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Miscellany

Elizabeth Corey praises the slow, humble work required of true scholarship: “Though it can be fun to act as an impresario or a firebrand—to write with confidence, erudition, and verbal swagger on the hot topic of the moment—the most meaningful writing takes place when authors do not call attention to themselves, but to truths concealed beneath the busy surface of everyday life. These insights are best conveyed in language that is crafted carefully and at leisure, with the overgrowth of pride and self-concern cut away so that the prose itself stands luminous.”

John Horgan ponders the profound philosophical questions raised by derealization: “Sages ancient and modern have suggested that everyday reality, in which we go about the business of living, is an illusion. Plato likened our perceptions of things to shadows cast on the wall of a cave. The eighth-century Hindu philosopher Adi Shankara asserted that ultimate reality is an eternal, undifferentiated field of consciousness. The Buddhist doctrine of anatta says our individual selves are illusory.”

Alec Marsh explains why the English love lazy sports: “The fact remains that getting out of breath playing cricket is like breaking a sweat on the golf links: it’s your body’s way of telling you you’ve got bigger problems to think about than your batting average. It’s time to visit the GP.”



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