Thinks in progress

On the nature of things is a space for collecting short stories, comments and observations about the way things seem to be (as far as I can tell).

Purdown walk april 16

It occurred to me I could use this theme to tie my writing together whilst walking the dog on a beautiful sunny Sunday in April 2016.

I was alternately pulling my phone out to connect with family or record a thought, and telling myself to put it away, pay attention to the now, and just soak up nature.  Which set me thinking about the influence of nature on everything I do.  I constantly remind people that we are merely a little bit of nature….and BINGO!  I realised almost everything I’d ever written was (kind of) about the nature of things.

So that’s how this thread came about.

Realising that ‘on the nature of things‘ could hardly be an original thought, I googled it to see what was out there as soon as I got home.  Amongst the answers that came back was Titus Lucretius Carus. This Roman poet’s only known work is the epic philosophical poem De rerum natura is about the tenets and philosophy of Epicureanism. So he was into happiness.  How apt! I ordered the book and may will (one day) write a synopsis. It was remarkable.

Here are just a few jottings to prompt me based on my thoughts at the time:

On the Nature of Nature

Tree Tao

It fascinates me that we need to remind ourselves we’re simply a little bit of nature ourselves – but it seems we do.  Everything about us is within nature itself, and yet we talk of nature as if it were an ‘other’ thing, somehow separated from us and available for objective observation.  The symbol of Tao (or Dao) is ‘a complex Chinese word which cannot specifically be explained except that it means way, path, route or principle’ according to Wikipedia.  Personally I treat it as a principle, which I find incredibly useful when trying to understand what’s going on in the world.  The Tao is the most elegant symbol of nature’s way I’ve ever come across. It

One the Nature of Mike

This one’s about the way my mind works. A friend recently said (as we were brainstorming ideas) ‘you’re not a very linear thinker, are you Mike?’ – quick as a flash I said ‘there are plenty of lines in my thinking – it’s just none of them are straight’.  

I decided to try drawing what happens within, and (inspired by Tim Urban) discovered that my brain works like gravity. It turned into a sweet little presentation called ‘The Art of Cosmic Thinking’, which goes down rather well. You’re welcome to book me 🙂

On the Nature of Happiness


It’s not uncommon for people to talk about emotional energy – but what if emotions actually are a physical form of energy? I explored this idea to see where it led, and the results were rather interesting.  I can’t call it a theory according to my sciencey friends, because there’s no obvious way to apply tests that would offer the proof. Still, I find it a compelling story and you can the article in full here: Happiness in 3D (Jan2014)

On the Nature of mourning

In 2016 alone Terry Wogan, Ronnie Corbett, David Bowie, Victoria Wood, Paul Daniels and Prince all died – the list goes on. Celebrity deaths are interesting because they focus the collective mind on our mortality in a way that’s different to other deaths in the news. I think the nature of celebrity began to change in the 1980’s in a way that meant a) people began to feel they ‘know’ celebrities personally as they never had before, and b) the number of ‘celebrities’ expanded exponentially with new media.  So what we’re beginning to see is the first wave of ‘intimate celebrity’ deaths – those who vast numbers of people can identify shared experiences with. I think this might be affecting attitudes to death and how we live our lives, strengthening the trends for ‘wellbeing’ related activities and the search for meaning and purpose.  

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