being natural, Intelligence, less is better, natural, simplicity

FULLER AND FASTER

The world is fuller and faster. In fact, it’s more than that. The world is also noisier, busier and, by all accounts, more anxious.

The world is fuller, in the sense that there are more things in it, more things to do, and more of us. Just think of the word “shopping” and you will know what I mean. Never have we had so much choice, and never have we had so many pressures to acquire things.

The world is getting faster by the day. We can travel at speed, and we can communicate instantaneously with virtually anyone, anywhere. We have never experienced such speed and “instantness” before. We are not sure what to do with it.

The world is noisier. We say much more – on phones, email, texts, chat shows, and so many other ways. Much of this counts as noise, defined as “unwanted sound”. This is not all. Muzak is everywhere – in shops and shopping centres, and in trains and planes. To call this irritating is to be kind! And then there is the sound of traffic…and so on. We have made a very noisy world. Is this what we really want?

The world is busier – indeed people these days think being busy is a virtue! Many of us are constantly active, often doing more than one thing at a time…such as driving and texting and drinking coffee. If we are not actually doing something, we are probably planning the next activity. Sitting quietly, doing nothing has become so rare that people run courses in it under various banners, such as Zen and “mindfulness”.

And the world is more anxious, with good reason. The climate is changing dangerously. Sociopaths are in power. Inequality has reached Victorian levels. And there is no sign that we human beings have renounced war. Good cause indeed to be worried, and the anxiety is evident in many ways – retail therapy; “space-filling” activities, such as eating, drinking, sex and drugs; and the fact that we have become ludicrously risk-averse.

Need it be this way? Clearly not! One can easily envisage a world that is emptier, with more space, literally and metaphorically. It is slower, more leisurely. People are not rushing towards the end of their lives! They have time to stop and stare. It is a quieter, more peaceful world. People still talk, of course, and there is good music. But there is much less unwanted sound. It is a less busy world. People still do things, but they do fewer of them. They value the quality of what they do, rather than the quantity. And, yes, people are still anxious. That’s just part of being human. But I suspect that in an emptier, slower, quieter, less busy world, we would not have sociopaths in power, the climate would be in its natural state, gross inequality would be a thing of the past, and that we would use peaceful means to settle disputes. In short, we would be less anxious!

Taoist

Introducing Chris Thomson

Introducing Chris Thomson – A Catalan Scot

Perhaps I should say a few words about me

I am Scottish, from Glasgow, and I live in the Pyrenees in northern Catalunya. Although still part of Spain, the people here are keen to have their freedom and independence. It’s not unlike Scotland. The countryside is rugged and beautiful, and the people reflect this. They are not easy to get to know, but they are worth getting to know!

I have had an eccentric career, and this no doubt reflects who I am. I spent a short while trying to be an economist at the Bank of England, often wondering what my role was. As much to escape London as anything else, I moved north to do research in scientific Chinese. By this time I had a young family and this is why I looked for something that seemed more stable…so I became a lawyer in Scotland. I never really felt comfortable doing this, so it came as little surprise when, in 1985, I found myself Chair of the Natural Medicines Commission. That changed a lot, because I was able to explore “new” initiatives, such as the New Economics and the New Physics. I even trained as a psychotherapist!

Arguably the biggest change came in 1998 when I was invited to join a new think tank in Scotland. In theory, it was about new thinking and new ideas. In practice, people are resistant to most things new, and I discovered this painfully. Although a lot of people talk about change, very few actually do it. There are a host of reasons for this, and I am sure we will encounter some of them as this blog develops.

I find it hard to describe myself these days. In fact, I prefer not to be categorised. I would rather be thought of as just a human being. I realise that this probably goes against the tide, but again this is who I am.

What interests me most these days? Many things…primarily the people I love…my daughter and my son, my three grandchildren, and my partner Ana. And I love flying down the mountains on my skis.

Am I interested in world affairs…Trump, climate change, grotesque inequality, and so on? Of course I am, but I don’t let it get to me. The main thing, I believe, is to try to live wisely and well, to be as fully human as possible, and to have a lot of laughs.