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Posts tagged ‘empowerment’

Whatever Happened to Small is Beautiful?

In 1993, E.F. Schmacher published a book entitled Small is Beautiful: A Study of Economics as if People Mattered. Small-Is-Beautiful-CoverIt was well received, and promised a potential revolution in ideas for capitalism and for the consumer society.

Recently I saw a plea from a Christian charity for us to invest in poor (“small” in economic terms) countries and help them develop their economies within their own culture. The benefits of this will radiate out to encompass all of us. The truth behind this is one that philosophers have clearly seen and expressed (in particular John Ruskin) yet it continually seems to bypass the greedy, the corporate, the leviathans of our consumer society.

I found myself relating it to the situation of the “indie” author.  Our society does not yet fully honour the idea that it is good to invest in small indie writers and help them in their businesses (comparable to “cottage industries”) and to develop within the ethos of their own culture. Instead “indie” writers are often made to feel that the only way they can ever progress in a meaningful way in their literary careers and move forward and make a breakthrough is by gaining the support of someone big, i.e. to link up with and/or become subsumed by one of the “Big Five” publishing houses. It’s all about empowerment.

I’d love to know your views on this. If you run a small business or if you are self-employed, either as an author or otherwise, how do you feel?  what is your experience of ‘small is  beautiful’?

Why So Many of Us Love Doctor Who

So many children’s bedrooms up and down the UK and around the world must look similar to this one, in our home.

Doctor Who display in teen bedroom (photo credit Abigail Robinson)

Doctor Who display in teen bedroom (photo credit Abigail Robinson)

In the recent celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the BBC drama series Doctor Who, the question has been posed:  why do you think Doctor Who is so popular?

Since everyone in our house loves the Doctor,  I’ve asked myself this question.  And I concluded that we love the Doctor because:

* As a fictional character, he is a perfect combination of science and religion. He has the Christlike qualities of power, knowledge and goodness; combined with the vast possibilities of science. He plays into our archetypal longings for balance and justice in the universe, plus our thirst for knowledge and our fascination with the potential of science and our quest for empowerment.

* he has power over time. Time, death and the ageing process are among those things we cannot control, though we dream of doing so.

* he engages us on a spiritual level. He represents the perpetual battle between good and evil.

* the character of the Doctor, with all this  power, knowledge and goodness, contains both playfulness and gravity. We respond at a deep level to paradox. Every one of the eleven actors who has played the Doctor has at some level combined the weight of ultimate responsibility and moral integrity with a quirky, mercurial quality. And the twelfth Doctor seems set fair to carry this same quality.

* we are always learning new things about the Doctor. He always retains his mystery.

* the Doctor is essentially lonely and poignant. He loves, and he evokes love. Yet he can never become emotionally attached to any one human – not without tragic repercussions or complex tampering with the space time continuum.

* he regenerates, just like nature, just like the Green Man, a symbol of rebirth, found in many cultures from many ages around the world.

The Doctor is all these things and  more.

Doctor Who rules in teen bedroom (photo credit Abigail Robinson)

Doctor Who rules in teen bedroom (photo credit Abigail Robinson)

And we love him not only because of all this, but  because of the genius of all those involved: the executives, actors, writers, directors, producers, monster-creators, technical people, visual and special effects people and composers and musicians. They will have overcome  everything that human weakness can throw at them, during the fifty years of the programme’s life, as we saw only too well from the Adventure in Space and Time episode about BBC executive Sydney Newman, actor William Hartnell, producer Verity Lambert, and director Waris Hussein.

It all seems summed up in David Tennant’s cry: “I don’t want to go.”

Yet the archetypal power of this fictional character, his relationships, his story represents for many our dream of transcending those limitations and that frailty.

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