It’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…)
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…)
I’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…)
Seems there is always more to say. I was reminded of this by (among other things) the varied and valued responses to my last post, which between them show that you don’t have to look far to find an alternative perspective. It’s time to try one, here.
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…)
In 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…)
It’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…)
If only there were a ten-point plan that would safely navigate Palestine and Israel out of the eye of the storm – for good. Such a thing seems like a far-fetched dream, as the silence of a thousand funerals hangs over Palestine and the pall of grief and despair drifts towards its belligerent neighbour; as a thousand brows furrow their restrained anxiety around the offices of governments and NGOs worldwide and talks of a ceasefire brush the charred remains of shattered lives under the carpet.
But dreams, as we know, can come true. (more…)
Does anyone else feel like asking the powers that be: “Excuse me, what exactly is going on? Where do you think you are taking us? Are you all completely out of your minds?
“Why else would you pretend not to notice that our civilization is systematically killing life on Earth?”
It’s astonishing that things can get this bad and still be largely sidestepped by mainstream media and governments. And, for some reason, it’s still not ‘the done thing’ to bring it up seriously in conversation. Why? We’d hardly hold back out of deference if a surgeon mentioned she would be whipping out one of our healthy kidneys just to improve the hospital’s transplant figures. It’s mind-boggling that we button our collective lips while the capitalist juggernaut mows down the planet’s life support system – just to prop up GDP.
What a very strange state of suspended animation this is. (more…)
“On colonial frontiers, where different and often rival ways of living meet, the underlying elements of our society become more clearly visible … you can see certain kinds of economic exploitation, aggressive greed, missionary zeal, and racism. All these are disclosed at the edge. What they disclose, of course, is not the edge but the nature of the centre.”
From the Open Democracy interview with anthropologist Hugh Brody.
The UN climate summit in Poznan, Poland has ended with small signs of progress but little genuine ambition for serious change. Its delegates could learn a thing or two from cultures that have been plugged in to natural cycles for thousands of years, who are still so connected that they can tell us what’s changing as fast as the science can, and who, because of where they live, are suffering the worst effects the earliest. Yet our own culture remains determined to treat them with disdain. (more…)