The Sheep Look Up etc.

Political

I’ve written a few short pieces for a public audience recently.

The Conversation: The Sheep Look Up: Cult 1970s sci-fi novel predicted today’s climate crisis

Philosophy Now: Spinoza and the troubles of the heart

The Conversation: How 17th century Britain’s ‘cancel culture’ can help us understand the importance of free speech

The first one I had fun working on. The original draft was more radical, but I was glad to get across some of my points, particularly around narratives, metaphors and frames, which I’ve been thinking a lot about recently. The discussion, in the comments and also by email, has been really interesting. These debates will return to the fore when the next IPCC report comes out on societal impacts next week.

I’ve been driving a lot around the A13 and Thames estuary. Reading lots. Getting immersed in debates around class, capitalism and colonialism, and about dreams, ideology and damaged life, all on that stretch. Mining for the next book, the keywords of the near future.

I was on strike this week and last, like many. The response by UUK to UCU’s counter-proposals to the pension was galling. Late at night, I’m often doom-scrolling posts from academics about working conditions and what’s going on. There’s so much I want to say about my experiences and feelings, pre-OU (which has been a wonderful place to work), but I can’t bring myself to it. Looking at that time, late PhD and post-PhD, it was a blur of illness, exhaustion, hope, fear, anxiety, goodwill, wishful thinking, anger, solidarity, isolation and love – love of teaching, love of the craft. I have nothing coherent to say and probably won’t for some time. I will be on strike next week.

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