We start as is traditional with what’s been getting us thinking this week… Ed talks about the film My Octopus Teacher and Nick Cohen in the Observer on ‘Sweden as the right’s fantasy land’. This leads us onto some memorable Swedish expressions: ‘there is no cow on the ice’ (= don’t panic!); ‘Now you’ve really shat in the blue cupboard’ (another Swedish expression!).
Phoebe Tickell’s Medium post, ‘Hall of Mirrors’: https://medium.com/@phoebetickell/hall-of-mirrors-4b505367243
You think you will find a magical “leverage point” that will magically change everything. You sound like those who became sick looking for the elixir of immortality. You are sick with how desperately you want to save the world. And it’s not a bizarre response at all. You have every right to feel desperate to make this world better… The systems of oppression you are complicit in by being alive are hellish. But this desperation is also what is leading you to be trapped in dissociated loops of pseudo-change.
Alastair McIntosh, Riders on the Storm: https://www.scotsman.com/arts-and-culture/books/book-review-riders-storm-alastair-mcintosh-2930368
Nick Hayes’ ‘Book of Trespass’: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/aug/10/the-book-of-trespass-by-nick-hayes-review-a-trespassers-radical-manifesto
“and then, in that utter clearness of the imminent dawn, while Nature, flushed with fulness of incredible colour, seemed to hold her breath for the event, [Mole] looked in the very eyes of the Friend and Helper; saw the backward sweep of the curved horns, gleaming in the growing daylight; saw the stern, hooked nose between the kindly eyes that were looking down on them humourously, while the bearded mouth broke into a half-smile at the corners; saw the rippling muscles on the arm that lay across the broad chest, the long supple hand still holding the pan-pipes only just fallen away from the parted lips; saw the splendid curves of the shaggy limbs disposed in majestic ease on the sward; saw, last of all, nestling between his very hooves, sleeping soundly in entire peace and contentment, the little, round, podgy, childish form of the baby otter. All this he saw, for one moment breathless and intense, vivid on the morning sky; and still, as he looked, he lived; and still, as he lived, he wondered.”
Wind in the Willows, Piper at the Gates of Dawn, Kenneth Grahame
“Pan Demic” – From the Greek; Pan (All) Demos (People)
“If you’re trying to carry on while people around you die, your society is not collapsing. It’s already fallen down…Collapse is just a series of ordinary days in between extraordinary bullshit, most of it happening to someone else. That’s all it is.”
DEFINITION: Panic is a sudden sensation of fear, which is so strong as to dominate or prevent reason and logical thinking, replacing it with overwhelming feelings of anxiety and frantic agitation consistent with an animalistic fight-or-flight reaction. Panic may occur singularly in individuals or manifest suddenly in large groups as mass panic (closely related to herd behavior).
Leonard J. Schmidt and Brooke Warner describe panic as “that terrible, profound emotion that stretches us beyond our ability to imagine any experience more horrible” adding that “physicians like to compare painful clinical conditions on some imagined ‘Richter scale’ of vicious, mean hurt … to the psychiatrist there is no more vicious, mean hurt than an exploding and personally disintegrating panic attack.”
“Don’t Panic” is a phrase on the cover of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The novel explains that this was partly because the device “looked insanely complicated” to operate, and partly to keep intergalactic travellers from panicking. “It is said that despite its many glaring (and occasionally fatal) inaccuracies, the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy itself has outsold the Encyclopedia Galactica because it is slightly cheaper, and because it has the words ‘DON’T PANIC’ in large, friendly letters on the cover.”
Arthur C. Clarke said Douglas Adams’ use of “don’t panic” was perhaps the best advice that could be given to humanity.