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We actively monitor change covering more than 150 key elements of life.

A Mundane Comedy is Dom Kelleher's new book. Extracts will appear on this site and across social media from late 2021. Please get in touch with any questions or thoughts.

The 52:52:52 project, launching both on this site and on Twitter in late 2021 will help you address 52 issues with 52 responses over 52 weeks.

Halcyon In Kaleidoscope

On What We Think

Kaleidoscope

 

The entries below highlight subjective views on an ever-changing range and scope of subjects.

This is less a blog than a set of irregularly updated and often fragmentary views - on ideas and values, places and people - evolving over time into mini essais which pay humble homage to the peerless founder of the genre. Our writing is provisional, always open to change as new thoughts and ideas emerge.

The kaleidoscope is our prime metaphor, encouraging us to embrace change and to view issues through an ever-moving series of lenses.

On 52 ideas, 52 weeks

Ideas

 

Halcyon's 52 ideas: 52 weeks campaign will start in late 2021, featuring a range of responses to issues you may be facing at the personal, organisational and/or societal levels (see examples below).

On the Veil

Veil

 

I have always been attracted by the veil, by seeing through a glass, darkly:

 

And the children in the apple-tree

Not known, because not looked for

But heard, half heard, in the stillness

Between the two waves of the sea

- from Little Gidding, T.S. Eliot

 

When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse,
Out of the corner of my eye.
I turned to look but it was gone.
I cannot put my finger on it now

On the Parva Carta

Magna Carta

 

This is an evolving manifesto, more modest than great charters calling for widespread political change, or updated commandments for our time, or even simple poems for our time.

Instead, Halcyon's small charter is primarily a call for inner change, leading to outer change.

We want to help people think more about how they can nurture key values, chief amongst them kindness.

One inspiring example is from the late Robert Muller, whose creed including the following beliefs:

On Novelty

Novelty

 

This is a work in progress. Please contact us to discuss further.

 

See also:

 

On an alternative world view

The sheer novelty of the ideas of such leaders not only addresses the issues at hand and but gives the world a new perspective to address issues of the future. The outmoded ways of leadership, of securing selfish interests and of exploiting public sentiments, should be relinquished. The new age leaders must look forward to lead the global thought rather than leading only a particular country or a section of society - Club of Amsterdam

Our lives are characterised, above all, by change.

On Trees

Black Locust, Essex, May 2020

 

I wonder about the trees,” Robert Frost wrote. Monumental in size, alive but inert, they inhabit a different temporality than ours. Some species’ life spans can be measured in human generations. We wake to find that a tree’s leaves have turned, or register, come spring, its sturdier trunk. But such changes are always perceived after the fact. We’ll never see them unfold, with our own eyes, in human time.

On the Ethical Development Goals

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This evolving paper examines Ethical Development Goals (EDGs) that could complement the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

 

Introduction

The EDGs are inspired by the SDGs, officially known as ‘Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’, an intergovernmental set of aspiration Goals with 169 targets.

However, ethical considerations need to play a more central role in the implementation of the SDGs.

On A Mundane Comedy

The Divine Comedy

 

This page will contain regular updates about A Mundane Comedy, Halcyon founder Dominic Kelleher's new book, which will be published in 2022. 

We will share regular extracts here and across social media from late 2021. Please see below an introductory extract.

 

To be a catalyst is the ambition most appropriate for those who see the world as being in constant change, and who, without thinking that they control it, wish to influence its direction - Theodore Zeldin, Intimate History of Humanity

This book is about what goes wrong in our lives, and about how we can try to make things better. This already daunting challenge is made more daunting still by the fact that, while we have an illusion of constancy, our lives are in fact characterised by continuous change, both out in the physical world and inside our heads.

On Gardens

Angus in Genval

 

“This is happiness,” Willa Cather’s fictional narrator gasps as he sinks into his grandmother’s garden, “to be dissolved into something complete and great.” A generation later, in a real-life counterpart, Virginia Woolf arrived at the greatest epiphany of her life  - and to this day perhaps the finest definition of what it takes to be an artist - while contemplating the completeness and greatness abloom in the garden.

On Everyone

Everyone

 

What if we could honour everyone - the estimated 110 billion or so humans who have ever lived?

Of course, our most urgent challenge right now is to keep working towards the goal of giving everyone alive right now access to basic needs - to water and food, security, health, education etc - and it's painfully clear that, with e.g. growing numbers of orphans around the world, we still have a huge task still ahead of us. (And yes, let's unashamedly say "us", rather than fall back on the third person, abstract term "humanity" that somehow suggests it's someone else's problem.)

On Meditation

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Research suggests that meditation can change brain structure, enhance mental abilities and work alongside traditional medicine to speed up healing. 

Certainly, when I learned Transcendental Meditation through a formal couse many years ago it was in some ways a life-changing experience, although I quickly moved away from the more cultish aspects of TM. 

I don't entirely buy the claim that just a few minutes' daily meditation can make a difference between an anxious existence and a life of quiet contentment...but it helps.

On Swimming

Swimming

 

Swimming in open water - ponds, lakes, rivers, oceans - is like crossing a boundary into another world. The ancient Celts even believed that submersion could provide a link to the supernatural - Carpe Diem

 

Entranced many years ago by Roger Deakin's wonderful Waterlog, which I have lent subsequently to others and they've had similarly joyous reactions. 

See also:

On Perfume

Perfume

 

My fascination with perfume - or scents more generally - probably began in suburban teenagehood. My then girlfriend wore Smitty, and I proudly sported Blue Stratos (which trumped my second choice, Old Spice, and was streets ahead of Brut, "fashionable" at the time).

Fast forward the best part of 30 years and a family trip to the perfume museum in Grasse, where the fragrant air, even in the streets outside, and the fabulous design on show inside hooked me once again.

Next was picking up a copy of The Emperor of Scent and trying to understand the scientific processes behind the olfactory skills of Luca Turin.

In late 2016 came my first attempts at creating perfume myself, taught by the inspiring Sarah McCartney and her kind husband at 4160 Tuesdays.

On Lughnasadh

Lammas

 

For the White Horse of summer, with its crown of hope made from fern and flower, has left the land. Now we must wait till the Grey Horse comes amid the dark days of winter shivering - Hookland

Lammas or Lughnasadh is the first of the three Wiccan harvest festivals, the other two being the autumnal equinox (or Mabon) and Samhain. Wiccans mark the holiday by baking a figure of the god in bread and eating it, to symbolise the sanctity and importance of the harvest. Celebrations vary, as not all Pagans are Wiccans. The Irish name Lughnasadh is used in some traditions to designate this holiday.

On the minor key

F Minor

 

Last night I read those letters, and they made me feel one hundred years old - from Stolen Car, Bruce Springsteen

I remember snow falling quietly on 14th Street in New York January 1999 and thinking it the most melancholy, yet most romantic sight imaginable.

I've long held a (completely invented) theory that one can distinguish not only people, but also places, in fact almost anything, by whether it is major- or minor- key dominant.  Here I focus on the minor, which has always felt like my spiritual home.

On Human Nature

Human Nature

 

"There are two great forces of human nature......self-interest and caring for others", according to Bill Gates.

If true, 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?

(2) How can we start an open and ongoing debate about what the balance should be - next year, in 2030 etc? If we don't do this, then how can individuals really know how to lead a "good" life, can organisations know what their wider responsibilities really are and can societies really know how to develop fair policies for all?

On Carl Jung

Carl Jung

 

Carl Jung, who founded analytical psychology. was influential in the fields of psychiatry, anthropology, archaeology, literature, philosophy, and religious studies.

Jung, like Freud, comes under the psychodynamic approach to counselling. He worked a lot with archetypes – recurring images or patterns that represent a typical human experience.

On Books

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