History is made up of gains as well as losses. Sometimes it is easy to say which is which. Sometimes it depends on where you’re sitting.
What is different today is that living to grow old has become a reasonable expectation, something we can almost take for granted, rather than a matter of luck.
These days, people talk a lot about ‘the art of hosting’, but that is only one half of the dance of hospitality: there is an art of guesting, too. I can say this with conviction, because I have been a lousy guest, in my time, and lately I’ve had the luck to live with someone who teaches me to notice the things that make a person easy to have around: the moments at which an artful guest steps...
Would Ivan Illich have been better understood if the book for which he was best known had been titled, instead, Rehoming Society? For our school systems were not his particular obsession: rather, he saw them as a graphic example of a deeply and damagingly counterproductive way of organising our lives.
In the opening pages of The Spell of the Sensuous, David Abram stands in the night outside his hut in Bali, the stars spread across the sky, mirrored from below in the water of the rice paddies, and countless fireflies dancing in between. This disorientating abundance of wonder is close to what many of his readers have felt on encountering Abram’s words and his way of making sense of the world.