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Halcyon In Kaleidoscope

On Lions

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I have been a proud member of Lions Heraldic in Brussels since 2006. 2017 sees the centenary of the global Lions movement, started by Melvin Jones in Chicago.

Highlights include:

On Albert Camus
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Halcyon In Kal… 6 March 2017

On Pan

Pan

I have long been entranced by Pan, probably inspired - as I'm guessing many others have been too - by the beautiful and haunting passage in The Piper at the Gates of Dawn chapter of The Wind in the Willows.

On T.S. Eliot

East Coker

T.S. Eliot died over 50 years ago now. His legacy remains profound and his poetry moves me deeply.

In August 2016 I had the privilege of visiting his final resting place, East Coker.

I listen to the peerless Little Gidding at least once a quarter, sometimes more often, and almost every line entrances, as if peering through a veil at something once known, but half-forgotten because not looked-for.

On Humour

We often assume that laughter occurs when we hear something funny, but research has shown that it is the people doing the speaking who laugh the most - 46% more than their audience.

On Imbolc

Imbolc, imbolc, the light will soon return, warm the Earth this winter's night and let the candles burn.

A time of purification (hence spring cleaning), this is a hopeful time of year, with the days drawing out and even the mornings slowly lightening. Later this month, the first snowdrop and crocus should visit, suggesting that Spring is not far behind.

On Now
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Halcyon In Kal… 19 January 2017

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 Others

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For me the purpose of life is to know other people…is to discover what life is. Who inhabits the world? What is it to be human? What can I give to the world which it doesn’t have…a gift for tolerating my presence in this world..…and unless I know the people, I can’t know what it does not have - Theodore Zeldin

Imagine balancing self-interest and caring for others. If this is possible, then:

(1) What is the approximate balance between the two today - in individuals, organisations and societies? How much time do we really spend thinking about and then acting on other people's needs?

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:

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."

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.

On Books
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Halcyon In Kal… 22 November 2016

Above and beyond the many unread volumes in our library, there are many other books that I'd still like to read, given sufficient life and leisure, including the following:

On Stars...and On Us

The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff - Carl Sagan, Cosmos

While the saying “we are stardust” seems poetic but vague, it is literally true. The atoms of our bodies were created in the cores of stars billions of years ago. 

On Qualia

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If we're dominated and therefore de facto separated by our qualia - i.e. the the subjective quality of conscious experience - can we ever reasonably hope to reach a consensus on what should be our shared values?

On Kaleidoscopes

The kaleidoscope is perhaps Halcyon's prime metaphor for personal, organisational and societal development, allowing us all to consider problems and solutions through a wide and changing set of lenses.

History of kaleidoscopes