This page will contain regular updates about A Mundane Comedy, Halcyon founder Dominic Kelleher's new book, which will be published later in 2020. We will be publishing extracts on this site and across social media from the second quarter of 2020. Please feel free to contact us with any questions about the book.
Please see the first extract below.
This book is about what’s going wrong in the world, and about how people are trying to make things better, a hard task made harder still by the fact that, while we have the illusion of constancy, our lives are in fact characterised by continuous change, both out there in the physical world and inside our heads.
Every moment of our lives, we’re changing, from our ageing cells, to the air that we breathe, to the food and water we consume and the feelings we feel and the thoughts we think. We are continuously buffeted by both outer forces – climate, the environment in which we live, how physically secure we feel, and also by inner emotions - whether we feel happy, or depressed, or at peace etc. And all this change occurs at three levels - personal (i.e. involving us as individuals), organisational (in our families, schools, companies and myriad other groups) and societal (in our countries and across the world).
Keep in view all the different dimensions of reality and focus simultaneously on the personal, the local and the universal - Theodore Zeldin, Intimate History of Humanity
I have chosen to observe such change across more than 100 different elements of our outer and inner lives. Like a walker wandering through the natural world, keeping a close eye on changing landscapes and seasons, I spent five years leading up to the dawn of the 2020s examining forensically these elements and how they are changing. Growing up, I was fascinated by the Observer's Books, a series of small, pocket-sized guides that covered a variety of topics, including art, history and wildlife. A Mundane Comedy is in one sense an Observer’s Book for our time. This book contains my most significant observations, which I have captured[i] in 104 chapters, each dedicated to an indivudual element of our lives. My nod to chemistry is deliberate, as these 104 elements can either be studied in isolation from one another and/or in relation to one another: they can be mixed and matched to create new reactions, just like their Periodic Table counterparts.
In terms of how to read A Mundane Comedy, again there can be no prescription suitable for all. In many cases, I have structured the chapters to flow naturally one into the next: sleep gives way to consciousness, optimism to wellbeing, identity to gender and so on, but there is no single narrative thread running through, and some readers might prefer to dip in and out of chapters at random. Nor do I intend this book to be a work of synthesis, in the style of, say, Aldous Huxley’s The Perennial Philosophy, although I would be pleased if individuals readers find links, or even patterns between the elements.
The Universe has as many different centres as there are living beings in it - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
While all the observations (i.e. the bold italicised text in the left-hand columns) in each chapter are my own words, many – though far from all - of the supporting examples in the right-hand columns are reproduced close to verbatim from their original sources, which are usually from websites or online newsletters. In order to avoid any deliberate plagiarism, however, I have endeavoured carefully to provide endnote references for all such examples, and indeed on my own website, halcyonfuture.com, I have hyperlinked each example to its original source wherever possible. Nevertheless, if any of the authors of any of the x000 examples that I include have concerns that I have not attributed their original work properly, or have taken their words out of context, then please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will make any requested corrections immediately in my online communication and of course alter/omit such examples, should the author so desire it, from any future editions of this book.