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26 May, 2017
  George Carlin (1937-2008) is widely regarded as one of the USA’s most influential, countercultural, stand up comedians.   'The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends. I mean, life is tough. It takes a lot of your time. And what do we get at the end of it? Death! What’s that...a bonus? I think the life cycle is backwards. You should die first and get it out of the way. Then you live in an old age home. You get kicked out when you’re too young. You get your first gold watch. You go to work. You work forty years or until you're young enough to enjoy your retirement. You do drugs, alcohol - you party. You get ready for High School. You go to Grade School. You go back into the womb spend 9 months floating... and finish off as an orgasm!'   That&r - Read full bulletin

19 May, 2017
  During the counterculture (hippie) movement of the 1960s - I found Herman Hesse's novel Siddharta - went on to enjoy lots of his stuff; his 'quest for enlightenment' theme still resonates - find this a comforting quote:   “If what matters in a person's existence is to accept the inevitable consciously, to taste the good and bad to the full and to make for oneself a more individual, unaccidental and inward destiny alongside one's external fate, then my life has been neither empty nor worthless.  Even if, as it is decreed by the gods, fate has inexorably trod over my external existence as it does with everyone, my inner life has been of my own making.  I deserve its sweetness and its bitterness and accept full responsibility for it.”   That&r - Read full bulletin

12 May, 2017
  This week Iain Macwhirter tweeted comment on Brexit by France’s new President Macron; I wonder if this is clear enough for Prime Minister May.   "Britain must understand that our interest is to have clear rules. So, if Britain wants to trade with Europe, it has to choose a model, such as the Swiss, Norwegian or Canadian. We have to accept that there will be losses - but it's the British who will lose the most.  You cannot enjoy rights in Europe if you are not a member - otherwise it will fall apart.  Europe is what has enabled us since 1945, in an unprecedented way, to preserve peace, security, freedom and prosperity in our continent; the British are making a serious mistake over the long term.....  Both politically and financially, we now see British realignment and submission to the US.  What is going to happen is not 'taking back control': it’s servitude."   That&r - Read full bulletin

05 May, 2017
  Robert M. Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, has died aged 88. When his book became a publishing sensation in the 1970’s, I fancied myself as part of the counterculture – but not sure how much of the book's meanderings I understood. The New York Times provides a good obituary.   ‘One of Pirsig’s central ideas is that so-called transcendent experience and so-called ordinary experience are one and the same; the mind/body dualism soldered into Western consciousness by philosophers like Plato and Aristotle is wrong; that the real world is a seamless continuum of the material and the metaphysical: “The Buddha, the Godhead, resides quite as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as it does on the top of a mountain or the petals of a flower”.’   That&r - Read full bulletin

28 April, 2017
  In 1969, as his classic TV series Civilisation ended, Kenneth Clark made these concluding remarks:  "I believe that order is better than chaos, creation better than destruction. I prefer gentleness to violence, forgiveness to vendetta. On the whole I think that knowledge is better than ignorance, and I am sure that human sympathy is more valuable than ideology. I believe that in spite of the recent triumphs of science, men haven’t changed much in the last two thousand years; and in consequence we must still try to learn from history. I believe in courtesy, the ritual by which we avoid hurting other people. And I think that we are part of a great whole which we call nature - that all living things are our brothers and sisters.”   That&r - Read full bulletin

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