The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “society

Summer Reflections – Don’t Let Them Die

Posted on July 10, 2018

In Victor Hugo’s tale Notre-Dame de Paris,composed in the 15thcentury, the printing press had just been developed and the Archdeacon of the great cathedral, Claude Frollo, stands outside and holds his first printed book in his hands.  Its quality and potential both fascinate and trouble him.  He looks from the pages of the book up to the spires of the great cathedral and says, “This will kill that.” He wasn’t correct, of course, but the printed word challenged the church and most other 15-century institutions in remarkable ways.  Yet that new technology didn’t so much kill God as take the concept of a higher being public and served to democratize the church along paths no one could have predicted. In retelling Hugo’s story of…

Summer Reflection: Any Cure For The Summertime Blues?

Posted on July 6, 2018

There are many different kinds of poverty in our world today, but one form gaining increasing attention is that of loneliness.  There’s a distinction between loneliness and the solitude so many of us seek each summer. The former is about the deep disillusionment of being alone while the latter is about the pleasure of being in our own company and finding healing in it. It is entirely likely that this summer will be plagued by more loneliness than any in recent memory.  This isn’t just a thought or premonition since there’s plenty of research and evidence to reveal that loneliness itself might well be at epidemic levels. Writing in the New York Times last April, Leah Nash made a rather stunning declaration: “There’s a mountain of…

Summer Reflections – How Did We Get Here?

Posted on July 4, 2018

This year especially, summer couldn’t come soon enough.  And not because we endured a long, hard, unpredictable winter – which we certainly did. No, it’s something more, something almost intangible – a sense that things aren’t great collectively. Individually we might feel a certain sense of normalcy, but when it comes to our position in the broader world – our sense of hope, promise, dignity, respect, the ability to make change – we aren’t as sure where we stand. This week our family has been volunteering at a kid’s autism camp, as we do every year.  You could sense the careful disenchantment, the lack of optimism, the worry over our shared state of affairs in most conversations, coffee shops, and idle chatter.  Much of it was…

“And” or “But”

Posted on May 4, 2018

“If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.” So wrote Paulo Coelho in his book The Alchemist.  And he’s right – perhaps in this age more than any other, when anger can flash everywhere, even across borders, at the speed of light.  It’s seems like the more we judge others the less we understand life, or history, or most dangerous of all, ourselves. Somehow, we become smaller, the better angels of our nature receding into the dark distance. Yesterday’s post about Senator John McCain was prompted by just such a circumstance.  The person I spoke to felt confident…

Trust vs Trustworthy

Posted on November 15, 2017

She possesses a unique file that includes the disciplines of philosopher, politician, policy maker, author and public figure willing to challenge the preconceptions of the day. A powerful woman thinker in her native Britain, Baronness Onora O’Neill was recently awarded a $1 million prize for lifetime achievement in the fields of philosophy and public service. Intriguingly, O’Neill refuses to jump on whatever is fashionable at the moment, opting to discover those deeper traits that she believes are the only things that can save humanity from its ongoing fascination with itself. No doubt it emanates from the woman’s remarkable diverse background – former principal of Newnham College, Cambridge, and was chairperson of the Equality and Human Rights Commission and prolific author on matters of justice,…

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