Stress Less:

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There was a madcap article in the New Statesman this week which tried to argue that stress was a hoax dreamed up by the tobacco industry to sell more cigarettes in the 1960s. Leaving aside its very partial use of research to back up its claims, the article also plays suspiciously into the idea that […]

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not-at-homeness and the “They”

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I’ve been thinking a lot about stress lately. Partly because I’m teaching a course about it in London later in the year but also because I’ve been feeling stressed even though I’ve just had (on paper) one of the most stress-free winters on record.

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Colouring-in cats is the opium of the people.

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I was just down in Cardiff to teach and on Friday evening I gave a talk on mindfulness, exploring what it is and what is definitely isn’t. In the Q&A afterwards we got into an interesting discussion about mindful colouring-in books. Glancing at Amazon on the train down to Wales I was unsurprised to see […]

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On freezing time and the light on Seaford Head

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Another sunny Spring day fades away in Newhaven. And I see it: I am happy when the sun is shining and there is daylight but I get edgy when it dims. When I’m in Brazil, I always find it unbearable that the sun drops like a rock at six o’clock every day. No twilight, no […]

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“Os Últimos Dias” and the Vixen of Newhaven

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And the earth will swallow us. But not yet, not yet. Keep on moving, keep producing and possessing. See some old places, visit some new ones. Feel the cold, the heat, fatigue. Stop for a moment; continue. Discover in your movements unknown forces, connections. The pleasure of stretching; the pleasure of crouching, holding still. Pleasure […]

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Urizen & le Train-Train

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I spend most of yesterday having cups of tea and meals with different people, talking about the desire to break free of the humdrum patterns of life and the hypnotic compulsion of ‘to-do’ lists. How to unwind the daily grind – what the French concisely call “le train-train”. It’s only three weeks since I came […]

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KAY RYAN #3

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Words have loyalties to so much we don’t control. Each word we write rights itself according to poles we can’t see; think of magnetic compulsion or an equal stringency. It’s hard for us to imagine how small a part we play in holding up the the tall spires we believe our minds erect. Then North […]

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Kay Ryan #2

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The first fear being drowning, the ship’s first shape was a raft, which was hard to unflatten after that didn’t happen. It’s awkward to have to do one’s planning in extremis in the early years — so hard to hide later: sleekening the hull, making things more gracious KAY RYAN: We’re building the ship as […]

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Kay Ryan #1

Imagine a train-track figure made of sliver over sliver of between-car vision, each slice too brief to add detail or deepen: that could be a hat if it’s a person if it’s a person if it’s a person. Just the same scant information timed to supplant the same scant information. KAY RYAN, Train-Track Figure I […]

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On bodies, bloody flip-flops and Greek Gravel

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I have been reading Matthew Crawford’s brilliant book The World Beyond Your Head which has really inspired me. Like Alva Noë’s Out of Our Heads it comes from a field of embodied neuroscience that is producing some of the most interesting contemporary thinking around consciousness and how it arises. In essence, these writers and researchers […]

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