In celebration of the Luddites

The term Luddite has now become a defamatory term, synonymous with those who oppose technological progress. However, it is worth remembering that the Luddites were simply protesting against the unintended consequences of this new technology – their loss of autonomy, power and devaluation of their skills. The machines were symbolic of this change.

A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge

“Every learner hath a deference more or less to authority, especially the young learners, few of that kind caring to dwell long upon principles, but inclining to take them upon trust: And things early admitted by repetition become familiar: And this familiarity at length passeth for evidence.”

Maurice Maeterlinck on environmental limits

“…when the phenomenon shall have trespassed beyond certain limits, she will beckon to life or to death – which arrives, re-establishes order, and unconcernedly marks out the path afresh.”

Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED talk on nurturing creativity

A wonderful and inspiring talk by American writer, Elizabeth Gilbert author of ‘Eat. Pray. Love’

Why the magic bullet?

‘Technology is […] a queer thing. It brings you gifts with one hand, and stabs you in the back with the other.’ CP Snow, New York Times (1971) Magic bullets, by their very nature, are reductionist. By simplifying problems within the complex systems that we live in – the biosphere, the economy, society itself – … Continue reading

The story of Der Freischütz

Set in a mountainous and thickly wooded Bohemian landscape in the 17th century, Der Freischütz tells the tale of Max, a young gamekeeper. Max is in love with Agathe, daughter of the head ranger to Prince Ottokar. To win her hand, an ancient custom requires Max to prove his skill as a marksman on the … Continue reading

The history of the magic bullet

On a particularly cool summer’s day in June 1907, Professor Paul Ehrlich , a brilliant German scientist and physician stood before his peers and delivered his third Harben lecture to the Royal Institute of Public Health, London. In it, he outlined his theory on magic bullets – a drug that could to pin point a bacteria or virus, destroy it, leaving everything else untouched.

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