The disappearance of stories from the world

If Snorri Sturlusen had not turned his court poet ear to the old stories among his people, which the Church urged them to forget in favour of just one book, then the stories of Freya and Odin, Loki and Yggdrasill would have disappeared from the world. Yet these stories survived. Their conquerors were followers of … Continue reading The disappearance of stories from the world

Traditions beyond politics

For much of my life I have thought about questions of politics and government. How can government respond to any one of dozens of social issues that have occupied my professional life? What can government do? How can a policy issue be presented to political decision-makers in a way that holds their attention, if briefly, … Continue reading Traditions beyond politics

Staying sane and the infinite conversation

He was a lonely ghost uttering a truth that nobody would ever hear. But so long as he uttered it, in some obscure way the continuity was not broken. It was not by making yourself heard but by staying sane that you carried on the human heritage George Orwell Nineteen Eighty-Four The lonely and arduous duty … Continue reading Staying sane and the infinite conversation

The extinction of meaning

The solitary writer dwells in an oppressive fear; that the line of culture, the traditions, the teachings that his labors seek to preserve against the decay of all human institutions, this thread of meaning, which he has painstakingly recovered from the past and braided with the personal traumas that inspire any writer, this way of … Continue reading The extinction of meaning

An interlude on disaffection and living in truth

Yet again today I had the experience of feeling like I belonged nowhere and with no one in a room discussing political ideas. Yet again I felt disaffected from all political institutions, homeless among political ideas, cast out and made to appear a madman in expressing political thoughts. Where everyone appeals to networks and reputation, … Continue reading An interlude on disaffection and living in truth