There is an anecdote in the psychotherapist Stephen Grosz’ book, The Examined Life, about a client who is always talking fondly about the house he is renovating. Whenever he’s had a bad week, he lets off steam by talking about all the wonderful improvements he will make to this dream-house – the new conservatory, the Read more…

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Public anger over revelations that governments snoop on our internet activity comes partly from a sense that our online selves are not entirely in our control. The more networked we are, the more our selves are ‘out there’, online, made public and transparent to a million eyes. On the one hand the global interconnectedness of Read more…

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A few newsletters back, I talked about the idea of the ‘mass intelligentsia’, and posted an interview I did with Melvyn Bragg about the term (he used it in this programme on class and culture back in March). I’ve been digging into this idea a bit more since then, for an academic research project I’m Read more…

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What I love about being a freelance blogger (besides the loneliness, economic insecurity and gnawing sense of irrelevance) is the ability to roam wherever you fancy to discover new ideas. You don’t have to write what your editor tells you. It’s just a great feeling, sometimes, the ability to follow a new trail wherever it Read more…

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Last weekend, at the Philosophy In Pubs annual conference in Liverpool, I met Derek Tatton, who is director of the Raymond Williams Foundation (RWF) and someone who’s worked in and supported adult education – including philosophy in pubs – for over 40 years.  I interviewed him about adult education, its catastrophic decline from the 1970s Read more…

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