20 November 2015

Being British

Tilt's London Liming: where spoken word meets carnival.

Deanna Rodger performing her anti British National Party (BNP) statement piece 'Being British' at Tilt's London Liming: A Come Rhyme With Me Special, London, 09/02/12.

Deanna Rodger is from London. Both her parents are also British. “I was born in Britain, my name doesn’t sound particularly foreign, so in an application no one would know I am a different colour – until they met me.” When they see she isn’t white, she has to face the assumption that she isn’t from London. “This makes me laugh, it’s a bit ridiculous,” she reflects. This is what prompted her to write her poem Being British, which breaks apart the three questions she gets asked all the time: “Where are you from?” (To which she replies London, or Fulham). Followed by: “What country?” (To which she replies England). And this is always followed by: “Where are your parents from?” Racism is “the most terrifying and amusing thing at the same time,” she says.



26 October 2015

The Garden Party

The rich arrived in pairs
And also in Rolls Royces
They talked of their affairs
In loud and strident voices.

The poor arrived in Fords
Whose features they resembled
And laughed to see so many lords
And ladies all assembled. 

The people in between
Looked underdone and harassed
And out of place and mean
And horribly embarrassed.



17 October 2015


This is the weather the cuckoo likes,
And so do I;
When showers betumble the chestnut spikes,
And nestlings fly;
And the little brown nightingale bills his best,
And they sit outside at ‘The Traveller’s Rest,’
And maids come forth sprig-muslin drest,
And citizens dream of the south and west,
And so do I.

This is the weather the shepherd shuns,
And so do I;
When beeches drip in browns and duns,
And thresh and ply;
And hill-hid tides throb, throe on throe,
And meadow rivulets overflow,
And drops on gate bars hang in a row,
And rooks in families homeward go,
And so do I.




10 October 2015


When your face came rising
above my crumpled life,
the only thing I understood at first
was how meager were all my possessions.
But your face cast a peculiar glow
on forests, seas, and rivers,
initiating into the colors of the world
uninitiated me.
I’m so afraid, I’m so afraid,
the unexpected dawn might end,
ending the discoveries, tears, and raptures,
but I refuse to fight this fear.
This fear-I understand-
is love itself. I cherish this fear,
not knowing how to cherish,
I, careless guardian of my love.
This fear has ringed me tightly.
These moments are so brief, I know,
and, for me, the colors will disappear
when once your face has set..



5 October 2015

A Bay In Anglesey

The sleepy sound of a tea-time tide
Slaps at the rocks the sun has dried,

Too lazy, almost, to sink and lift
Round low peninsulas pink with thrift.

The water, enlarging shells and sand,
Grows greener emerald out from land

And brown over shadowy shelves below
The waving forests of seaweed show.

Here at my feet in the short cliff grass
Are shells, dried bladderwrack, broken glass,

Pale blue squills and yellow rock roses.
The next low ridge that we climb discloses

One more field for the sheep to graze
While, scarcely seen on this hottest of days,

Far to the eastward, over there,
Snowdon rises in pearl-grey air.

Multiple lark-song, whispering bents,
The thymy, turfy and salty scents

And filling in, brimming in, sparkling and free
The sweet susurration of incoming sea. 




27 September 2015

20 September 2015

The Reverie of Poor Susan

At the corner of Wood Street, when daylight appears,
Hangs a Thrush that sings loud, it has sung for three years:
Poor Susan has passed by the spot, and has heard
In the silence of morning the song of the Bird.

'Tis a note of enchantment; what ails her? She sees
A mountain ascending, a vision of trees;
Bright volumes of vapour through Lothbury glide,
And a river flows on through the vale of Cheapside.

Green pastures she views in the midst of the dale,
Down which she so often has tripped with her pail;
And a single small cottage, a nest like a dove's,
The one only dwelling on earth that she loves.

She looks, and her heart is in heaven: but they fade,
The mist and the river, the hill and the shade:
The stream will not flow, and the hill will not rise,
And the colours have all passed away from her eyes!




15 September 2015

20 August 2015

Special Relativity

``There was a young lady named Bright,
Whose speed was much faster than light,
She set out one day,
In a relative way,
And returned home the previous night.''

- Arthur Buller (Punch, 19 Dec 1923)


2 August 2015

10 July 2015


I like relativity and quantum theories
because I don't understand them
and they make me feel as if space shifted about
like a swan that can't settle,
refusing to sit still and be measured;
and as if the atom were an impulsive thing
always changing its mind

(Lawrence liked relativity and quantum theory precisely because they blunted the hard edge of scientific objectivity and truth and the reason Lawrence rebelled against the tecnocratic dream may not always have been well reasoned, but it came from a powerful if not unreasonable fear of scientific over-reaching) Davd Lindley in his book:'Uncertainty'


27 May 2015

15 May 2015

Disproportion of man

I want man to consider nature just once , seriously and at leisure, and to look at himself as well, and judge whether there is any proportion between himself and nature by comparing the two.

Let man then contemplate the whole of nature in her full and lofty majesty, let him turn his gaze away from the lowly objects around him; let him see the dazzling light set like an eternal lamp to light up the universe, let him see the earth as a mere speck compared to the vast orbit described by this star, and let him marvel at finding this vast orbit itself to be no more than the tiniest point compared to that described by the stars revolving in the firmament. But if our eyes stop there, let our imagination proceed further; it will grow weary of conceiving things before nature tires of producing them.  The whole visible world is only an imperceptible dot in nature's ample bosom.  No idea comes near it; it is no good inflating our conceptions beyond imaginable space, we only bring forth atoms compared to the reality of things. Nature is an infinite sphere whose centre is everywhere and the circumference nowhere.

Let man, returning to himself, consider what he is in comparison to what exists; let him regard himself lost, and from his little dungeon, in which he finds himself lodged, I mean in the universe, let him take the earth, its realms, its cities, its houses and himself at their proper value.

What is man in the infinite?

But, to offer him another prodigy equally astounding, let him look into the tiniest thing he knows. Let a mite show him in its minute body incomparably more minute parts, legs with joints, veins in its legs, blood in the veins, humours in the blood, drops in the humours, vapours in the drops: let him divide these things still further until he has exhausted his powers of imagination, and let the last thing he comes down to now be the subject of our discourse.  He will perhaps think that this is the ultimate of minuteness in nature. 

I want to show him a new abyss.  I want to depict to him not only the visible universe, but all the conceivable immensity of nature enclosed in this minature atom.  Let him see there an infinity of universes, each with its firmament, its planets, its earth, in the same proportion to the visible world, and on that earth, animals, and finally mites, in which he will find again the same results as in the first; and finding the same thing yet again in the others without end or respite, he will be lost in such wonders, as astounding in their minuteness as the others in their amplitude.  For who will not marvel that our body, a moment ago imperceptible in a universe, itself imperceptible in the bosom of the whole, should now be a colossus, a world, or rather a whole, compared with the nothingness beyond our reach. Anyone who considers himself in this way will be terrified at himself, and, seeing his mass as given by nature, supporting him between these two abysses of infinity and nothingness, will tremble at these marvels. I believe that with his curiosity changing into wonder he will be more disposed to contemplate them in silence than investigate them with presumption.

For, after all, what is man in nature? A nothing compared to the infinite, a whole compared to the nothing, a middle point between all and nothing, infinitely remote from an understanding of the extremes; the end of things and their principles are unattainably hidden from him in impenatrable secrecy.

Man is only a reed, the weakest in nature, but he is a thinking reed.  There is no need for the whole universe to take up arms to crush him: a vapour, a drop of water is enough to kill him. But even if the universe were to crush him, man would still be nobler than his slayer, because he knows that he is dying and the advantage the universe has over him. The universe knows none of this.

Thus all our dignity consists in thought. It is on thought that we must depend for our recovery, not on space and time, which we could never fill. Let us then strive to think well; that is the basic principle of morality.




1 May 2015

Self Discipline

In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves... self-discipline with all of them came first.
Harry S Truman


28 April 2015

Making a Life

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.


27 April 2015

24 April 2015

14 December 2014

Rationalism Vs Empiricism


What is it possible to know?

We should never lose sight of the fact that all our beliefs must be grounded if they are to have any meaning or significance and consequently they must rest upon some verifiable statement.

Rationalism, is the view that regards reason as the chief source and test of knowledge.

Rationalism is any view appealing to intellectual and deductive reason (as opposed to sensory experience or any religious teachings) as the source of knowledge or justification. Thus, it holds that some propositions are knowable by us by intuition alone, while others are knowable by being deduced through valid arguments from intuited propositions. It relies on the idea that reality has a rational structure in that all aspects of it can be grasped through mathematical and logical principles, and not simply through sensory experience.

Reasoning deductively means beginning with a known set of possibilities then ruling-out those that are not applicable until reaching the best solution nearest the truth. Sherlock Holmes used a form of deductive reasoning when working on murder cases.

Rationalists believe that without reason we could not organize and interpret our sense experience in any way. Our mind is constituted in such a way that what we see is seen in an organised, three dimensional way through a framework of understanding. Depth perception is the visual ability to perceive the world in three dimensions (3D) and the distance of an object.

Empiricism is the idea that all knowledge is obtained through observation and experience. But everything we see is largely our own subjective interpretation.   We never see anything directly or as it is, rather we see it as we are. Ludwig Wittgenstein commented that instead of things the world is composed of facts. He further commented that it is not how the things are in the world that is mystical, but that it exists at all. 

Logical positivism (also called logical empiricism and neo-positivism) is a school of philosophy that combines empiricism – the idea that observational evidence is indispensable for knowledge of the world – with a version of rationalism incorporating mathematical and logico-linguistic constructs and deductions. Logical positivism grew from the discussions of a group called the "First Vienna Circle" which gathered at the Café Central before World War I.



7 December 2014

The Relationship of Philosophy to the Arts

And what is Life? An hour-glass on the run,
A mist retreating from the morning sun,
A busy, bustling, still-repeated dream.
Its length? A minute's pause, a moment's thought.
And Happiness? A bubble on the stream,
That in the act of seizing shrinks to nought.
John Clare

“What is Life?” every genuine and successful work of art answers this question in its own way, but all the arts speak in the language of perception rather than in an abstract sense; their answer is thus a fleeting image, not a permanent universal knowledge.  Thus for perception every work of art answers that question, every painting, every stature, every poem, every scene on the stage.  Music also answers it, more profoundly than do all the others, in a language intelligible with absolute directness.  Thus all the other arts together hold before the questioner an image or picture of perception and say: “Look here; this is life!”  However correct their answer may be, it will always afford only a temporary, not a complete and final satisfaction. For they always give only a fragment, an example instead of the rule, not the whole which can be given only in the universality of the concept.  Therefore it is the task of philosophy to give for the concept a reply which is permanent for all time. Moreover we see here on what the relationship between philosophy and the fine arts rests, and can conclude from this to what extent the capacity for the two, though very different in its tendency and in secondary matters, is yet radically the same.
Accordingly, every work of art really endeavours to show life and things as they are in reality; but these cannot be grasped directly by everyone through the mist of objective and subjective contingencies consequently, art provides an implicit means of understanding.
The works of poets, writers, sculptors and pictorial and graphic artists generally contain an acknowledged treasure of profound wisdom, just because the wisdom of the nature of things themselves speaks from them. They interpret the utterances of things merely by elucidation and purer repetition.  Therefore everyone who reads the poem or contemplates the work of art must contribute from his own resources towards bringing that wisdom to light.  It follows from all this that wisdom is certainly contained in the works of the pictorial and graphic artists yet only implicitly.  Philosophy on the other hand, endeavours to provide the same wisdom explicitly; in this sense philosophy is related to the arts as wine is to grapes. What it promises to supply is a clear gain already realised, a universal law, whereas that which comes from the achievements of the arts is only one that is always to be produced afresh.  However philosophy makes severe demands, hard to fulfil not merely for those who are to produce its works, but also for those who are to enjoy them. Consequently the numbers of those interested in philosophy are small, while the audience for the arts is large.   


28 November 2014

PPE: Philosophy, Politics and Economics: a microplay about the power of physical gestures.

Written by Tim Price, directed by Hamish Pirie and choreographed by Ann Yee

PPE, explores the way that physical gestures are used by politicians: the specific techniques and trademark moves that perhaps emphasize key points during political debates.  Although based upon the body language of: Nigel Farage, President Obama and David Cameron, the microplay brings to light the way most politicians tend to adopt and use theatrical techniques and gestures during a political speech.   




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