Author Archives: leewatkins

Toynbee and the Enlightenment

Arnold J Toynbee has some bad news in Volume VI of his A Study of History: Western civilisation is showing all the signs of being in its final decline. Civilisations decline when they fail to respond to challenges they face. … Continue reading

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Review: The Moon and Sixpence

I picked up The Moon and Sixpence, having heard it was “inspired by the life of Paul Gauguin,” expecting to read a novelised biography of the artist, with an appropriate level of artistic licence. What you get with this book, … Continue reading

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Reading Toynbee

Perhaps there’s nothing you have to do and nowhere you have to be. You’re on your own, so you’ve only yourself to worry about. But what is there to worry about when you’ve only yourself to worry about? A quiet … Continue reading

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Sunday I Ching: On Throwing Things Away and Going to China

Where have you been? There’s no getting rid of the clutter. In this life now I am surrounded by old papers, magazines, short blunt pencils, piles of wrinkle-spined novels, a dusty-lidded and long-closed piano, and plastic containers for used up … Continue reading

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Notes on The Soft Machine Chapter 10: “Last Hints”

This chapter is about Carl continuing his travels through space and time by finding a new body. He’s back in the city of catwalks and ladders and cable-cars in the middle of a jungle. Presumably he’s already changed bodies at … Continue reading

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Notes on The Soft Machine Chapter 8: “I Sekuin”

“… the old hop smoking world I created …” Who created it? “I Sekuin …” Who are you? “I Sekuin Perfected These Arts Along The Streets Of Minraud.” Sekuin has perfected the art of image-control. Word dust blows through the … Continue reading

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Hegel: Knowledge, Desire, and Freedom

The first part of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, concerning “consciousness,” shows us how knowledge of objects is knowledge only of oneself. In other words, it describes how we reach the initial premise of “transcendental idealism” – a philosophy created by … Continue reading

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