Vladimir Putin: friend or foe?

vputinThere are lots of reasons to distrust and dislike Vladimir Putin. I won’t bother to list them all here. But I have a grudging respect for him. Putin gets things done. Not necessarily the right things, but not necessarily the wrong things either. Continue reading

Watching paint dry

paintinsThis is something we all do. Me especially. I’m a paint-watcher by nature. Not literally. I have never seen anyone literally watching paint dry. But metaphorically, we do it all the time. Continue reading

Choose joy

joyI’ve been feeling a little down recently, for various reasons. This is what Buddhists call suffering, and they say it is caused by desire, or passion. Desire is what binds us to this life, they say, and is the cause of our suffering. Christians have a similar world view. They say that sin is the root cause of our suffering, and that our redemption is through Jesus Christ.

While there are many differences between Christians (who believe in an eternal soul), and Buddhists (who supposedly do not – although people like the Dalai Lama certainly seem to), religions generally regard the physical world as a place where humans are trapped. It’s easy then to imagine that we were born to suffer. Continue reading

Mourning the living

autumntreesAs a child, I mourned greatly the death of my great-grandmother, who died on my thirteenth birthday. Later, my grandmother, who died a few months before I married; and then my other grandmother, who shared the joy and anticipation that my wife and I felt at expecting our first child, but never lived to see him born.

Just recently I have mourned the death of another man, who, although we were not close, meant more to me than he probably ever realised.

Now, as the warmth of summer slips into the coolness of memory, and another autumn begins, I find myself mourning the living. Continue reading

What is time?

timetravelTime is an oddity. In mystic thought, it is often cyclical. In classical Newtonian physics it was thought of as a steady march onward. In Einstein’s universe, it is wrapped up with the fabric of spacetime and can dilate in unexpected ways.

One thing we know about time is that it waits for no one. Time marches on (although not in a steady way, thanks to Einstein) and we experience it passively. Without any effort on our part, future becomes present and recedes into the past, even while we sleep. We can’t feel the passing of time like we feel the wind against our face, although change is happening imperceptibly, and after a lifetime, we realize that its passing has ravaged our fragile bodies.

Where did the time go, we ask? As if it is a thing that moves. Continue reading

Frozen to Life: A Personal Mortality Experiment (Book review)

frozentolifeI was sent a free copy of this book by the author, and asked to write an honest review. As the author noted in his email to me, ‘I think we have quite a few interests in common. ‘That’s very true, so I thought my review might also be of interest to my blog readers.

The book is the story of why the author (DJ MacLennan), has chosen to have his brain cryogenically frozen when he dies – or as he puts it – when current medicine can do no more to save him from death. It’s a personal story, and a scientific and philosophical investigation of what it means to live and die. Here’s my review of the book. Continue reading

How to get what you want in life

lifeplanYou could trust to serendipity. You could subscribe to New Thought philosophy, which maintains that by focusing on positive thoughts you can bring positive experiences into your life. Or you could plan.

I would strongly recommend planning. Continue reading