Lies, Lies, & Alternative Facts

In Philip K Dick’s (1928-1982) Beyond Lies the Wub, we have a particular paradigm of lying, of deception. The Wub is described as “a huge pig. It must weigh four hundred pounds”. And, it was dirty and “flies buzzed about its flank”. Nonetheless, its physical appearance distracted from its intelligent ploy which was to replicate itself…

COVID19 and the Re-emergence of Tyranny

This is the hardest blog post I have written yet. I had started out aiming to write about the re-emergence of tyranny in the context of the COVID19 crisis but I was ambushed by events, specifically by the brutal and intentional murder of George Floyd, a black man, by a white policeman in Minneapolis, aided…

Darkness & Light in Jumoke Verissimo’s A Small Silence

Jumoke Verissimo’s new novel, A Small Silence, amongst other things is about darkness. The actual material darkness of not turning the lights on at night and of inhabiting a darkened room with the curtains drawn during the day. It is within this nightly space that Desire meets and converses with Prof.   The tradition of…

Wub, swibble & pizzled- neologisms and meaning

  I've cycled to Quarteira from Vilamoura, distance of just under 5 miles. It's a very warm morning. The sun is a strong even searing midday brightness glistening and bouncing off the sea. Even I with my dark eyes, have to squint. This is November but it could easily be midsummer.   The restaurants are…

Winter Blues: I begin to discern the profile of my death

  Oliver Sacks has just revealed that he has terminal cancer. This sad news from the voice of humane medicine put me in mind of Marguerite Yourcenar’s Memoirs of Hadrian, an account of the last days of a great man, looking back and forwards, in a letter to Marcus Aurelius.     The letter opens…

The Journey In My Head

  In 1931, probably in November, Bernardo Soares daydreamed during ‘the journey between Cascais and Lisbon’. He said I went to Cascais in order to pay the tax on a house my boss Vasques owns in Estoril. I looked forward eagerly to the trip, an hour there and an hour back, a chance to watch…

Prayer and melancholia

That human life must be some kind of mistake is sufficiently proved by the simple observation that man is a compound of needs which are hard to satisfy; that their satisfaction achieves nothing but a painless condition in which he is only given over to boredom; and that boredom is a direct proof that existence…

Absence of mirrors

  Imagine an absence of mirrors. Without any reflective surface, how would anyone know what his face looked like? Whether or not he is comely? And, what of the link between his facial appearance and his self-identity, his distinctiveness? Everything is then in the eye, in the eye of the Other. In the absence of…

Borges and I

  In ‘Borges and I’ Borges (1899-1986) confronted the deep problems of the self, who we ultimately are, what persists of us when we die, and what our relationship is with the world and with our inner self. He said It would be an exaggeration to say that ours is a hostile relationship; I live,…