What is woo-woo “energy”? A conversational theory…

July 27, 2017 § 6 Comments

The Portrait Machine by Carlo Van de Roer

One evening I was having dinner with a research biologist. For some reason we arrived ar the topic of woo woo ‘energy’ and he was highly skeptical of the term, obviously. Wine in hand, I took up the challenge to explain it.

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Stepping into the ‘Real’ Work

September 12, 2016 § Leave a comment


Turbulent life changes bring reflection. I had to leave home (a beautiful rented house and friend-renters) by December 27th. Plans crystallised over the in-between days.

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Positive Design Manifesto – Pamela Pavliscak

March 21, 2016 § Leave a comment

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Pamela Pavliscak, founder of Change Sciences is leading some fascinating work with purpose. Technology has been burdened with much of our 21st century misery, but with intention can be a force for positivity and happiness in deeper ways.

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A child understanding emotion

September 4, 2015 § Leave a comment


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Measuring Love in an fMRI Scanner

January 4, 2014 § Leave a comment

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A charming film from Aeon Magazine – five ‘competing’ individuals generate feelings of love in an fMRI scanner at Stanford. Watch film here.

Art and Illness Symposium: What does illness feel like?

January 16, 2013 § 7 Comments


For the vast majority of us, illness is where life and death meet. It’s a guarantee that even if we ourselves don’t get seriously sick soon one of our loved ones will. Knowing a little of what to expect and trying to imagine that will prepare us and help us be more compassionate if our mother, say, screams random obscenities at us. Or we ourselves might find strength knowing that this indescribable agony is shared with countless others. I know it did for me. I hope this post may be of some value to even one person who may feel confused or misunderstood right now. The speakers gave so much of their time to the symposium (more here) that I hope to do a little justice to them here. « Read the rest of this entry »

What I learned from ‘The Experience of Illness: Learning from the Arts – a Symposium’ at University College Cork, 2012.

January 4, 2013 § 2 Comments


Roundtable Discussion

The reductionist methods of science, so well taught to physicians, need to be linked with an imaginative investigation of our patients’ experience.– David H Alpers

Without exception, everyone’s lives are somehow or other effected by illness. It is a pressing concern to develop understanding of, and therefore empathy for the ill, which leads to better care. Empathy involves being able to put oneself in another’s shoes and to actively imagine their experience. To do so we must understand the experience in detail. However, the ill have greatly reduced verbal capacities and verbal language cannot fully describe pain and experience. So communication methods must go beyond words to better describe experience. « Read the rest of this entry »

Cultural Depictions of Meloncholy

June 4, 2012 § Leave a comment

Frontispiece to original edition of The Anatomy of Meloncholy « Read the rest of this entry »

How many steps to happiness?

May 12, 2011 § 3 Comments

Since 1970, the UK’s GDP has doubled, but people’s satisfaction with life has hardly changed. (NEF)   Evidence-based approaches to well-being are emerging and there are a plethora of initiatives and groups transforming those insights into policy and public health campaigns. Recently the Action for Happiness campaign was launched. With a manifesto in the Guardian by one of the directors, Mark Williamson and a smashing website by Public Zone, yet another positive trumpet call has been sent to take care of our well-being. So, what are the suggested means to that end? Below is a rapid countdown from ten of some tactics to gain happiness from current to ancient thinking. Each suggestion is the outcome of volumes of research and wisdom….

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RSS Compassion Feed

April 1, 2011 § 2 Comments

Love this project by the Design Interaction Team in Goldsmiths, London is so simple but followed months of ethnographic research. Those Poor Clare nuns aren’t allowed whizzy gadgets, only the basics of life. So they verge on being cut off from life, and thus, their prayers following a similar fate. This cross shaped device fits aesthetically into the world of the convent, but also distills the news into a stream of basic messages, on which to contemplate and connect (I presume). Maybe we could all do with a little action-based tweet reading?

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