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The Great Humbling S4E2: "The Commonplace"

The Great Humbling

Release Date: 12/22/2021

The Great Humbling S4E6: 'Nice to meet you' show art The Great Humbling S4E6: 'Nice to meet you'

The Great Humbling

After twenty-nine episodes recorded through screens and cameras, Ed and Dougald find themselves meeting for the first time and sit down for a conversation beside the mill pond in Loddon, in the garden of the Mill of Impermanence. We hear the unlikely tale of how Dougald found Ed’s fiftieth birthday present, a copy of Uriah Heep’s fifth album, , while en route to a holiday in Great Yarmouth. A chain of serendipitous events leads to the unavoidable conclusion that Yarmouth is the spiritual home of the Great ‘Umbling. This leads to a discussion of ‘serendipity’, the term , and...

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The Great Humbling S4E5: 'Belief' show art The Great Humbling S4E5: 'Belief'

The Great Humbling

Dougald poses a big question for this episode: what do we believe in? Ed responds playfully and paradoxically with ‘self-delusion’, citing Robert Trivers work on self-deceit that includes gay pornography and erection-o-meters. And lasers. Here's .  Dougald talks about the formative influence of spending the first two-and-a-bit years of his life in the grounds of a theological college and what happened when he told his Sunday school teacher that he didn't find Hell 'a particularly helpful concept’.  Does it matter more what we believe, or what our beliefs make us do?...

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The Great Humbling S4E4: 'Are we going to talk about Ukraine?' show art The Great Humbling S4E4: 'Are we going to talk about Ukraine?'

The Great Humbling

We started this podcast in the early weeks of the pandemic, talking about the stories circling around it. A crisis had come out of the corner of almost everyone's field of vision and became, within weeks, the only thing in the news. Two years on, something similar has happened, so we arrived at this episode wondering whether or not to talk about Ukraine. Dougald remembers Ivan Illich's short text, 'The Right to Dignified Silence' (in ), written in support of West German campaigners  who refused to enter into a reasoned argument about nuclear weapons, choosing instead to express...

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The Great Humbling S4E3: The Great Humbling S4E3: "Remapping Lava"

The Great Humbling

We’ve been listening back to , almost two years ago, in the early weeks of the time of Covid. Maybe it’s the influence of revisiting those early episodes, or maybe it has to do with Dougald turning up to our January recording with a glass of bubbly in hand, but we find ourselves ranging freely – and at some length – in this conversation we’re calling ‘Remapping Lava’. Before we get onto the main theme of the discussion, we bring back the tradition of asking each other what we’ve been reading or listening to lately that’s got us thinking. Ed talks about , the new novel...

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The Great Humbling S4E2: The Great Humbling S4E2: "The Commonplace"

The Great Humbling

Dougald and Ed discuss the idea of 'the commonplace' - that which we hold 'in common'. What can a Scandinavian hotel breakfast 'smorgasbord' tell us about our understanding of the commons beyond resources? Can David Graeber shed light on the role of the commons in human cultural history? And where might we find a new commonplace to have and to hold the conversations, and nurture the ideas and practices that really matter?

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The Great Humbling S4E1: 'Confessions' show art The Great Humbling S4E1: 'Confessions'

The Great Humbling

The Great Humbling is back for a fourth series of conversations between Dougald Hine and Ed Gillespie, now as part of the wider patchwork of Homeward Bound. Our theme for this first episode is confessions, but we start by looking back over the summer that’s gone.

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The Great Humbling S3E8: 'Now...breathe!' show art The Great Humbling S3E8: 'Now...breathe!'

The Great Humbling

We wrap up series 3 with some ruminations and reflections on the breathing space post-lockdown, what becomes visible beyond hope, how the dark forests of the internet are perhaps the place to be, and we explore cancel culture and the literature of white liberalism...

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The Great Humbling S3E7: 'Get on your knees!' show art The Great Humbling S3E7: 'Get on your knees!'

The Great Humbling

Dougald and Ed sink to their knees on the prayer mat, digging into the biological, behavioural, spiritual and political of 'taking the knee' and exploring the absence of blessings, prayer, libations and offerings. Is there a place for 'speaking to the friend' beyond the theology of organised religiion? This episode does not contain Madonna or Bon Jovi

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The Great Humbling S3E6: 'Small yourself up!' show art The Great Humbling S3E6: 'Small yourself up!'

The Great Humbling

From Jamaican buses, via Antarctica to policing our own privileges and contributions, this is an adventure through the ways in which our perceptions and attitudes towards scale (and speed) can spin us into awkward and uncomfortable spaces and situations. How do we hold our heads and hearts in the multiple layers of expectation and experience?

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The Great Humbling S3E5: 'See Double!' show art The Great Humbling S3E5: 'See Double!'

The Great Humbling

The one where Dougald and Ed explore 'double vision' via the usual unlikely mix of Thundercats, William Blake, Karl Polanyi, Jay Griffiths, Vanessa Andreotti and Robert Frost - how do we maintain our layered consciousness, how does one become an 'accidental futurist' and what might a 'double movement' for the future feel like?

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More Episodes

This episode starts with a little reflection on our new more-or-less monthly schedule, and in the course of this episode, we talk about a few other podcasts:

We talk about COP26 and Ed mentions his recent TEDx Kings Cross talk, 'How We're Going to Solve Climate Change' where he refuses the frame of solutionism.

To lead us into the theme of this episode, Dougald quotes Mary Harrington on the old rhetorical idea of 'the common-place'. 

Ed leads us through the etymology of 'commons' and, after a brief diversion into Simon Pegg's Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, we reach Garrett Hardin's 'Tragedy of the Commons' paper and the work of Nobel laureate Elinor Ostrom who demonstrated that commons don't tend to fail in the way Hardin imagined.

Dougald brings in another strand of thinking about the commons, starting from Anthony McCann's old website Beyond the Commons and his paper Enclosure Without and Within the Information Commons.

This connects to Ivan Illich's Silence is a Commons, where he distinguishes 'the environment as a commons' from 'the environment as a resource'. The smörgåsbord of the Swedish hotel breakfast buffet gives us a 'common-place' with which to talk about not seeing the world as made of resources.

Dean Bavington's history of the Newfoundland cod fishery collapse, Managed Annihilation, also gets a mention as a book that complicates the 'tragedy of the commons' assumption.

Ed brings in the late David Graeber's final book, written in partnership with David Wengrow, The Dawn of Everything

We acknowledge another huge loss, the unexpected death of Silke Helfrich, co-founder of the Commons Institute.

Dougald talks about how Chris Smaje's posts over the past year at Small Farm Future have made him reflect on the unhelpful idealisation of the commons (and denigration of all forms of private ownership) in some of the conversations that go on about these things today.

We return to the theme of the 'common-place' and the naming of this site as 'the commonplace book of a school called HOME'. Among other things, this has to do with what Peter Limberg of the Stoa was getting at when he wrote 'stop looking at the readership metrics'. The aim here is not to compete for platform, to reach as large an audience as possible, but to gather together things that are helping us make sense of the times we're living in.