Friday, 29 March 2013

God is Silent

I previously mentioned the perennial question: ‘Where is God?’. I came across this image sometime ago. Entitled ‘God is Silent’, it might be seen as being in a similar vein. What might an image like this tells us that words cannot about this question?


Easter Saturday - tomorrow - is perhaps the day most associated with God being silent. It is the day during the Easter story that now goes largely unnoticed, situated between the events commemorated and celebrated on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. It is, therefore, the precise day  upon which the question 'Where is God?' should be considered.

(See also: Easter Saturday from last year.)

Saturday, 23 March 2013

A Joke

Did you hear the one about the alcoholic Buddhist and the sound of one glass clinking?

(If you don't get this, it's a play upon the Buddhist koan about the sound of one hand clapping.)

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Pandering to Popularity

I recently came across this quote attributed to Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951):

"Those who compose because they want to please others, and have audience in mind, are not real artists … they are merely more or less skillful entertainers who would renounce composing if they did not find listeners."
Arnold Schoenberg (1946)

(Follow this link for a fuller version - in the final paragraph of p54.)

While Schoenberg was thinking about the writing and performance of music, the chord this quote struck with me was one to do with higher education. Too often, I hear from academics that attracting students is important as it keeps them in a job and how much they are concerned about scoring well in the National Student Survey.
There are lecturers in UK higher education who are more worried about how students will rate them than with ensuring that the subjects they teach are taught to the depth and with the rigour that was once the case. I recently asked a lecturer about the teaching of statistics to science students and was told that the equations for statistical tests were no longer included as there had been students in the past who had not liked them.

Monday, 11 March 2013


I heard the following comment on the radio recently:

"Nobody on their deathbed ever said, 'I wish I had spent more time at the office'."

This was not the first time that I had heard this. However, this time it strongly reminded me of a time management video I watched many years ago. One of the few 'take-home-messages' I still remember from that video is that of the concept of the 'WishIHad'. The presenter asked his audience to think ahead to their deathbeds and look back over their lives and list the things that they might be wishing that they had done: things about which they might say 'I wish I had ...'. The point being, of course, to make that list now - rather than when it is too late - and to act upon it.

That being the case, perhaps the first thing one might do is turn the comment I heard on the radio around and say 'I wish I had spent less time at the office' and act upon that.

(As I write this, I am spending a day away from the office. After all, I've got things to do and I want to get them done - and get them done well!)

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Spine Poetry

I entered a poetry competition - of sorts - a few months ago. The idea was to select a few books and lay them on top of each other to produce something poetic.

These were my attempts.

I did not win. However, I hope they provoke a thought or two.