A Point of View

A Point of View

Weekly reflections on topical issues from a range of contributors including historian Lisa Jardine, novelist Sarah Dunant and writer Alain de Botton.

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Recent episodes (10)

  • John Gray: Dostoevsky and Dangerous Ideas 21 Nov 14

    Fri, 21 Nov 14

    Duration:
    10 mins

    John Gray points to lessons from the novels of Dostoevsky about the danger of ideas such as misguided idealism sweeping away tyrannies without regard for the risks of anarchy. "Dostoevsky suggests that the end result of abandoning morality for the sake of an idea of freedom will be a type of tyranny more extreme than any in the past." Producer: Sheila Cook

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  • Soylent and the Charm of the Fast Lane 14 Nov 14

    Fri, 14 Nov 14

    Duration:
    10 mins

    The new food substitute Soylent allows you to give up eating meals in order to have more free time. But John Gray argues that human beings crave busy lives. We want to be distracted, he says, so we don't have to think too much. Producer: Adele Armstrong.

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  • John Gray: Capitalism and the Myth of Social Evolution 07 Nov 14

    Fri, 7 Nov 14

    Duration:
    10 mins

    John Gray reflects on why the advance of capitalism is not - as is widely believed - inevitable. He argues that social evolution is often unpredictable and that the "seemingly unstoppable advance of market forces" could well be halted by political decisions and the "random flux of human events". Producer: Adele Armstrong

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  • Adam Gopnik: Cures for Anxiety 31 Oct 14

    Fri, 31 Oct 14

    Duration:
    10 mins

    Adam Gopnik identifies four different types of anxiety that afflict modern people and suggests ways to cure them. "The job of modern humanists is to do consciously what Conan Doyle did instinctively: to make the thrill of the ameliorative, the joy of small reliefs, of the case solved and mystery dissipated and the worry ended, for now - to make those things as sufficient to live by as they are good to experience." Producer: Sheila Cook

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  • Adam Gopnik: A Lesson from Lovelocks 24 Oct 14

    Fri, 24 Oct 14

    Duration:
    10 mins

    Adam Gopnik draws a poignant lesson on the nature of true love from the eyesore of love locks in Paris. "Love should never be symbolised by a shackle. Love - real love, good love, love to grow on rather than be trapped in - is a lock to which the key is always available." Producer: Sheila Cook

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  • Adam Gopnik: The Football Fallacy Fri 17 Oct 2014

    Fri, 17 Oct 14

    Duration:
    10 mins

    Adam Gopnik explains why the English are better at watching football than playing it and why the Americans are better at talking about democracy than practising it.

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  • Adam Gopnik: Dying with Dignity 10 Oct 14

    Fri, 10 Oct 14

    Duration:
    11 mins

    Adam Gopnik thinks we fail too often to let people die with dignity at the end of their lives and believes the answer lies in showing deference. "Dignity, I think is an exceptional demand, one that depends on at least an illusion or masquerade of an anti-egalitarian, indeed pre-modern - indeed an essentially feudal sense - of deference." Producer: Sheila Cook

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  • Adam Gopnik: Short and Successful 3 Oct 2014

    Fri, 3 Oct 14

    Duration:
    10 mins

    Adam Gopnik thinks there's a simple reason for the recent findings that short men enjoy stable marriages. It's not that they are desperate to please, but are desperate to prevail. "In every area of life, we underrate the merits of desperation, and persistently overrate the advantages of free choice." Producer: Sheila Cook

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  • Lisa Jardine: Keeping Time: 26 Sept 14

    Fri, 26 Sep 14

    Duration:
    11 mins

    Lisa Jardine reflects on the rich history of time-pieces and the power of clocks and watches. "Each watch on display in the British Museum's Clocks and Watchers galleries speaks to me of a world galvanized by scientific innovation, whose horizons were expanding through voyages of discovery and the new objects and ideas brought back." Producer: Sheila Cook

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  • Lisa Jardine: Red Dress Sense: 19 Sept 14

    Fri, 19 Sep 14

    Duration:
    10 mins

    This season's fashion for red prompts Lisa Jardine to reflect on the power in the past of this colour for clothes. "In Tudor England successive monarchs tried to define social status by dress ... a strict code governed the wearing of 'costly apparel', and red was one of the colours most rigidly controlled". Producer: Sheila Cook

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