Philip Shepherd

Foreground and Background

Fresh off a workshop in Toronto that was extraordinary in every way (the participants, the venue and the work that was done), I’m heading off tomorrow to present at an academic conference in England (on “Consciousness, Theatre, Literature and the Arts”), after which I’ll be joined by my daughter for a two-week jaunt around the English countryside on our bicycles: circling from Manchester down to Cambridge, and back around up to Manchester. So I’ll keep this newsletter punchy: an experiment you might like to try, a great radio interview, and a few announcements. First, the experiment, which was provoked by an interesting study.  People were shown paintings for a minute or so, and then were asked to describe what they saw.  Participants in Western cultures …

Foreground and Background

Coming Home to the Body

Wherever we look, the need to birth a new humanity is clear. Our way of living has created species extinction, climate imbalance, toxins in our food, air and water, endless wars, and a chasm between the world’s ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’. As we face these growing calamities, though, and try to imagine a new way of living, there is a looming elephant in the room that I think lies at the crux of our problems. That “elephant in the room” is how we relate to our own bodies.

Photo by How-Soon Ngu on Unsplash

The G20

“Meetings of nations are always better than not having meetings of nations. I think, however, they should have their meetings on that island of floating plastic [garbage] in the Pacific. They should sit there, and look at that and make their decisions.” — singer/songwriter Bruce Cockburn The G20 is coming to Toronto, and the city is being bent out of shape to accommodate it: concrete barriers cutting across public spaces, chain-link fences erected down the middle of city streets, businesses closed, snipers strategically positioned. What I find most interesting about all of this is that the way we defend our heads of state from the unruly inconveniences of reality exactly parallels the way, within our own bodies, we defend the rule of the head from …

The G20