When we use ‘modern’ to describe something, it’s
usually a positive. We are very appreciative and even a
little smug about the miracles of modern science, the
benefits of modern technology, and even the superiority of
modern viewpoints. But what if, in speeding towards...
All subjects have their specialised vocabularies; a set of
words that initially sound unusual, even a touch
frightening, but that can also prove oddly beautiful and
To their enemies, key words are mere jargon, but jargon has
its advantages: it allows us swiftly to...
We expect – of course – for it to be the other way
around: we teaching them. But they have a host of important
lessons for us too, if we dare to pay close enough
*1. We’re dependent creatures*
It’s easy to play it...
August is perfect for sitting outside at the Café de Zaak
in the Korte Minrebroederstraat. The decent beers on tap,
plus a generous bring-your-own-meal policy make this one of
the nicest cafes in town.
If one’s honest, there are really some very intriguing
On the first day, it was difficult. You went into the corner
shop just off the main Motomachi shopping street to buy a
prepaid mobile card. You pointed at your phone, you
pretended to make a call. It was useless. Mr Nishimura
There’s a belief that philosophy, when properly done,
should sound dense, forbidding, a little confusing, as if it
might have been awkwardly translated from the German. But at
the dawn of the modern age lived a French philosopher who
trusted in a very different...
Melanie Klein (1882-1960) was a highly creative and original
Viennese Jewish psychoanalyst who discovered the work of
Freud at the age of 26 and devoted her life to enriching and
nuancing it in intriguing and valuable ways. She is perhaps
best remembered today for...
How do you build a better world? There are so many
well-known, urgent places you might start: malaria, carbon
emissions, tax evasion, the drug trade, soil erosion, water
Donald Winnicott deserves his place in history because of
the dramatic simplicity of his approach. He...
We’re used to the idea that a year should be punctuated by
a sequence of special public days: Christmas, Mother’s
Day, Father’s Day, some kind of national day, May Day, the
August Bank holiday etc.
But we’re not – collectively – very ambitious about
Modern societies are deeply invested in the idea of big,
glamorous weddings. We have evolved highly detailed
collective ideas about what a proper wedding is supposed to
be like, down to the specialised floral arrangements, seat
covers, presents for bridesmaids and the correct order...
Anyone we could marry would, of course, be a little wrong
for us. It is wise to be appropriately pessimistic here.
Perfection is not on the cards. Unhappiness is a constant.
Nevertheless, one encounters some couples of such primal,
grinding mismatch, such deep-seated incompatibility,...