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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 Now

Now

 

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 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 Michel de Montaigne

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"I have never seen a greater monster or miracle than myself", said Michel de Montaigne, describing his own poor memory, his ability to solve problems and mediate conflicts without truly getting emotionally involved, his disgust for man's pursuit of lasting fame, and his attempts to detach himself from worldly things to prepare for death.

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 Henry David Thoreau

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In the 1840s Henry David Thoreau swapped his busy schedule in Concord, Massachusetts, for a wooden hut he built himself near Walden Pond. We had the privilege to visit Walden in July 2012; it exceeded expectations in its tranquility and beauty - and the swim in the pond itself was unforgettable.

Writing in the winter of 1843, shortly after Margaret Fuller’s mentorship made him a writer, the twenty-five-year-old Thoreau awakened to a snow-covered wonderland and marvelled at the splendour of a world reborn.

See also:

On the Ethical Development Goals

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This evolving paper examines the overall Ethical Development Goals (EDGs) that Halcyon is developing to 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, according to a coalition of countries who co-sponsored a meeting at UN headquarters in January 2016; the meeting heard that despite unprecedented collaboration, many businesses still need key ethical reforms.

On the Parva Carta
Magna Carta
Halcyon In Kal… 12 July 2021

 

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 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 a short 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 Herbs

Jekka

 

Growing herbs, seeing them, smelling them, touching them, eating them and I hope, soon sharing them (as plants and incorporated into recipes and remedies), makes me - as it does millions of others, i'm sure - just feel better.

Jekka McVicar is an inspiration - she now grows around 700 different herbs

In 2018 I was privileged to spend a day in the company of the wonderful Jekka and her family. Jekka, with no fewer than 14 Chelsea Golds, probably knows as much about herbs as anyone in England. Then in 2021, I attended Jekka's first HerbFest, which was filled with expert talks, gardening workshops and cookery demonstrations from Jekka and her team and friends.

See also:

On Summer

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"I thought I saw a swallow land, upon my hand, on summer day" - Roy Harper

For the sensitive gardener, this is the peak of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, and the weekend following Midsummer Day is the time of quietness, and of flower festivals and of fragrant old roses around mildewed old church doors and of wandering among indecipherable gravestones and of coming hollyhocks and of lemon balm and of long, long ago memories, but always, "history is now, and England".

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 Roy Harper

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And the town label makers stare down with their gallery eyes
And point with computer stained fingers each time you arise
To the rules and the codes and the system that keeps them in chains
Which is where they belong with no poems no love and no brains 

- from McGoohan's Blues

 

OCTOPUS part 9 by Adam Leonard

 

Happy 80th birthday on 12th June 2021 to "the great Roy Harper".

Wonderful to watch Roy entrance a packed London Palladium in March 2019 and very sorry that the pandemic has caused him to postpone his 80th gig at The Royal Albert Hall in 2021.

Roy is, for me, among the most singular poets of this or any age, someone whose songs and messages have been with me, through all emotions, for more years than I care to remember. 

Welcome back, Roy; hopefully you've got many years of creativity still ahead; after all, my other great musical hero, Leonard Cohen, was was still going strong beyond 80 until his death in late 2016. Indeed, great to see one true genius recognising another.  In "Uncut", Roy chose his 10 favourite albums. Under the sub-heading "The Perfect Record for a Mid-Life Crisis", he picked Lenny's "I'm Your Man" and had this to say about it: "What a great record - and what a crisis I had. Cohen is the best songwriter of them all. I don't think I'm overstating that. He has the spirit and is a man who cares about his poetry more than any other songwriter that I know."

Roy was honoured by Glastonbury Festival founder Michael Eavis at the 2013 BB Folk Awards. Great to see this truly unique talent finally getting some of the five-star plaudits he has long deserved. Roy's latest (hopefully not last) concert at the Royal Festival Hall in London in October 2013 did not disappoint. Roy followed this up with a session on 6 Music.

After a three-year hiatus, for unfortunate reasons well documented elsewhere, Roy returned in triumph to the Royal Festival Hall in September 2016.

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 genius that is 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 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 David Hume

David Hume

 

Beauty in things exists in the mind which contemplates them - David Hume

 

When I was studying, inter alia, Metaphysics and Moral Philosophy at Edinburgh many years ago, local boy made good David Hume was a name never far any philosophy professor or tutor's lips. Aeon wrote movingly of Hume's life:

"While Hume was lying aged 65 on his deathbed at the end of a happy, successful and (for the times) long life, he told his doctor: ‘I am dying as fast as my enemies, if I have any, could wish, and as easily and cheerfully as my best friends could desire.’ Three days before he died, on 25 August 1776, probably of abdominal cancer, his doctor could still report that he was ‘quite free from anxiety, impatience, or low spirits, and passes his time very well with the assistance of amusing books’."