The big question

Language patterns, the media and cultural re-storying

newspaper-664513_1280It’s fashionable these days to summon the concept of narrative for effecting change, whether it’s to evoke brand loyalty, to create demand for some product or, on a rather more substantive scale, to persuade humans to live more peaceably on the planet. I’d personally prefer to see its mysterious power deployed in pursuit of a lot more of the latter and a lot less of the former two — if this power actually exists. (more…)

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WANTED. Planet in crisis seeks leaders up to the job

V leadership-transition

When the essence of leadership tends in the direction of doing injury and inflicting harm, it is a collapse of leadership, for which we do not have a name. – Stephen C Rose, in the introduction to his book: The Coming Collapse of Leadership.

Why is it that slow food, slow money and slow travel are so appealing, but that there’s nothing quite as dull as a slow catastrophe?

Perhaps it’s because when you slow down food, money and travel, it allows you to more fully savour the genuine rich pleasures to be had in the senses and in the moment.

Whereas if you slow down a catastrophe, that doesn’t work at all, because catastrophes are meant to be enjoyed at pace. (more…)

More than my job’s worth

Cublicle lifeI’ve been thinking about jobs lately. For a while I even thought I should try to get one, freelance writing work having dwindled so dramatically. Admittedly, opportunities to work as a newsletter editor abound. Each that I have seen, however, pays precisely nothing. How droll, that when I am at last presented with an opportunity to use the longest word in the English dictionary, it is to describe the trade to which I have devoted half my working life, in conceding that the job of editor has succumbed to floccinaucinihilipilification.

But, enough levity. (more…)

Divided and resolved: a personal account

This is a personal entry. Which is not to say that the previous posts here weren’t — it’s just that most of VIVID’s analytical pieces are still tinged with the affectations of my professional training as a journalist. In full force, these produce the high-minded style that’s employed in mainstream news formats to create the illusion of objective authority, but that in fact serves to cover up inadequate investigation, the regurgitation of state or corporate propaganda and the mindless reinforcement of destructive social behaviours in the name of advertising profit. (more…)

Lifting depression – a natural response to an unnatural world

Caged lemursIn a recent newspaper article, Martin Amis wrote of the recently departed J G Ballard: ‘He kept asking: what effect does the modern setting have on our psyches – the modern sculpture of the highways, the airport architecture, the culture of the shopping mall, pornography and technology? The answer to that question is a perversity that takes various mental forms, all of them extreme.’ (more…)

Science: shining beacon or siren on the rocks?

CTIO at sunset, (c) NOAO/AURA/NSFIt’s that time again: time for governments to pump up science as panacea to world ills, for ministers to commission national surveys to discover why young people won’t study it (and most people still don’t get excited about it) and for public-engagement experts to work out new strategies for getting us to see the light. (more…)