin, they really are opposites of one piece, but on a Mobius strip, they are one […]

Read More

Staring Out Of The Window

Nobody says “I had a lovely day; the high point was staring out the window”. But, maybe they should. ‘Not everything which cannot be deemed useful is useless’ wrote Josef Pieper. For while science, accounting, exercising and eating are all useful, others, such as art, music, and quiet contemplation, while being ostensibly ‘useless’, perform an […]

Read More