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Time

On Now

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Dave Pollard wrote thought-provokingly of the "Now Time”, a multidimensional recursive eternal present familiar to aboriginal cultures the world over, and recalling Friedrich Nietzche's desire to be a "yes-sayer" to each moment.

This recalls Camus' celebration of Sisyphus starting afresh each day and more recently, Eckhart Tolle's "power of now".

On what mattered in the past

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Asking which shifts, in which centuries, really shaped the modern world. a historian identified 10 leading drivers of change, century by century (see below).

Meanwhile, Prospect believes that reflecting on the past can give great in sight into the present and has published accordingly The past in perspective e-book.

See also:

What's Happening? - Presence

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A favourite concept of mine is the 200-year present, a way of thinking about change. The 200-year present began 100 years ago with the year of birth of the people who have reach their hundredth birthday today. The other boundary of the 200-year present, 100 years from now, is the hundredth birthday of the babies born today. If you take that span, you and I will have had contact with a lot of people from different parts of that span. So think in terms of events over that span and realise how long change takes. You can see how difficult it has been to create these bodies and new ways and how in many ways we are slipping backward; but in other ways we are not. I take comfort to know that super-power hegemony has a very limited lifespan (decline and fall of Rome, the Ottoman Empire) -  Elise Boulding

What's Happening? - Conflict

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"Violence has been in decline over long stretches of time and we may be living in the most peaceful time in our species' existence." - Steven Pinker

 

WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?

Every minute eight people flee to escape conflict and persecution, according to the UN.

 

WHAT TRENDS ARE WE SEEING?

Archaeological studies show that societies in the past were very violent. Often more than 10% of deaths were the result of one person killing another. Ethnographic evidence also confirms that violence is very common in nonstate societies and drastically higher than in modern state societies.

 

Why is violence declining? One important change may be improving literacy, while countries with higher educational attainment in the past are more likely to have democratic - and generally therefore peaceful - political regimes today.

See also:

On Marcel Proust

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After the BBC opened up its archives of In Our Time, I came to the episode about Marcel Proust.

As the programme notes make clear, "À La Recherche du Temps Perdu has been called the definitive modern novel.  Proust's stylistic innovation, sensory exploration and fascination with memory were to influence a whole body of thinkers, and innumerable critics and novelists since.  But how did he succeed in creating a 3000 page novel with such an artistic coherence?'"

On Time

Customer

According to Thor Heyerdahl, it is almost impossible grasp the meaning of time.  He didn't believe it exists and he felt this again and again, when alone and out in nature.  As Henry Ford said, it feels at such moments that "life is just one damn thing after another".  Nevertheless, in the BBC’s The Wonders of the Universe, Brian Cox argued that, thanks to the second law of thermodynamics, entropy means that does indeed flow, and in only one direction.

"As a species, we can never know where our true potential lies until we confront the systems that keep us tied to the past. And that is where the true adventure will begin" - Thomas Frey

On Craft

Customer

The Tinkering School allows children to build, experiment, become deeply immersed in and committed to projects (decoration has a special and surprising role to play).

Do many mainstream schools (still) offer such opportunities? If not, how can we help them do so?

Imagine too how many adults remain short of confidence about their own practical skills, and how such an approach might help them too.