TIPS & REFLECTIONS

A series of short articles on everything, from practical ways of getting things done, to how to handle your feelings and find peace in a hectic world.

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79. The Joy of Not Knowing?

Knowing is important to us. When we were at school, not knowing was an undesirable state of affairs. Failed exams and poor end of term reports tended to ensue. People who knew a lot were revered, won prizes and made teachers smile. Knowledge was something of a God to us, and still is. And yet brilliant philosophers like Montaigne, Socrates and the Sceptics, built their entire reputations on not knowing. So are we missing out? Inspired by Sarah Bakewell's book, 'How to live: a life of Montaigne in one question and twenty attempts at an answer', this week's reflection explores. 'All I know is that I know nothing' Socrates

78. How to Have a Good Autumn

As with Proust and the macaroons that were immortalized in 'A La Recherche du Temps Perdu' (In Search of Lost Times), so the first crisp morning of September, the sun low in the sky, and the sudden increase in traffic take me straight back to my school days and the first few days of the autumn term. A new class, new teachers, new subjects, new pupils; all these created in us a sense of excitement and anticipation. In those early days of term, still rested from the summer, we felt real motivation. A couple of weeks in and, of course, it was back to normal; stressing about homework, moaning about unsympathetic teachers, despairing over the tedium or difficulty of least-favourite subjects, re