The Exquisite Adonis Blue

The Adonis Blue, loveliest of all the blue butterflies and rivalled perhaps only by the White Admiral as a thing of delicate wonder in flight, adorning as it does the beauty of the chalk uplands of southern England. This is the butterfly of our joyous childhood excursions to Hod Hill, where, I hope, it will continue to flourish long after the footprints of rapacious men fade from view. LJ 

Alain de Botton: Atheism 2.0

Alain de Botton 

An interesting acknowledgement of the organisational and educative strengths of religion in its relation to personal fulfilment and society. Alain de Botton suggests that the western world may have ventured too far in its assertion of personal freedom, implying that this is not coextensive with wisdom. There are yet things to be learned from such practices as ritual discipline,nor should the didactic or instructive dimensions of art and science be ignored. I am reminded, somehow, of the Rabelaisian maxim “Guide de Dieu et compagnie d’homme” and also that I should return to my reading of George Steiner, whose analysis of the problems entailed by post-modernism I find particularly compelling, since it chimes with my own reflections, albeit more eloquently.

itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/philosophy-bites/id257042117

The age of envy: how to be happy when everyone else’s life looks perfect | Life and style | The Guardian

The competition is in the mirror. Gratitude for the opportunity of being alive is proper to our condition. Envy is nothing new, indeed it is an error as old as the world, though it is true that people are now seeking the wrong axis through self-scrutiny and in social media, nor is the answer generally to be found in the vapourings of the lifestyle articles of the Guardian. The confessions of the first paragraph are ugly revelations, better dissembled, since they are of limited objective interest. Seek wisdom, not status. Study for the joy of discovery, learn a few languages, take some exercise and don’t look for rewards. Delight in the success of others and help them to achieve it; often, their progress will bring burdens of responsibility you would prefer not to shoulder anyway. That is their affair. The author of this article, who feels she is doing something important, could have learnt the rudimentary grammar of a language in the time it took to write this commentary on our times. Envy has always been the enemy; my father, who possessed little that he hadn’t forged by his own effort, by-passed it altogether by taking pleasure in birdsong, gardening and playing the flute. The implicit message of this article is that the author has been aspiring to be her own axis; this is a cardinal error, known as that of the “moi désaxé”, or the misplaced axis of the self. If there is no longer a being external to us in whom to invest our faith, there is still the business of studying the accumulated knowledge of our forebears in science and in the arts, an endeavour that will free us from solipsism. This is an endless cure for envy. LJ

Social media has created a world in which everyone seems ecstatic – apart from us. Is there any way for people to curb their resentment?
— Read on www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/oct/09/age-envy-be-happy-everyone-else-perfect-social-media

Interesting quote from “An Essay Concerning Human Understanding: Full and Fine 1689 Edition in Book 1, 2, 3, and 4 (Illustrated)”

“Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien.” (Voltaire)

I was reminded of this whilst reading Locke, which is unsurprising, given Voltaire’s admiration of him:

“An Essay Concerning Human Understanding: Full and Fine 1689 Edition in Book 1, 2, 3, and 4 (Illustrated)” by John Locke:

“Men may find matter sufficient to busy their heads, and employ their hands with variety, delight, and satisfaction, if they will not boldly quarrel with their own constitution, and throw away the blessings their hands are filled with, because they are not big enough to grasp everything.”

Start reading it for free: http://amzn.eu/efMs6CL

Obesity

This is just one of an increasing number of narrowly circumscribed areas in which impediments to freedom of expression are doing untold practical damage. I could foresee this all as early as 1985, when I had my first whiff of the speech codes associated with political correctness. I don’t wish to judge the intentions of the misguided advocates of this “premature synthesis”, which has evolved into a toxic ideology, but for humanity the cost has been very high indeed. It is no exaggeration to state that lives are at stake as a result of the austere neo-puritanical monitoring of human speech. Children and adults need to be informed if they are gluttonous; the idea that we should refrain from doing so lest we be guilty of “fat shaming” is preposterous, therefore it is refreshing to read an article in which plain truth is acknowledged to be an important part of the way forward. LJ

https://app.ft.com/content/fe494f60-c170-11e8-8d55-54197280d3f7?sectionid=columnists

 

OECD — OECD Watch

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) was established in 1961. Today, the OECD is a forum of 34 industrialised countries that develops and promotes economic and social policies. Its mission is to ‘build strong economies in its member countries, improve efficiency, home market systems, expand free trade, and contribute to development in industrialised as well as developing countries’. Simply stated, the OECD acts on behalf of and in collaboration with its member governments to promote free market policies and trade.
— Read on www.oecdwatch.org/oecd-guidelines/oecd

It is later than you think

It Is Later Than You Think
BY ROBERT W. SERVICE

Lone amid the café’s cheer,
Sad of heart am I to-night;
Dolefully I drink my beer,
But no single line I write.
There’s the wretched rent to pay,
Yet I glower at pen and ink:
Oh, inspire me, Muse, I pray,
It is later than you think!

Hello! there’s a pregnant phrase.
Bravo! let me write it down;
Hold it with a hopeful gaze,
Gauge it with a fretful frown;
Tune it to my lyric lyre …
Ah! upon starvation’s brink,
How the words are dark and dire:
It is later than you think.

Weigh them well …. Behold yon band,
Students drinking by the door,
Madly merry, bock in hand,
Saucers stacked to mark their score.
Get you gone, you jolly scamps;
Let your parting glasses clink;
Seek your long neglected lamps:
It is later than you think.

Look again: yon dainty blonde,
All allure and golden grace,
Oh so willing to respond
Should you turn a smiling face.
Play your part, poor pretty doll;
Feast and frolic, pose and prink;
There’s the Morgue to end it all,
And it’s later than you think.

Yon’s a playwright — mark his face,
Puffed and purple, tense and tired;
Pasha-like he holds his place,
Hated, envied and admired.
How you gobble life, my friend;
Wine, and woman soft and pink!
Well, each tether has its end:
Sir, it’s later than you think.

See yon living scarecrow pass
With a wild and wolfish stare
At each empty absinthe glass,
As if he saw Heaven there.
Poor damned wretch, to end your pain
There is still the Greater Drink.
Yonder waits the sanguine Seine …
It is later than you think.

Lastly, you who read; aye, you
Who this very line may scan:
Think of all you planned to do …
Have you done the best you can?
See! the tavern lights are low;
Black’s the night, and how you shrink!
God! and is it time to go?
Ah! the clock is always slow;
It is later than you think;
Sadly later than you think;
Far, far later than you think.