Category Archives: Stuff

The success of Jesus and Socrates

Jesus and Socrates are standard examples of being counter-cultural, of teaching the unpalatable, of advocating unacceptable behaviour, of giving explanations which oppose those of their societies: “The Sabbath was made man, not man for the Sabbath”, “pray for those who … Continue reading

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I Believe in Father Christmas

The story goes that some Japanese businessmen wanted to decorate their shopping centre for the Christmas season, so they sent researchers to the UK to get some ideas. Some time later the shopping centre opened with great razzmatazz, and the … Continue reading

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Rowan the wizard

Rowan Williams is how we imagine Pozzo’s Lucky in the days when he used to delight his master with his ‘thinking’ (Waiting for Godot, Act One:) He even used to think very prettily once, I could listen to him for … Continue reading

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19th-century Paris and the Net

Strange the way we misinterpret. An essay by Morozov in the New York Times (discussed by John Naughton in the Observer, 120212) compares (by the by, as far as this post is concerned) the net to 19th-century Paris: the labyrinthine … Continue reading

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Forgiveness

Mark 11.12-26 And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry: And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, … Continue reading

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Guilt

No one knows the origin of the Old English word “gylt” (“a crime”), but by the late 17th century it had developed its modern meaning of “a sense of having done wrong”, rather than just the “doing wrong” in the … Continue reading

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A Riddle

Robert Herrick: “By day we live as one; by night we’re hurled, In dreams, each one, into a several world.” So Herrick believes, or poetically asserts, that our dream lives are particularly and absolutely individual, that, despite the presence, in … Continue reading

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Superstition and Nihilism

Superstition implies a belief that the physical world has meaning: something knows you chose not to carry a brolly, and decided for that reason to make it rain. The levers of the cosmos respond to the light touch of your … Continue reading

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The Sanctity of Life

Christians talk about life being sacred, yet apply this with an inconsistency that is at once strange and immoral. For they concentrate their attention on areas where the lives they are protecting are of the least value, where the loss … Continue reading

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