Thursday, 29 January 2015


There are days, and the last twenty four hours has encompassed one, when it is possible to believe that one is feeling the pain of the entire world. I suppose that is when people look at you and say "he looks as though he's got the sufferings of the world on his shoulders."

I do not wish to carry the suffering of all humanity on my shoulders. They are broad. But not that broad.

It's just that sometimes the volume of incoming narrative about the suffering of others bears in on one's psyche in a peculiar way - a special vulnerability to seeing that even minor things carry with them their pain, according to the perspective of the sufferer. One man's bereavement is calculable alongside another's relationship breakdown, alongside doubts about self worth in another, alongside money worries, health worries, love worries, you name it. For each, they are real, and palpable. And their presence is pain, none the less real.

When, as today, one finds oneself porous, what is happening?

Is it what they call compassion?

Is it what they call depression?

It is all very well making objective calculations of real impact. I am not sure these measure pain in any way accurately.

It is all very well doing spiritual work on oneself. This may bring a perspective of gratitude, against which to set present pain. But it doesn't change the pain.

Even the devout, with a knowledge that roses grow best in shit, that pain is the best growing medium for transcendence, cannot but admit that the pain has to be real to breed such growth.

Puzzled. Porous. Pensive.

A frozen day, of unfrozen sensibilities.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015


I have a form to fill in.

The first couple of questions are easy. Name. Address. Date of birth. They're simple. Then it comes to profession. Job.

What do I put?

That is more troubling.

The auto response would be management consultant. But the truth is nearer anti management consultant.

The closer I get to a management theory, model or vocabulary, the further away I wish to run.

Where I am deployed, it seems to me that the role I perform is to undermine the subtly dehumanising force of management as a science and breathe back into hierarchy a child like voice of humanity.

To say it is about stating the bleeding obvious is to state the bleeding obvious.

Yet it seems that it sometimes takes an innocent daring from outside a system to name the system's patent human erosions.

To say: that practice there - we wouldn't, couldn't do that with someone we love.

Sunday, 25 January 2015


I was struggling to help a friend, in some difficulty. Another wise friend advised "stop trying to help. Just enjoy them."

What golden advice this has been.

Advice which I passed on to someone else this last week. Their elderly parent is finally failing - physical and mental health on the severe decline. A brother visits the relative, but offers no help. Indeed, he is looked after by the ageing parent on his visits.

My view? The apparently dependant son is actually helping, without even meaning to do so. When parents age, it is a severe challenge to get them to break the habit of a lifetime - of looking after their brood. When they can no longer do this, I think it is common that they lose purpose, and thus the will to live. That certainly happened in the case of my own mother before she died. She could not and would not accept that her son could and would help her. It was her job to do that. Not mine. I struggled for a long time, even after her death, to understand this. I believe she died, not from the illnesses which invaded her body, but from having no credible (in her mind) reason to carry on living.

Friday, 23 January 2015


If you can't win the peace, why fight the war?
If you can't win the war, why fight the battle?
If you can't win the battle, why fight the skirmish?

Monday, 5 January 2015


= you th.