Tension: a clue to reality

Using your blog to promote your preaches seems like a pretty needy thing to do but I’m going to do it anyway – this site does, after all, involve me saying things.

Are you feeling tense today? Not just about the annoyances of everyday life, I mean a profound sense that life is not what it should be. Here are just some of the things that make me feel this:
  • As I wrote this post, I wandered into my kitchen and had a snack, because I was feeling a bit peckish. This is not an option for the 400,000 who made it to the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya.
  • The English and Scottish football seasons just gone were more memorable for the behaviour of players and fans off the pitch than the matches that were played.
  • Despite being one of wealthiest cities in the UK, Edinburgh is also the loneliest, and the life expectancy of a man living in some parts of it is 86, whilst in others it’s 61 – a gap comparable with the difference between the UK and Togo!
A lot of our popular culture seems designed to inoculate us against these disturbing feelings, but some artists, philosophers and activists refuse to have their senses dimmed and rage against it: the furious and fractured music of Radiohead, and the surreal horror of Francis Bacon’s paintings, for example. I talked about how this tension is actually a clue to understanding the world and our lives.

You can listen to it here, or watch this classic Radiohead video and feel a bit more tense.