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Cluster index: Alan Macfarlane

The Survival Manual | Afterword.

Alan Macfarlane: ‘All that I can say is that through friendship, love, the kindness of strangers, combined with trying to develop my self-confidence and trying to be kind and generous to others I have enjoyed my life. Leading a modest life which does as little damage to others in the world as possible, I have been enormously fortunate to reach an age (seventy-four) and a degree of peace, as I sit in a beautiful English garden on this June day, looking at the birds and roses.’

The Survival Manual | Chapter 8.

Alan Macfarlane: ‘What is certain is that current structures are not working or preventing wars. We need to think of all alternatives. The one above, raising the level of government one level, may not appeal to all, and others will call for the reverse – in line with the general downward delegation recommended in this book. ‘

The Survival Manual | Chapter 7.

Alan Macfarlane; ‘in encouraging a wide education with new elements we should avoid the danger of throwing out much that was good in the old – language learning, basic numeracy and literary skills, encountering new and exciting disciplines and ideas. Nor should we ever forget that almost all of our education comes through people, most of them not our school teachers, but friends and family.’

The Survival Manual | Chapter 6.

Alan Macfarlane: ‘There must be situations where you become intolerant in order to preserve wider tolerance – intolerant of rape, murder, drug dealing, in order to preserve ‘our’ freedoms. Again the lines and interpretation shift in the sand when applied at the international level. Can we tolerate North Korea having a nuclear bomb, or the Islamic state wanting to establish sharia law and the caliphate? Can we tolerate the international arms or drug or human trafficking trades?’

The Survival Manual | Chapter 5.

Computers and Communications. THE 2016-2017 FORTNIGHTLY REVIEW serial. Serial Preface and Contents with Publication Schedule . By ALAN MACFARLANE. HUMAN BEINGS, LIKE other animals, shape their world through the ways in which they communicate. Humans receive about seventy percent of the information they derive from the external world through their eyes and the rest through […]

The Survival Manual | Chapter 4.

Alan Macfarlane: ‘When the market, law, or political system itself is highly inefficient, over-bureaucratic, or too weak or too strong, corruption may be the only way to get things done. Without the ‘informal’ or black economy, much of the world’s formal economy would collapse. Without the ‘connections’ which dominate in much of the world there would be very little activity.’

The Survival Manual | Chapter 3.

Alan Macfarlane: ‘If we do not think in a radical way as our world changes dramatically, we are just marching into an ever-narrowing valley which will finally trap us. We should think in new ways to fit a world of increasing expectations and technology, but also increasing leisure and information. China is already leading the way, though it has also partly caught the ‘hospitalisation’ disease. So it may be that once again, as with printing, compasses, paper, porcelain, gunpowder, let alone tea and rhubarb, we can learn from the Chinese.’

The Survival Manual | Chapter 2.

Alan Macfarlane: ‘How can children leave home to work for others and set up their own businesses or even buy a separate house if there is nothing to be done? If there are no jobs, they can only fall back on the one group who will probably feed and house them — their natal family. This is clearly happening on a large scale and means that for the first time in the Anglosphere, children are staying on at home into their late 20s and 30s.’

The Survival Manual | Chapter 1.

Alan Macfarlane: ‘Whether we can, in time, learn how to share and steward our resources, is not certain. It has been done in the past, particularly when it becomes obvious that by forgoing their narrow and short-term gains, humans will benefit, as will their children and children’s children. Casting your bread on the waters – eating less meat, economising on water and car journeys, seriously recycling, all these are small, personal, gestures, but they add up. They already make more sense to many who are increasingly aware that we live in a small, fragile, crowded, planet which is under huge pressure.’

The Survival Manual.

Alan Macfarlane: ‘In this small book I have identified eight challenges which seem particularly acute. In each essay I try to outline, usually through a preliminary historical overview, what I think the heart of the problem is. In other words, where we are now and what our choices are. I then make some suggestions of ways in which we may escape from any traps and tendencies.’

Anthropology, Empire and Modernity.

Alan Macfarlane: ‘Very crudely, the Enlightenment signified the shift from a cyclical view of time, to one of progress, of polishing, of growing rationality. An onward and upward movement of history. The great Enlightenment thinkers laid the foundations for all the modern social sciences, so that by the end of the first Enlightenment paradigm, which could be concluded with the publication of Tocqueville’s Ancien Régime in 1856, the basic nature of modernity, as well as the basic outline of the way in which the West would come to dominate the world, had been established.’

The Invention of the Modern World 17.

Spring-Summer Serial 2012. Chapter 17: THE ENGLISH PATH By Alan Macfarlane. THERE ARE FOUR possible views about when ‘The Great Divergence’ which led to our modern world began.  One is that it is a very ancient divergence. This would argue that in terms, not of productive output, but of religion, politics, society, ecology, economic organization […]

The Invention of the Modern World 16.

Alan Macfarlane: “It was this pugnacious, self-confident, independent character which many thought was the secret of English success in the nineteenth century. Tocqueville wrote ‘seeing the Englishman, certain of the support of his laws, relying on himself and unaware of any obstacle except the limit of his own powers, acting without constraint; seeing him inspired by the sense that he can do anything, look restlessly at what now is, always in search of the best, seeing him like that, I am in no hurry to inquire whether nature has scooped out ports for him, and given him coal and iron. The reason for his commercial prosperity is not there at all: it is in himself.'”

The Invention of the Modern World 15.

Alan Macfarlane: The Anglican Church…seems to have operated very much like English law – as a form of oil which lay between the different spheres of English life. It tolerated ambiguities and conflicts and adjudicated between them.

The Invention of the Modern World 14.

Alan Macfarlane: America faced the future and not the past. England is a hybrid case. It reverences and tries to preserve the past and is in some way a vast museum. Yet it also systematically and largely successfully forgets the divisions and conflicts, thus allowing a sense of unity, a combining together at the cenotaph, or the King’s College Carols. ‘Let bygones be bygones’ was a favourite phrase of my mother’s parents and many English would agree.