Russia, Colombia, Adam Phillips, Donald Hall, Philosophy Books

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Understanding The Russian Revolution

Carolyn Harris | Smithsonian | 28th November 2016

First in a series of articles on the events leading up to the Russian revolution. Patriotic reaction to the outbreak of World War One had initially strengthened Tsar Nicholas II’s grip on Russia. But soon the war was sapping the country’s money, morale and manpower. A million Russians died in the Brusilov offensive of 1916, for which Nicholas was directly responsible as commander-in-chief. The growing influence of Rasputin over the imperial family further undermined their popularity (1,500 words)

The Colombian Peace And Its Discontents

Juan Diego Prieto | n+1 | 28th November 2016

Report from Colombia assessing why voters rejected a peace deal with FARC rebels after 52 years of war. “A few minutes after the encounter with the police officers, I find myself in another conversation about the referendum, this time in a taxicab. The driver makes the same points: They were going to hand the country over to the FARC. They were going to take loads of money away from upstanding citizens and give them to former guerrillas. You can’t rehabilitate those people” (2,700 words)

The Art Of Non-Fiction: Adam Phillips

Paul Holdengräber | Paris Review | 2nd May 2014

Discussion of psychoanalysis and writing. “The great thing about the psychoanalytic treatment is that it doesn’t work in the usual sense of work. I don’t mean by this to avoid the fact that it addresses human suffering. I only mean that it takes for granted that an awful lot of human suffering is simply intractable, that there’s a sense in which character is intractable. One thing you discover is the limits of what you can change about yourself or your life. We are children for a very long time” (8,400 words)

Between Solitude And Loneliness

Donald Hall | New Yorker | 15th October 2016

Alone at 87, the poet Donald Hall remembers his life and those with whom he shared it. “I spend my days alone in one of two chairs. From an overstuffed blue chair in my living room I look out the window at the unpainted old barn, golden and empty of its cows and of Riley the horse. I look at a tulip; I look at snow. In the parlour’s mechanical chair, I write these paragraphs and dictate letters. People want to come visit, but mostly I refuse them, preserving my continuous silence.” (Metered paywall) (1,400 words)

Best Philosophy Books Of 2016

Sophie Roell | Five Books | 28th November 2016

Nigel Warburton recommends books by Sarah Bakewell, Peter Singer, Anthony Gottlieb and others. On Peter Singer: “Australia has produced a large number of excellent philosophers per capita. People often talk of the Anglo-American tradition. I think they should talk of the Anglo-American-Australian tradition, possibly not in that order. It’s surprising how few philosophers writing today say anything that could ruffle anyone’s feathers to the extent that they would go out and try and kill you” (6,500 words)

Video of the day: Come Together

What to expect:

Heartwarming Christmas film directed by Wes Anderson, for H&M, with Adrien Brody (3’50”)

Thought for the day

Not everything is unsayable in words, only the truth
Eugene Ionesco

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