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The Great Humbling S4E3: "Remapping Lava"

The Great Humbling

Release Date: 01/31/2022

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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We’ve been listening back to the first episode we made, 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 Bewilderment, the new novel from Richard Powers, whose last book was The Overstory.

Dougald has been discovering the joys of Tintin and gives us his Captain Haddock impression. He also talks about David Cayley’s book of interviews, Ideas on the Nature of Science, based on the epic CBC radio series, How to Think About Science.

Ed reads us a little from The Owner of the Sea, Richard Price’s retelling of three Inuit stories, and tells us about a serendipitous connection with Lucy Hinton’s poem, Singing Bone.

Talk of Inuit poetry takes Dougald back to Taqralik Partridge’s challenge to consider the pandemic as the ‘warning shots’ of a larger storm into which the world is headed.

So what is the shape of the storm, how is the lava looking, as the pandemic enters its third year?

Talking about the atmosphere in the UK, Ed mentions Cassette Boy’s Rage Against the Party Machine. He also brings up the Dutch museums and arts institutions that reopened as hair salons and gyms in response to Covid restrictions. 

As another marker of the sense of shifting stories over recent weeks, Dougald brings up the Guardian interview with Clive Dix, former head of the UK’s vaccine tax force, headlined ‘End mass jabs and live with Covid’ and a report from the second week in December on protests in Austria that was the first time he’d noticed these treated as legitimate, rather than reduced to a story about the far right, conspiracy theorists and ‘anti-vaxxers’.

Talking about who has had a ‘bad’ pandemic brings us to the role of public intellectuals and the philosopher Justin E.H. Smith’s Substack piece Covid is Boring, where he expresses puzzlement over his peers enlisting as ‘full-time volunteer nodes of information on epidemiology’. Smith is in favour of mandatory vaccination, yet he’s also disturbed by the failure to question ‘the regime that covid has helped install’.

Dougald connects this role of ‘thinking on behalf of science’ rather than ‘thinking about science’ (in the sense of Cayley’s book and radio series) to the enlisting of artists to ‘deliver the message’ about climate change – and refers to the work he did with Riksteatern on what other roles art might play under the shadow of climate change.

We decide that there are different ways of answering the question of who’s had a ‘good’ pandemic. 

Oxfam’s wealth aggregation analysis gives a pretty clear picture of who has benefited economically from the pandemic – answer, billionaires (which may be why they are all throwing themselves into space…).

But talking about whose moral standing emerges strengthened from the past two years, Ed brings in an interview with Rosebell Kagumire, talking about the role of women in recovery.

This reminds Dougald of something Laura Stephens says about ‘recovery, discovery, un-covery’ as three aspects of what’s going on.

Ed talks about Julia Hobsbawm’s book The Nowhere Office, on the future of the workplace.

We mention Paul Kingsnorth’s three-part essay series, The Vaccine Moment, and the questions he asks about ‘the machine’.

We talk about valuing uncertainty – and that reminds Ed of Sam Conniff’s Uncertainty Experts.

And having started the episode by marvelling at how we used to make hour-long episodes in series one, we end up … making an hour long episode!