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Tuesday, 07 July 2015 08:01

Good Reads – From Stoicism to the Absurd

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Ancient Greece
Photo: GothPhil (Flickr); Licence: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Another week, another selection of journalistic gems, compiled by one of E&M's editors: Frances Jackson on a modern use for ancient philosophy, remembering Srebrenica and a couple of disconcerting developments in Russia.

Frances, Diaphragm / Baby editor

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A word of advice from the ancients

In the run-up to last Sunday’s unprecedented referendum, much was written about the future of Greece, not all of it, I fear, especially helpful. One article, however, that seemed to buck the trend was William Irvine’s piece for the BBC on Stoicism and its applicability to the current situation.

Reminding us that the word crisis comes from the Ancient Greek for "decide" (a point that was incidentally also made by German polymath Joseph Vogl at a discussion I went to last week in Munich), Irvine disabuses his readers of the misconception that the Stoic approach is merely that of the stiff upper lip and highlights instead its inherently practical, vigorous nature even.

Though Irvine focuses on how the Greek people might achieve a degree of control over events in their country, I suspect that we could all probably benefit from the wisdom of the Stoic school of philosophy.  You never know – taking time to consider how things could be worse might actually give us some much-needed perspective on this issue and others.

Sunday, 05 July 2015 20:35

Europe Through a Lens – July / August 2015

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They say a picture paints a thousand words, so we've set out to discover what photography might be able to tell us about today's Europe.

Here at E&M, we don't just want to know what young Europeans think about Europe, we also want to find out how they see and feel the continent. On the blog, we host a photo competition called Europe Through a Lens and regularly publish a selection of our readers' photographic work. All you have to do is submit images that you think best represent our selected European theme.

This time around, we've gone with "European cityscapes" and you're welcome to interpret the topic however you wish. Whether taken in the place you grew up or just a holiday snap, entries can be images of anything from vertigo-inducing skyscrapers to the view from a rooftop, bathed in the light of the setting sun – so do feel free to let your imagination run wild!

Saturday, 20 June 2015 13:32

Terra Infirma: Life after an earthquake

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view from hotel rooftop bar
Photo: Timothy Beyer

View from the hotel rooftop bar

The devastating news of the Nepal earthquake this April was a shock to everyone around the world, destroying vast numbers of ancient temples, endangering millions and killing thousands. E&M author Timothy Beyer gives us a unique insight into the reality of the earthquake and its repercussions.

When the noise started outside the window, I idly wondered what such a big lorry could be doing in the narrow road leading to our office. When the rumbling became a shaking, my colleagues and I looked up as one; with a collective, silent "Oh sh**", we left the room and ran down the shuddering stairs and out of the building. 

This is not what you are meant to do in an earthquake. You are meant to hide under a table. If you do leave the building, you are advised to take all the obvious things, including the bright orange "go bag" filled with essentials. My colleagues and I did none of this. We just legged it, leaving behind go bags, phones and, in some cases, shoes. 

The sensation of the earth shaking violently underneath you is hard to convey: there are no easy comparisons. Like night following day, one thing you can usually depend on is that the ground will stay put; and it’s deeply unnerving when it doesn’t. For a few moments, your mind constricts in a way that most of us never experience, focusing on one goal: escape. 

Friday, 19 June 2015 13:00

A European tour with "Europe Next Door"

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Photo: Suzanne Alibert

What's it's like to leave your home behind and spend months visiting very nearly every country in Europe? E&M editor Rosamund Mather speaks with Suzanne Alibert about her project "Europe Next Door" and how it helps promote European values and reach out to young people in Europe.

E&M: Hello Suzanne! Could you briefly explain what exactly the project "Europe Next Door" is?

Suzanne Alibert: It’s a tour of Europe to meet young Europeans. I will be visiting 26 countries in the EU, plus Turkey and Iceland. During my travels, my aim is to see what the situation for people is like in each country and what they think about the European Union. I’m writing articles on my website during my trip, and when I’m back in France, I will write a book and do some conferences and photo exhibitions.  

NEXT ISSUE 01.10.2016