Man is nothing else but that which he makes of himself. That is the first principle of existentialism
Are we "condemned" to be free, as Sartre would seem at first glance to have it, or is such freedom more, as he would perhaps really contend, an opportunity staring us in the face if only we'd pay attention?
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.
Please see below selected recent intelligence about Europe. This is a synthesis of major recent developments at competitors, business schools, thinktanks, media, commentators, and other key influencers.
- Eurozone GDP is now predicted to expand 1.6% this year, less than the 1.7% growth of 2015, while consumer prices are seen up 0.2%, below the 0.5% increase projected in February.
- The European Central Bank warned that the rise of populist parties in Europe could slow the pace of economic reforms. Populists on the left and right ends of the political spectrum have made gains in elections by running against spending cuts. Another big concern of the ECB is the potential risk posed by the vote in Britain on whether to leave the European Union, which will be held on June 23rd.
- Yet many eurozone capitals firmly believe that a return to a 2010-style debt crisis, where developments in Greece resulted in “contagion” to other Euro area members, is no longer possible, or indeed likely. Eurasia Group disagrees. If anything, it thinks the euro area is more politically vulnerable today to a change in investor sentiment than at any time since its creation. This is due to three factors. First, multiple negative political developments in Southern Europe; second, deteriorating relations between the ECB and Berlin; and third, a whole host of potential events, not least BREXIT or an inability to agree to a deal over Greece, that could serve as potential triggers for a change in market sentiment.
- Greece badly needs the next tranche of the €86 billion bail-out creditors promised it last summer, in exchange for promises of austerity and reform, warned The Economist. But it will not get the money until the creditors complete a review of its progress, which has been dragging on since October. The government has scraped together enough cash (by raiding independent public agencies) to pay salaries and pensions in May, perhaps even in June. But by July 20th, when a bond worth over €2 billion matures, the country once again faces default and perhaps a forced exit from the eurozone.
Please see below selected pre-2016 ntelligence about the Asia Pacific region. This is a synthesis of major recent developments at competitors, business schools, thinktanks, media, commentators, and other key influencers in our external environment.
- Finland's government is drawing up plans to give every one of its citizens a basic income of 800 euros a month and scrap benefits altogether. A poll commissioned by the agency planning the proposal, the Finnish Social Insurance Institute, showed 69% supported the basic income plan.
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?'"
Now online, Proensa's interpretations of the troubadours have enchanted me - though perhaps not some of the dinner party guests on whom I inflicted the vinyl version at various times - for the best part of 30 years.
Is it really as long ago as 1983-85 that I specialised in Medieval Provencal and wrote my dissertation on the amour de loinh of Pierre Vidal? Rupert Gordon and I were the only students at Edinburgh to choose the option in many a year, and having been back in the George Square for the first time since 1985 earlier this year, I wonder whether anyone else has borrowed any of the books since!
To commemorate the 125th anniversary of Vincent van Gogh’s death, the artist’s birthplace of Zundert, a small town in the Netherlands near the Belgian border, dedicated its annual flower parade to his work and art.
Meanwhile, Van Gogh's paintings have been brought to life using 3D animation and visual mapping by Luca Agnani Studio.
Researchers have unearthed what are probably the only surviving recordings of the voices of Virginia Woolf, from 50 years earlier, of Alexander Graham Bell (below) and from a quarter of a century earlier still, perhaps the oldest sound recording of all, French schoolchildren singing Au clair de la lune.