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Halcyon's 52:52:52 campaign on this site and on Twitter will start in mid 2020. It will help you address 52 issues with 52 responses over 52 weeks.

A Mundane Comedy is Halcyon's new book. Extracts are appearing on this site and on selected social media during mid 2020. Please get in touch with any questions about the book or related Halcyon services.

Part consultancy, part thinktank, part social enterprise, Halcyon helps you prepare for and respond to personal, organisational and societal change.

Halcyon In Kaleidoscope

On What We Think

Kaleidoscope

 

These pages highlight our founder Dominic's subjective views on the ever-changing range and scope of subjects that Halcyon focuses on.

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 Halcyon's prime metaphor, encouraging us to embrace change and to view issues through an ever-moving series of lenses.

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.

For examples of other inspiring charters, see e.g. 

On Trees

KGP 8 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.

No one has been able to capture this 3,200-year-old tree in one image before – until now.

 

2020

On the Ethical Development Goals

blog image

 

This evolving paper will examine 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 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 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.

 

Introduction

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.

On the Forgotten

Ancestry

 

The growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts...half owing to the numbers who lived faithfully a hidden life and rest in unvisited tombs - George Eliot, Middlemarch

 

Authoritative lists of supposed global role models provoke approval and controversy in equal measure, but also raise the more important question: who is honouring the vastly greater number of non-celebrity role models among our human family of perhaps 7.8 billion alive today?

On Helen Keller

Helen Keller

 

Very few have overcome greater obstacles than Helen Keller, who learned to communicate through the eyes and ears of others after a fever left her deaf and blind as an infant.

In The Light Of A Brighter Day, an essay first broadcast in 1951, the author activist and lecturer discussed her vision of faith.

Below is a selection of Helen Keller's most inspiring ideas.

Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much

Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run, life is either a daring adventure or nothing

One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar

My friends have made the story of my life. they have turned my limitations into beautiful privileges, and enabled me to walk serene and happy in the shadow cast by my deprivation

On Swimming

Wild 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 Dante
Dante
Halcyon In Kal… 19 May 2020

 

Is it possible to appreciate fully Dante’s work without understanding the man himself and the society in which he lived? A recent book attempted to shed new light on what some have called the greatest of all European poems.

See also:

On Human Nature
Human Nature
Halcyon In Kal… 17 May 2020

 

"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 Optimism

Optimism

 

In the long run, the pessimist may be proved to be right, but the optimist has a better time on the trip - Daniel L. Reardon

Prima facie, this "feels" true. However, the BBC's panel show, It's Only a Theory, featured psychotherapist Lucy Beresford who argued that there is a modern epidemic characterised by the "pursuit of happiness" (often fed by pills), and that sadness is actually a normal part of human life which we should embrace rather than shut out.

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 Silbury Hill

Silbury Hill

 

Way back in 1999 I registered the internet domain name silburyhill.com and paid to maintain it for several years, without ever really doing anything with it. I eventually let the registration lapse, but even now, new developments at Silbury continue to resonate with me in a way that I can't easily put into words. 

Why I felt compelled - no other word will do - to acquire silburyhill.com as my first personal URL and why I paid a not inconsiderable sum to hold onto it a few years, despite being far from ready to launch my own website back then, I'm still far from certain.

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

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

On Beltane

Maylight

 

See Pan the Piper dancing in the greenwood dawn...Earth, Water, Fire, Air, dancing round the Maypole...at Beltane, light a Beltane fire, high on the skyline - from Ancient Dream, by Aeolian Songspell

On Roy Harper

blog image

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

Wonderful to watch Roy entrance a packed London Palladium in March 2019.

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 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 Values

Values

 

Value pluralism (Isaiah Berlin) is linked to fallibility since there is no way to avoid conflict between different values and aspirations - George Soros, The Crisis of Global Capitalism: Open Society Endangered - p157

There is a crucial need for society and the world's political leaders to strengthen the role of values - such as love, respect, tolerance and creativity - and finance organisations that teach them.  That could prevent or perhaps reverse the spread of hatred and violence originating from neglect and alienation - Ildi Trencsenyi, Budapest, letter to Time, 28/11/05

On Albert Camus

Camus

 

I was first attracted by Camus, "prince of the absurd" when I was 16. Camus still fascinates me, now well beyond what would have been his 100th birthday, and 60 years after his premature death in a car crash in Burgundy (it's said that he was found with an unused train ticket in his pocket - he'd planned to go by rail to Paris to rejoin his wife and children, but had accepted at the last minute the offer of a lift from his publisher).