Category: Downtime

Recommended reading: The Madness of Crowds – @DouglasKMurray

I’ve just finished The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity by Douglas Murray. It opens…

We are going through a great crowd derangement. In public and in private, both online and off, people are behaving in ways that are increasingly irrational, feverish, herd-like and simply unpleasant.”

If you struggle to find a logic to follow in identity politics, if you’re somewhat mystified by the raging debates about gender versus sex, or the rights of actors or writers to present a perspective other than that of their own race-gender-sexuality, then this is the book for you.

As a result, I too found myself googling “European art” and “straight white couple”. I’ve so far resisted the temptation to google Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda video … but, the days are longer in self-isolation.

A valuable, insightful book.

The book is here.

There’s a taster in this interview from Uncommon Knowledge:

Photo by Rob Curran on Unsplash

Music, food, books, life – @HardenKurt

All life is at Cultural Offering, including…

Common sense and a sense of humour are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humour is just common sense, dancing. Those who lack humour are without judgement and should be trusted with nothing.

Clive James

and…

“Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art.”

Frédéric Chopin

Among the many gems I’ve gathered from Kurt is the Frank Sinatra album, In The Wee Small Hours.

I discovered only yesterday that the cover of Tom Waits’ The Heart of Saturday Night was based on the sleeve of the Sinatra album.

Image: Kurt Harden.

Downtime: Happy by @DerrenBrown

Stoicism for the modern world, death to the self-help book industry, and a healthy scepticism towards social media.

Happy: Why more or less everything is absolutely fine by Derren Brown is superb. It’s beautifully written, wonderfully observed, both philosophical and practical (which once upon a time were one and the same thing). Very thought-provoking.

I think I first heard of Happy from a Donald Robertson interview and it treads similar ground to How to Think Like A Roman Emperor. However, it does so in a completely different way.

I particularly enjoyed Chapter 5, A (Very) Brief History of Happiness.

Thoroughly recommended.

On music – Derren Brown

Bach’s music needs to be unlocked; its emotional content, when discovered, is somehow in and of itself, and uniquely musical. Much of it is deeply confessional. By contrast, Romantic music now seemed to create a broader emotional landscape: that of falling in love, spending a night on a bare mountain, suffering in turmoil or throwing oneself off a parapet. Instead of experiencing those things for ourselves, we are given music that stirs and excites the corresponding emotions within us. Thus the refrains of the Romantics are often more accessible, yielding their power more or less immediately. Those of us who prefer the earlier mode might even say this emotional mode became a mere substitute for experience, and that the unique, private experience of music was diminished.

Derren Brown, Happy (p152)

On a separate note, I love the above portrait, borrowed from DerrenBrown.co.uk. It’s so rich. And, I’m not at all jealous of the laddered library, nor of the impressive amp in the background. No, I’m not.

More on Derren Brown, here.

Image: http://derrenbrown.co.uk/derren/

More on forest bathing

Kurt Harden’s Cultural Offering has this on forest bathing and “nature prescriptions”:

Eventually, I started to be able to distinguish the tiny splashes of singular rain drops onto each delicate leaf, all weaving into the greater song of Mother Nature. I looked down and saw tiny ants scurrying to and from an ant hill as they carried bits of leaves and branches.

Cultural Offering’s post is here.

The underlying article (on the Daily Beast) is here.

We’ve previously discussed the wonders of forest bathing here, here and here.

Photo by Paul Gilmore on Unsplash