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Author: Adam

Persistence

The first and last word in any undertaking is persistence. Without it there can be no breakthrough, no fanfare, and no remuneration for the years of wasted effort. Until success comes along, the dream lies buried, a vain and preposterous hope that might never be realised. Most people give up because the road is too long and the work too…

California, 1939. A young couple sail off the coast on board the yacht Indigo. We don’t know much about them, but soon realise things aren’t quite as they seem. The yacht isn’t theirs. Something’s happened to the previous owners, but even this isn’t clear. There’s a sinister element at play, an undercurrent that drives the couple away from their troubled…

Obscurity

In his book, Meditations, the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius talks a lot about fame and the ultimate futility of ambition. Widely regarded as a classic in philosophy, the book explores a diverse range of themes, all of which are still relevant in today’s hectic and fast-paced society. As the Numero Uno in the ancient world, Marcus had his pick of…

Colosseum

In Ancient Rome there were no televisions, no cinemas and no internet to distract the masses. What they had instead was innovation on a grand scale, a monument so astounding that it took ten years, the reign of two successive emperors, and the sweat and toil of 15,000 prisoners of war to complete. Foreign kings and dignitaries flocked to its…

Hide in plain sight

When you think about it, all personality disorders are characterised by flawed thinking. I’m not a psychologist, but perhaps my decades of direct experience with mental illness gives me a voice of some sort. After years of clinical depression, I was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder. This helped explain my somewhat erratic behaviour and inability to maintain a ‘normal’ life.…

Survival

I’m currently reading Robert Greene’s excellent book, The Laws of Human Nature. The basic premise is that all of us act in ways that are largely unconscious, often driven by our shadow side – the aspects of our character we prefer to keep hidden. As social creatures, our success in life depends on our ability to integrate with others. The…

The Enemy Within

‘I think, therefore I am’. When Descartes made this famous statement, he was claiming proof of his existence, rather than making a random observation about what went on in his head. Leaving aside the existential issue, which could consume several volumes on its own and still remain unresolved, let’s examine the first part of the proposition; ‘I think.’ Neuroscience can…

On the nature of being

Life is hard – or maybe it’s just that being human we naturally make it harder. Reflecting back over a particularly difficult year, I should feel blessed to have gained valuable insight into this, my lifelong condition. But blessed in what context? Perhaps, like someone who’s discovered the lifeboats on a sinking ship and now has the means to save…

Murder, mayhem and chocolate digestives

The French term folie a deux was used originally to describe two people who shared a common psychosis. It literally means ‘the madness of two.’ Individuals who have this condition somehow manage to pass on their delusions to a third party, and the two go on to act out the symptoms in tandem. More recently, the term has been used in certain…

An ode to blue biro

How long is a piece of string? Or, to rephrase the question, how many times should I go over this crusty old manuscript before it resembles a novel? There is no definitive answer to this, but regarding a strategy, my personal weapon of choice is the common or garden blue biro. The art of rewrite is a strange thing. Unlike…