The Certainty of Uncertainty

The Certainty of Uncertainty

I had the pleasure of being invited to dinner the other day by friends we have known for almost 20 years. Among their guests was a person with whom I had real difficulty communicating. The chief difficulty was that he seemed so certain of all his opinions, that there seemed to be little room for discussion. The situation was perhaps more difficult because we disagree on many important issues.

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General Ignorance

General Ignorance

Ignorance is always with us. There was a time when an educated person in Europe could pretty much know everything that was considered important (by Europeans). Part of this education was the “Grand Tour” – an extended journey around Europe and the Mediterranean to see ancient sites, visit libraries and galleries, and revisit the classic Greek and Roman texts. Read more about General Ignorance

Pick your Mistakes

Pick your Mistakes

Some mistakes teach, and some can kill you. The challenge is to know one from the other.

We all make mistakes. It’s part of our untidy human condition. The interesting question is how to reduce the severity of the mistakes we make, and how to deal with them when they happen. Making the right mistakes means that we learn and grow. The wrong mistakes put a permanent damper on our future.

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Hope for a  Better World

Hope for a Better World

Violence seems to be all around us. Journalists and politicians, especially in the run-up to an election, love to create the burning platform – a sense of urgency that sends adrenalin pumping through our veins, and justifies their sound-bites and simplistic talking points.

 But it turns out that our sense of danger is not supported by the facts. Stephen Pinker’s extraordinary book The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined lays out the argument that in many tangible ways, the world is safer now than it has ever been. Read more about Hope for a Better World