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On Theodore Zeldin

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Theodore Zeldin re-iterated his belief in the powerfully transformative role of conversation:

"Individuals are no longer what they used to be, each is unique. That makes a big difference to how they work. Each one is an enigma. There are six billion people whom we need to discover. We are now in the same position as the scientists of the last century, discovering the different elements and molecules of the natural world. So there is no need to feel lost or aimless. There is a wonderful adventure before us."

Zeldin looks through both a microscope and a telescope. His ambition is literally boundless. His ambit embraces the entire human experience: all times, all peoples, all places, all knowledge. Typically, a Zeldin chapter starts with the microscope; a more or less verbatim report of an encounter with someone. Then he substitutes the telescope, linking that individual conversation to the wider human experience...filled out with some of Zeldin's own whimsical abstract illustrations and a list of suggested topics of conversation.

He says of his current `work on work' that the aim is to attempt to help set humanity on a more productive course. Zeldin is developing ideas for what he calls a `super-university' of the future that would expose its students to the practical worlds of agriculture, survival, the process of manufacturing things, the creation of art and beauty, voluntary service -- to equip them to live better, more fulfilled lives.

What do people ultimately want? They say they want `happiness' -- but do they?...in Zeldin's book "Happiness" , Sumdy finally realises that perfect happiness is akin to boredom and that the real goals of life include things like the courage to embark upon new adventures.

Zeldin is prepared to claim some identity, at least of ambition, with the Encyclopedistes of the eighteenth Century -- universalists (like Bacon, Humboldt, even Comte) who took the whole of human knowledge and, from this base, tried to think how to improve the lot of mankind

Zeldin calls women "the revolutionaries of our time".

Zeldin is also excited about the future: "what people could do in the future seemed to be more worth noticing than what they had done in the past", as he put it in Happiness. The desire to help people shape the future to their own interests is Zeldin's preoccupation now. And absolutely pivotal for this task, he acknowledges, was his early training as a historian. "The past," says Zeldin "is what provides us with the building blocks. Our job today is to create new buildings out of them" 

See also:

Halcyon content

 

  • On Holism
  • ... alchemy of putting together - in the words of Theodore Zeldin - two ideas that have never met. (Curiosity, Economics, ...
  • Blog entry - 10/08/2016 - 16:25
  • On Conversation
  • ... situations like sitting on a bus.  Theodore Zeldin  shows us how. (Empathy, Listening, Now, ... Communication, Connection, Conversation, Sharing, Theodore Zeldin) ...
  • Blog entry - 26/04/2016 - 16:46
  • On Ancestry
  • ... night sky, a history still unexplored" - Theodore Zeldin , An Intimate History of Humanity A call to ...
  • Blog entry - 26/04/2016 - 14:40
  • On Ideas
  • ... This closely reflects Theodore Zeldin's desire to introduce ideas that have never met. ...
  • Blog entry - 25/04/2016 - 16:51
  • On Compassion
  • ... Compassion Headlines   1. Theodore Zeldin, Intimate History of Humanity , p28; 2. Intimate History of ...
  • Blog entry - 10/05/2016 - 14:33
  • On Living
  • ... Yes ​ Theodore Zeldin 's magnum opus teems with original and humane ideas , many ... direct influence upon the evolution of Halcyon. Zeldin, whom I had the pleasure to meet in Oxford in 2008, says that  ...
  • Blog entry - 15/06/2015 - 18:08
  • On Method
  • ... (supermarket stars in the sky choice range openness Zeldin 6bn curiosity filter-; “watch – radar – monitor ...
  • Blog entry - 11/11/2015 - 12:42
  • On Nudging
  • ... great riddle of our time", according to Theodore Zeldin . Nudge  has been in vogue in recent years, with ...
  • Blog entry - 01/04/2011 - 11:17
  • Imagining choosing to the right thing without being nudged...
  • ... is a great riddle of our time", says Theodore Zeldin . The concept of nudging has been in vogue recently, with its ...

 

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On Joseph Campbell

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Joseph Campbell's The Masks of God have been a constant companion to me for more than 25 years, while his The Hero with a Thousand Faces outlines the common journey of the archetypal hero across a wealth of ancient myths from around the world. Now a short animation from TED Ed presents a synthesis of Campbell’s foundational framework for the eleven stages of the hero’s quest - from the call to adventure to the crisis to the moment of return and transformation.

Campbell, the man behind PBS’ series The Power of Mythleft behind many words in many formats, and now you can hear a fair few of them for free on this Spotify playlist.

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What's Happening? - Future of Work: at WEF 2017

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Forecasts on the impact of technology on the future of work are deeply polarised, creating fear of the challenges to come and inaction on new opportunities. What do we know about the transformation underway and what short- and long-term innovations hold the greatest potential to navigate these changes?

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