Sunday, 29 May 2016

1984 and after

In George Orwell's novel 1984, people were under constant surveillance. There was no privacy. Their inner thoughts and motivations were even open to scrutiny. Now this surveillance has become widespread, many people welcome it as a way of preventing crime or catching criminals. This is nowhere more evident than on television were in crime series CCTV is often key to solving the crime. If ever there was cause for suggesting a conspiracy theory (here a collusion between the authorities and the TV companies), this must be one.

Post-1984 (year and novel), people are also choosing to expose themselves in ways that Orwell could never have envisaged through social media etc. Even blogs! Many have not only embraced what Orwell considered controlling intrusion, they crave it.
Suggestion: Next time you see a celebrity, ignore them and see how quickly they notice that you are not intruding upon them and they cannot complain about this.

Monday, 23 May 2016

People on buses

I have noticed that after 9.00 am, there is more conversation to be heard on buses than before. Before 9.00 am people more often than not, keep themselves to themselves by reading, listening to music, checking their 'phones or generally doing nothing but look out of the window. After 9 am, the people who travel do so more by choice than having to get to work on time - they are in freer and choose to avoid the rush to work. Also, they are often older people with bus passes. I have also noticed that as people get older, they are more likely to talk to people they don't know. It's a different world on the bus either side of 9.00 am.


Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Epictetus - 14

From: The Golden Sayings of Epictetus (translated by Hastings Crossley) - from Project Gutenberg.

Reflect that the chief source of all evils to Man, and of baseness and cowardice, is not death, but the fear of death.
Against this fear then, I pray you, harden yourself; to this let all your reasonings, your exercises, your reading tend. Then shall you know that thus alone are men set free.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016


There is the material world and what has been described as the world of the mind. On first impressions, the difference between the two is probably obvious but what is the difference in those that inhabit these worlds? And how easy is it for these inhabitants to move from one world to the other?

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Does it follow...

…that universities are where the deepest thinking and learning takes place?

There are still people who regret never having gone to university or failing to complete a degree course. I was reminded of such a person this week. He had tried three times to get a degree and, for one reason or another, had been unable to complete the course. Now aged 70, should an intelligent and very interesting man, successful in variety of other ways, still have regrets?

The truth is that a lot of shallow and mundane thinking now goes on in universities around Britain - and I am sure all around the world, too. Deep thinking and learning goes on where deep thinking and learning goes on; it is not confined to a particular place or type of institution. Yes, there are universities where very deep thinking has and will continue to take place. It is just that being called a university doesn't guarantee that it does, has or even that it ever will. And it can be done by those outside such places.