To A Friend

I saw a film on TV or Netflix, I forget which. It recounts how U.S. Congressman Charlie Wilson got Congress to approve funds so the Afghan mujahideen could fight the Soviets in the Soviet–Afghan War. Wilson worked with CIA operative Gust Avrakotos, who used the money to get weapons to the mujahideen and organise and … Read more

Whither Gaia

Some people talk about Gaia – about the Earth as a self-sustaining entity. But as a basis for believing that man is an essential part of the picture – well, that seems a wonky concept to me. Without a desired outcome other than a stable system – any planetary life is as good as another … Read more

Distinguish Your Painters

Jean-François Millet and John Everett Millais John Everett Millais (1829 – 1896 ) was an English Pre-Raphaelite painter (one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood) who painted colourful (too colourful?) paintings – mostly of people. His most famous painting is probably Ophelia, lying back with her arms surrendering to the current. Jean-François Millet (1814 … Read more

Contentment Borne Of Insecurity

This love of quality and solidity in possessions is borne of the insecurity that comes from the knowledge that things are impermanent. Getting comfortable with the knowledge of the end of things enables enjoyment of things without fear. It makes me think of Japanese swords and small art objects such as netsuke and how that … Read more

A Sense Of Awe

All scientists working at the frontiers of science are adventurers. They stand before this huge unexplained phenomenon and the task is daunting. It is daunting not least because they simply do not understand the extent of it. So they set to work. They nibble, gnaw, and bite at the corner of it until they’ve got … Read more