The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts from the “Personal” Category

A City’s Potential Stifled By Self-Doubt

Posted on April 24, 2018

The quote holds out hope for what a mid-sized city can become: “These cities have the potential to become leaders of sustainable and inclusive city-building initiatives across Canada.” It’s posted on the website of Evergreen Canada, a group coming to London on May 15-16 to see if we can make the cut as a municipality dynamic enough to carve out a more prosperous and meaningful future for itself. That Evergreen is coming to London at all, in co-operation with numerous local organizations, might be a sign that it values our potential, but it could just as well be a recognition that we are floundering enough as a community that we could use some outside help. It’s tough in a country as spread out as…

Our Shared Humanity

Posted on April 22, 2018

Born a few minutes apart, they had a scant 30 weeks together before the death of their mother in war wrenched them away from each other.  They were identical twins, sharing the mystery of human DNA, and they deserved to face the world together.  It was not to be. Five years later, however, in a remarkable movement of destiny, they looked upon each other once again, confused at seeing their image so clearly represented on another face.  When informed they were twins, identical, they reached out, took the other’s hand, and wandered off to play soccer – hundreds of eyes on them lost in wonder. Today, Abuk and Achan turn 18.  Jane and I have watched them grow up every day, etching their height…

Shakespeare’s Still Cool

Posted on April 18, 2018

We don’t know the exact date of his birth, but England’s most famous writer was born in the month of April in 1564 – 554 years and half a millennium ago.   Asked about William Shakespeare, author Virginia Woolf noted, “The very stone one kicks with one’s boot will outlast Shakespeare.”  Maybe yes, maybe no.  In a world full of easily accessed information and endless publications, it would be easy to assume that the great English bard has been transcended by our modern penchant for data. Virginia might have jumped the gun.  If we were to take the time to research our own words, we would discover that William Shakespeare adds punch to our own sayings.  British journalist Bernard Levin took on just such an…

Putting the Social Back Into Social Media

Posted on April 10, 2018

Two weeks ago, many Londoners were asking whether the time had come to get off Facebook altogether. Individuals who have blithely used the platform for years were fearing for their privacy, security and politics. Yet the implications for communities are as insidious, and perhaps even more destructive, as for individuals. Victoria’s mayor, Lisa Helps, in a blog titled “Why I’m quitting Facebook,” decided the time had come for her because: “Facebook peddles in outrage . . . It has become a toxic echo chamber where people who have anything positive to say are often in defense mode against negativity and anger. Continuous reinforcement of existing beliefs tends to entrench those beliefs more deeply, while also making them more extreme and resistant to contrary facts.”…

The Growing Darkness

Posted on March 11, 2018

It’s a life of episodes — perhaps a fitting way of describing life with dementia or Alzheimer’s. It’s one thing to lose your health, your job or a loved one, but what happens when you lose yourself? Is there an individual or family tragedy any greater? And yet it’s lived out every day by thousands of Londoners and most of us will never know about it until signs emerge somewhere within our intimate circle. In London some 9,000 families wear themselves out in silence at an agony that can rip one’s insides out. Across Canada, almost half a million citizens suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s. Within 15 years that number will reach one million. Globally, 100 million struggle with the disease — a number that will reach 300…

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