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A Failure of Democracy: A Current Postscript

A Failure of Democracy: A Current Postscript English Education at the start of the 21st Century[1] John Abbott, in a discussion with his assistant of five years Jim Robinson, reflects on the political and philanthropic landscapes, and the rise of globalised solutions… Jim Robinson (JR): I came to work with the Initiative in September 2010, […]

Thesis 94 – Precious and Extraordinarily Fragile

If civilisation is to survive, we have to live on the interest, not the capital, of nature.  Ecological markers suggest that in the early 1960s, humans were using about 70% of nature’s yearly output; by the end of the 1980s had reached 100%; and in 1999 we were at 125%.  We are raiding ‘the larder’, […]

Thesis 92 – Roots of Democracy

Humans thrive amidst webs of social relationships.  Our innate self-centredness is tempered by the social skills learnt within the family; families prosper when they are supported by others within recognisable and lively communities, while dynamic communities are the bedrock on which democracy has to be built.   An over-dose of individuality (important as that is […]

Thesis 62 – Learning Makes Sense

“Our education, like our civilisation, is penetrated with an unintelligent utilitarianism, which makes us feel that we ought to be doing something ‘useful’; useful subjects are indispensable, but the prior task of education is surely to inspire, to give a sense of values and the power of distinguishing in life, as in lesser things, what […]

Thesis 53 – Death of the Craftsman

What has gone wrong, an ever-increasing proportion of people now ask themselves, that “we have no time to stand and stare?”  A cult of efficiency, based on the commodification of time, seems to have so pervaded our way of living that we are in danger of losing our natural connection to the beauty and majesty […]

Thesis 47 – An Educational Rape

  “You are all of you in this land brothers”, Plato told the Greeks, “but when God formed you he added gold in the composition of those who were qualified to be Rulers; he put silver in the Auxiliaries; and iron and bronze in the farmers and the rest”.1   The mid-Victorians thought differently to […]

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