The tragedy of the modern university

Jordan Peterson has proposed the creation of an alternative to the modern university that offers free or low-cost education rooted in the true traditions of the liberal humanities, stripped of their post-modern "indoctrination cults." I support this venture. I agree with Peterson's criticisms of the ideological possession of  the shouty professors, who are read by... Continue Reading →

Advertisements

Able Archer 83 and the virtue of human decision making

Over the weekend I read Taylor Downing, 1983: the world at the brink. It gave me new perspectives on the dimly sensed fear of apocalypse that I remember from my youth. In the early 1980s the Cold War rose to a late crescendo as Ronald Reagan poked the Russian bear into vengeful fury. It is... Continue Reading →

A postscript on Utopia

Coincidentally - a word that tricks chance into being fate - I was reading this week Maria Popova's account of Wisława Szymborska's celebration of not knowing. Szymborska said, in her acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize, that it is from the humility of not knowing that inspiration comes - in any profession, not merely writing: "Inspiration... Continue Reading →

Bureaucratic utopianism

Bureaucracy is not meant to be Utopian. After all, is not bureaucracy the home of the conformist, the cynical realists, the domesticator of conflict, the administrator of dreams, the banality of evil? Karl Mannheim wrote in Ideology and Utopia: "The fundamental tendency of all bureaucratic thought is to turn all problems of politics into administration....... Continue Reading →

Poem: Losing my direction

This morning I have posted an old post that was caught in the wordpress software, and begged to be released, on the borderlands of madness. And a fast follow-up - this new poem on losing my direction. Losing my direction The mornings drift away now. Spikes in my hair no more. Seventeen seconds reminds me... Continue Reading →

Borderlands of madness

Demi-fous. Mazeland. Dazeland. Driftland. Incipient lunatics. Hysterics. Neurotics. Carriers of latent brain disease. Neurasthenia. Sufferers of high prevalence disorders. People with shattered nerves. Stressed out kittens. The traumatised. The burnt ones. Melancholics. The worried well. There are so many names designating those who prowl in the borderlands between madness and reason. Some of these names are... Continue Reading →

Renovating the Burning Archive

I have spent the morning renovating the Burning Archive. A new theme changes the look and will feature more posts on the landing page so that you can sample more of my writing. I have also added several pages that gather together the main categories of my writing. My poetry collections features links to the... Continue Reading →

Craft, voice and the fire

"We all know poetry isn’t a craft that you can just turn on and off. It has to strike fire somewhere, and truth, maybe unpleasant truth about yourself, may be the thing that does that." Robert Lowell, from a letter quoted in Setting the River on Fire: A Study of Genius, Mania, and Character (2017) by... Continue Reading →

Poem: Snow falls on the suburban plain

Here is a poem that I will before too long include in a collection titled Dr Cogito's Rebellion. Snow falls on the suburban plain. I shelter, wrapped in a library of wool. The prophecies of last winter Stand unproven before me. Was the doom of governments so sure? Did the blood-dimm’d tide swell and fall... Continue Reading →

On the history and meaning of the eight hour day

The story I told in this article still has resonance for me. It was a story about how, even in the apparently material conditions that defined work and industrial conflict, the meaning of events were inseparable from the striving for recognition and the webs of significance that we, culture-making beings, weave through the time of our lives.

The poet in a time of terror

In December 2017 a man in a black SUV drove his car into a group of pedestrians crossing the street outside Flinders Street station in central Melbourne. The incident had occurred less than a year since the Bourke St event, two city blocks away, leading to the deaths of six people, a traumatised city, a... Continue Reading →

The collapsing new buildings of government

"In truth, the problem of declining trust in political institutions, is better conceived as the collapse of authority of the new nomenklatura in liberal democracies. And that, I hypothesise, has its roots in the disintegration of the civic cultures that these elites attempt to govern." from The Burning Archive (22 April 2018) My apologies for quoting from my own... Continue Reading →

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑