Thursday, February 24, 2005

Goodbye.

Anyone who knows me personally or who has read this blog for a while probably won't find it too much of a shock to know that I'm going to stop blogging.

After baring my soul online to all and sundry for ... how long has it been now, 10 months? ... I've decided that I've really had quite enough - as is well evidenced by the dearth of posts in the last month. For varying reasons, I just don't have the desire to continue Th'inkwell anymore.

Will I be back? I really don't think so.

Did I enjoy it? Yes.

What did it bring me? Something unbelieveably precious and a wealth of friends that I would have otherwise never met.

What did I learn? How to write unselfconsciously.

What will I be doing with my life from now on? I will be embarking on new adventures that you'll all just have to imagine.

Will I miss this? Occasionally, I think I'll see or hear something that I will be tempted to share with the world. The temptation will pass.

What is my parting pearl of wisdom? That we spend our lives choosing goals and chasing them. Sometimes they're the right goals, sometimes they're the wrong ones. Maturity is unabashedly admitting when you were wrong and changing course if needs be. Life is too brutally short and wondrously beautiful to do anything else.

Best wishes to all my regular readers for the future - may you always obtain what you desire.

M

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Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Politically correct

I used to hate the term 'politics'. I would decry the fact that I just 'didn't do politics' every single time someone tried to help me see that there was a smarter way to get what I wanted done done.

Age and experience seems to have somewhat mellowed me, though.

It seems that I needed to learn that ramming your head against a brick wall isn't always the way to go if you want to get to the other side of that wall. If you turn slightly, you might just find that the brick wall is finite and you can go around it. You get to your goal and you don't need stitches. Makes life just that much better.

Bit of life advice from someone at the rather sage age of 26 here :)

So when I came across this, I realised I had happened upon one of the smarter and deeper lists of wisdom around.

Well worth a look...and an application I think...to so many facets of life.

To me, it's something that I can apply to management - as I'm really not a believer in forcing people to do things. In the end, you see, you *can't* force a human being to think and that's really the most important facet of what anyone does in any job - be it manual or conceptual.

'Politics', to me then, is a somewhat redefined term. It just means getting to the end goal (a good, worthwhile, virtuous...you name it...end goal) with the full realisation that getting anything significant done in life means getting other human beings involved, engaged, motivated and incentivised to help you out. Doesn't need to be anything shady or slimy to it. Understanding human psychology, in fact, and applying that knowledge just makes the journey to that goal smoother for everyone.

*leans back in a large, black leather chair...stroking a persian cat and smoking a cigar*

Yep. That was a most satisfying thinkling.

Now, back to work.

M

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Monday, February 14, 2005

...and dances with the daffodils

I came to London in Spring, so this is my third the city. Spring in London to me will always mean daffodils - everywhere - wild in clumps of riotous yellow, defiantly beautiful in the tired greyness that is the defining colour of this metropolis.

Here and there are patches of different colours...Chelsea, where I am now, is dazzlingly white - bright new spring sunlight reflecting off freshly painted walls. Some of the outer suburbs...the terraces...seem brown from the endless rows of houses that share walls and facades and a street in seceeding monotony.

The moment one steps outside London, of course, everything is green...the lush English countryside positively invades everything man-made that is tentatively placed in it's bosom...vines and creepers and grasses waging endless wars with masonry and cement.

I love the seasons. I love seeing them. They hurry me along and remind me that another handful of months of my life have gone by. They act as an anchor to memories of a year, two years ago when the streets and the sky looked the same and my life, my frame of mind, my expectations were so different.

Spring is traditionally a time of renewal, reinvigoration and respite after the brutality of winter. This spring, I'm reminded of all the things London can give and all the things it can take away - swiftly, without feeling or favour. In that way, the city is as brutal as nature itself. It makes me realise more than ever the importance of shelter and home to us fragile humans.

M

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Thursday, February 03, 2005

Universal thoughts

I've recently been attending the Dana Centre's science lectures/debates/Q&A sessions/dinners and I have to say that for the most part I'm impressed by the caliber of speakers they attract and the evident intelligence of the audience by the questions (and often challenges) posed.

So when the Dana Centre - "...a collaboration between the BA (British Association for the Advancement of Science), the European Dana Alliance for the Brain and the Science Museum."

...introduces an event with:

"The human brain is the most complex structure in the universe."

You've really got to wonder why they let marketing people out of their feng-shui cubbyholes to write anything on the site and publicly make asses of themselves and the Centre. Surely no-one with any scientific training wrote this.

The. Most. Complex. Structure. In. The. Universe.

Presupposing:

* That we know of every structure, every -thing- in the universe. ( A universe, by the way, that we currently don't even have a very good idea of the size and shape of)
* That we have a classification system that can encompass all the elements of all the things in the universe and come up with a single, absolute answer.

How arrogant. How embarrassing.

Science, to my mind anyway, has always been more about the process of questioning than of answering. Answers seem to be the byproduct of active, vigorous, unrepentant and fearless questioning. It's in the field of asking 'What if?' and 'Why?' that science excels.

So any scientist that can comprehensively say that we know it all and - frankly - the most complex thing out there - in a universe we already know is filled with fascinating things like mysterious dark matter, wandering black holes, billowing dust clouds where suns are 'born', twin stars where one 'feeds' off the other in a slow and beautiful dance of death, planets with such extreme conditions that it's difficult for the human mind to -grasp- the terrain - is the squishy stuff in our skulls...worries me. Does it mean that he's satisfied to stop questioning?

Sure, the brain is amazing and complex and a minor miracle considering the fact that humans use the organ in such a unique capacity (look at our cities, community structures, interrelationships, art, science) compared to the other creatures on this planet. But really - THE most complex thing in the UNIVERSE?

Sorry, even -I- can make the judgement call here and say 'Not bloody likely'.

Or at least I hope it's not. How sad it would be to reach out to the stars and come to the conclusion - umpteen generations from now - that there was nothing more interesting, fascinating or complex out there than one of our internal organs.

M

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