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Gathered here are thoughts on literature, technology, education, religion, culture and anything else that interests me. I hope you enjoy your stay.

Please note, comments are (currently) unmoderated.

Books, Virtual Reality, Imagination and the Inner Eye

The bookshop Waterstones tweeted a joke yesterday in which Mark Zuckerberg went into their shop on Oxford Street: ‘What’s this?’ he said, holding up a book. ‘It’s a book,’ I replied. He looked at it for five minutes before asking what it does. ‘Well,’ I said. ‘You look at it and it kind of shows [...]

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Life, Writing and Being Useless

(soundtrack to this post: ‘Wasting My Young Years‘ by London Grammar) Posts here have been a little thin on the ground, mostly due to the fact that I’ve been work very hard on the manuscript for a novel – more news of which I hope one day to be able to share, but I’ll shut [...]

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The Empathetic Civilisation | Dirty Heaven [3]

I’ve been thinking about Jeremy Rifkin’s talk on ‘The Empathetic Civilisation’ which he gave at the RSA last year. It sparked my interest because of this quote: “There is no empathy in heaven, because there is no mortality. There is no empathy in utopia, because there is no suffering.” This made think a little about [...]

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Befriending Hitler… Befriending a Sociopathic God

In the previous post we considered the adage that ‘an enemy is simply a friend whose story I have not yet heard.’ In his book First As Tragedy, Then As Farce, Zizek critiques this, using the example of Hitler, questioning whether it would be right to befriend him: “Is one then also ready to affirm [...]

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Advent[ures] in #Incarnation [2] | ‘The Mysteries of the Humans are Mysteries to the Humans Themselves’

The first window on the calendar opens. The scene begins… As I wrote in the previous post, one of the fascinating things about the Incarnation is that it stands as an actual interruption, a marked moment of time with a before and after. Nothing was the same before, and nothing will be the same again. [...]

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#Outrospection | The Art of Living | Radical Social Change

One of the nice things I’m involved in is helping put together the Greenbelt talks programme, which means I’m always on the look out for good thinkers with good things to say. Last year I came across an organisation called The School of Life, which aims to help people engage in practical philosophy and playful [...]

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Video Gaming, Novels and the lack of Psychological Empathy

Just watched Charlie Brooker’s Gameswipe – a sideways history of video games. It’s hilarious, if rather pointless, but does brilliantly bemoan the lack of high-quality narrative in most games. It reminded my of a fantastic piece on video games in the ever-fabulous Believer Magazine. In it, video game journalist Heather Chaplin notes: ‘Video games are [...]

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Empathy: Seeing Myself as The Other Sees Me [3]

Empathy [1] |  Empathy [2] In the previous two posts I’ve been trying to get to grips with the roots of empathy with the other, and the location of our fears of engaging the other. I’ve radically summarised Levinas and Zizek by saying that the former would locate our fears in the enigma of the [...]

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Empathy: Seeing Myself as The Other Sees Me [2]

I’m interested in this short series in trying to reflect on the best ground for our attempts to empathise with ‘the other.’ In the first post I ended by suggesting that it would be fruitful to consider where our fears of engaging the other lie. So here we go: It seems to me that Levinas [...]

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Empathy: Seeing Myself as The Other Sees Me [1]

One of the themes I have been wrestling with in the new writing I am doing (firm news on that soon, I hope) is around the subject of empathy for ‘the other.’ Philosophical lines appear to have been drawn between thinkers like Levinas on the one hand, and Hegel/Zizek/Lacan on the other. I personally felt [...]

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