There’s room for everyone in this world – Pete’s Dragon

26 09 2015

When the stranger in our midst appeals to us, we must not repeat the sins and the errors of the past. We must resolve now to live as nobly and as justly as possible, as we educate new generations not to turn their back on our “neighbours” and everything around us. Building a nation calls us to recognise that we must constantly relate to others, rejecting a mindset of hostility in order to adopt one of reciprocal subsidiarity, in a constant effort to do our best. I am confident that we can do this.  – Pope Francis

Man should not consider his material possession his own, but as common to all, so as to share them without hesitation when others are in need. – Thomas Aquinas

Imagination: in part? no, in whole

7 07 2015

“If (man) thinks of the totality as constituted of independent fragments, then that is how his mind will tend to operate, but if he can include everything coherently and harmoniously in an overall whole that is undivided, unbroken, and without a border then his mind will tend to move in a similar way, and from this will flow an orderly action within the whole.” – D. Bohm, Wholeness and the Implicate Order

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Economics: Greek disburdenment

3 07 2015

Dear Solon,

Friend and poet, to where have you disappeared?

Please rise from wherever you are. We the Greeks, and the whole of Europe, are at a crossroads; we so desperately need you to listen and translate messages from the Oracle.

Is there no pupil of yours capable of immediate travel to Delphi? This is of utmost urgency.

We need you to write us a new poem.

Please can you help us to better understand what you meant when you asked us Athenians to “take the mid-seat, and be the vessel’s guide”?

Because things have come full cycle you see, once again the cycles of economic and political deadlock weigh heavily upon us all.

And it is for Greece as it is for the whole of Europe. Perhaps the whole of the West.

We are once again questioning our ideals around economic growth and prosperity. Questioning whether democracy may constrain and destabilise our national–our continental, our global–stability.

Is it true that the original meaning of the word demokratia was coined by aristocratic members of the Greek public – the rich elite who did not like being outvoted by the common people? Did demokratia originally mean ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’? I do remember that Plato warned us about the economic consequences of democracy–that “democratic leaders would rob the rich, keep as much of the proceeds for themselves and then distribute the rest to the people.”

Although we celebrate democracy today, and over half the world’s population live in a democracy, our modern governments continue to maintain complete control of our economy. The political elite, despite being elected by the masses, remains dominated by an aristocracy of birth. Even in America, we bear witness to political positions of the highest offices, kept within family blood lines, even shared among spouses.

Do you recon John Adams was right when he told us to remember that “democracy never lasts long”? “It soon wastes,” he said “exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. It is in vain to say that democracy is less vain, less proud, less selfish, less ambitious, or less avaricious than aristocracy or monarchy. It is not true, in fact, and nowhere appears in history. Those passions are the same in all men, under all forms of simple government, and when unchecked, produce the same effects of fraud, violence, and cruelty. When clear prospects are opened before vanity, pride, avarice, or ambition, for their easy gratification, it is hard for the most considerate philosophers and the most conscientious moralists to resist the temptation.”

You may be surprised, but Greece today is not so radically different from your time. There is a loss of confidence in all our institutions–the rich, the poor, the middle, have all lost confidence in the formal structures that are meant to sustain us. The eupatridae (some are simply disguised as others) continue to monopolize government and own the best land; poor farmers continue living in debt; the middle classes of middling farmers, merchants and artists remain excluded and resentful of government. The lack of trust in our political leaders has cast a terrible spell of doubt that leaves us unable to depend upon the institutions we once so desperately believed in. This lack of trust means that despite the passing of so much time, we never corrected our tax-collection system.

What is worse, and most pressing at this precise moment, is that our relations with neighbouring countries are growing sour. As it was in the past, the major neighbouring powers continued to have a strategic interest in ensuring Greece’s stability. Although we have continued to be capital-poor and import-dependent, although we have been unable to rid ourselves of a political culture of patronage, our neighbours have insisted in helping us build up our economy. Build up to what? you might wonder. I too wonder. You would be shocked to learn that we have long since forfeited our fiscal sovereignty to external creditors. Our monetary policy is in the hands of the Germans not the Greeks. At least at the moment.

debt. or to use your words: disburdenment.
i so often wonder how much ideas are worth.
the value of ideas and ideals
monarchy, tyranny, oligarchy democracy:
all borrowed from the Greeks.

Perhaps you would not be surprised, but creating and collecting debt remains good business the world over. Oh, I do remember dear Solon, your first public measure–the enactment for existing debts to be remitted. This act of humanity, and to the augmentation of measures and the purchasing power of money, relieved the poor not by a cancelling of debts, but by a reduction of the interest upon them.

Currency. Do you remember how you made the mina to consist of a hundred drachmas, which before had contained only seventy-three? I wonder if something like that is possible today. The Euro is our modern-day, shared currency, used as mechanism to maintain “stable” economic unity across Europe and grow (“together”). Member states (there are 19 of us) are allowed to issue euro coins, but the amount must be authorised by what we call the ECB beforehand.

Along with a number of other nation states, our most recent debt crisis began in 2009. We Greeks stopped hiding it and came clean about the extent of our indebtedness and openly communicated the imminent danger of a Greek sovereign default.

The future of Greece now rests in the hands in democracy–demokratia.

Dear poet, please shine your wisdom upon us, help us be the vessels guide.

εν αναμονή συμβουλή σας



Mind vs Body: beauty not perfection

1 07 2015

Walk No.30 – Still striving to adopt a growth mindset

All I need is to adopt a growth mindset I tell myself.

I’ve completed 30 walks since I first started preparing for my big hike across Scotland–my hike toward BIG CHANGE. Over the last 6 weeks I’ve walked around 300km of London streets in my boots.

While I’m slightly more confident about hiking the first 70km over 2 days, the thought of having to push my aching body up 1,344 metres on the 3rd day to the top of Ben Nevis makes me physically ill with anxiety.

For comfort I try to remember back to my days as a dancer when my feet looked something like this:


Physical states influence mental states. Mental states influence physical states. Not sure why philosophers continue to argue over which statement is true. They are both so very true.

When i train, my mind and body are continuously in dialogue. The dialogue first begins over the issue of boredom: My mind feels it is wasting time–if only I could be putting my mind towards something more productive than walking.

Then I begin to feel pain in my thighs, in my lower back, in the sore soles of my feet. I try to distract my mind away from thinking about my body by solving equations in my head. This only lasts so long before my focus returns to my body. I become conscious of my wobbly knees and the cramp in my side.

Why was I able to endure the pain of dancing on bruised toes and sprained ankles all those years ago? Why is this walking business so hard?

I continue to walk and wonder a bit more and walk and wonder a bit  more. Today there are no podcasts or music playlists to listen to. It’s just me, my body and my mind.

Once more I feel the weight of my body slowing down my stride and my mind begins playing tricks on me. First my mind calmly tells my body that it’s okay to stop for a rest. But when my body doesn’t listen to my mind, my mind gets angry and tells my body that training is futile, that i will never make it across the highlands, that it will all just end in heap of embarrassment–why try if you know you will fail?! my mind shouts at me in desperation.

The fragments of my self argue all the way home.

What am I striving for? What will success mean? What is the goal? Am I striving for myself or for others? Am I striving for some ideal of perfection? What will it mean if I succeed? What will it mean if I fail? With only a week to go, I am committed to the idea that I do not know for certain the answer to these questions–that the journey itself will help answer these questions.

For now all I know for certain is that I am striving for big change in whatever form that takes. That I am striving for a metamorphosis.

When I danced I danced for the love of dance. On the one hand, the gesture of raising my leg high above my head was an intended action, consciously willed and controlled; my mind was aware of the complex kinaesthetic sensations of each of my actions. On the other hand, I was equally unconscious when I danced, almost possessed by the vibrations of sound channeling through my body.

The point is that when I danced, my mind was not separate from my body. When I danced I was not fragmented. My parts were all extensions of each other. The phenomenal experience was an experience of wholeness. My mind and my body were joined through my spirit–through my love of dance.

I have 8 more days to work on integrating my mind with my body. I am searching for that sense of wholeness. Doing my best to remove my bias view of the hike as a purely physical feat–as an ambition of the body.

I need to see this hike as art.  As a collective work of art. A collective ambition to manifest beauty–not perfection.

Beauty of shared will and collective consciousness built upon a determination to unearth what Big Change means to us as individuals and for society.

A determination to pool communal resources of mind, body and sprit in order to unlock as much creative thought as possible over three intense and emotional days.

Yes, this is what it’s all about. I’m already starting to feel better about it all.

60 artists will walk together across the highlands in search of wholeness. 60 disruptors. 60 big-changers.

Some will be more fit than others but this is irrelevant. in fact, this is what make’s it an artistic endeavour.

So I will strive for this. For art and for wholeness in the highlands.


I would of course be extremely grateful for any financial resources to support the work we are doing at Big Change. Funds raised through the STRIVE Challenge 2015 will be used to support amazing organisations and initiatives that have the potential to shape the future of young people across the UK. Big Change has a fundamental belief in the UK’s young people. They’re our priority, our passion, and our inspiration. And everything we do is designed to help them be the very best version of themselves. Helping them rise above and beyond their circumstances, and giving them the opportunity, motivation and courage to see the positive differences they can make for themselves, for others, and for their community. Whether it be helping young people learn about teamwork, communication, relationships, or giving them an opportunity to improve their emotional wellbeing and physical health, the money raised will support projects that focus on helping young people develop a growth mindset and strive in their own lives.


Metamorphosis: for the love of the caterpillar

29 06 2015

RELATIVITY: delayed gratification 

16 06 2015


Secret of Life

16 06 2015
“Nothing is more creative than death, since it is the whole secret of life.” – Alan Watts
And you as well must die

And you as well must die, belovèd dust,
And all your beauty stand you in no stead;
This flawless, vital hand, this perfect head,
This body of flame and steel, before the gust
Of Death, or under his autumnal frost,
Shall be as any leaf, be no less dead
Than the first leaf that fell,this wonder fled,
Altered, estranged, disintegrated, lost.
Nor shall my love avail you in your hour.
In spite of all my love, you will arise
Upon that day and wander down the air
Obscurely as the unattended flower,
It mattering not how beautiful you were,
Or how belovèd above all else that dies.

– Edna St. Vincent Millay



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