Talking of brains…

Imagine there’s a huge multinational organisation that sells online, mostly books, but electrical too and much more.

Imagine they have a terrible record for treating their workers with respect.

Imagine, if you will, they become fed up with those pesky campaigns, calling on them to attend more to their workers needs.

Someone at board level has a bright idea. He’s a firm believer in dualism and in particular, Descartes. He suggests they try an orthodox solution. Devise a chemical reagent to disperse in the water supply to control the pineal gland.

“My view is that this gland,” said Descartes, “is the principal seat of the soul, and the place in which all our thoughts are formed.” Continue reading

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Thinking is dead

Remember this front page from The Sun last week?

“This is the pig’s ear Ed made of a helpless bacon sarnie. In 48 hours he could be doing this to Britain.”

What has a bacon sandwich – even a helpless one – to say about a politician’s competence to govern a country?

This cover story merely showed a flair for a clever turn of phrase, a picture that would normally be deleted by a discerning photographer and perhaps a lack of hand eye coordination.
This is not information, not news and a planet away from thinking.

This is vituperation. Continue reading

I live in a world of promise

I live in a world of promise.

When I was hungry someone gave me food, and I promised something in return.
I made him a coat.
But, I said, it took me much longer to make your coat than it did for you to make my food.
So he promised me two days food.
I made another coat.
Two people wanted it. One offered me two days of food. The other offered me a plate.
I took the plate.
Hearing how warm, dry and happy my coat made these two people, three more people wanted my coat.
The first offered food. The second offered a plate. The third offered a chair and all the food he had.
I took his chair and his food. Continue reading

It’s crucial to prepare for the zombie apocalypse

This was the third talk I prepared for the Swindon Festival of Literature Think Slam, 2014, but never got to perform. I dedicate this to fellow zombie fan and philosopher, Sandrine Berges.

It’s crucial to prepare for the zombie apocalypse.

If we’re to believe the current fad in fiction, the zombie apocolypse is coming.

And so we should be ready for it.

Now before you shuffle in your seats and wonder when it was this turned into a Sci-Fi convention, I’m talking about what happens when the oil runs out, the electricity goes off and we’re immune to anti-biotics. Continue reading

Public benefit services should only to be run as not-for-profit

This was the second piece performed in the Swindon Festival of Literature Think Slam, 2014.

At the Think Slam two years ago, someone gave an interesting three minuter about how the welfare state should not be run by social enterprise.

I’m here to say that it should and so should other public benefit services.

In the last two years we’ve seen the NHS been virtually put up for sale and bought by the French. Schools have been run by businesses.

Public transport either slashed to extinction or priced beyond the ordinary wage. Letting agencies charge extortionate prices to renters before they even move into accommodation. Continue reading

Why we should tell five year olds about sex

A slightly abbreviated version of this was ‘performed’ at the Swindon Festival of Literature Think Slam 2014.

Modern society – especially our British and American societies – have a weird relationship with sex. Women who discreetly bare their breasts in public to feed an infant have been ostracised, as demonstrated by Holly McNish’s experience-inspired poem ‘Embarrassed’. Whereas page three of The Sun bearing young women’s breasts for sexual pleasure continues unabated. And news reports of pedophilia are run next to stories of female celebrities who have just turned sixteen and therefore suddenly sexually available. Continue reading