This week on The Forum

This week on The Forum

Barbara Taylor, Gillian Slovo, presenter Baroness Susan Greenfield and Steve Jones

Listen 49 mins

The Forum, the BBC World Service programme which boldly crosses boundaries: scientific, creative and geographic, presented by Susan Greenfield.


Professor Steve Jones talks about Darwin's last book The Formation of Vegetable Mould, Through the Action of Worms and explains why it's extremely relevant for today's climate change. He also explores the constantly-mutating DNA in our bodies and why there aren't more mutants about.

South African novelist Gillian Slovo discusses the ideas behind her latest novel Black Orchids. She follows the link between humiliation and defiance: both protagonists of her novel are breaking the rules of the society around them but are not ready to accept the disgrace which follows.

Professor Barbara Taylor argues that when we are solitary we are emphatically not alone. She also says that attitudes towards solitude might well be formed when we are infants and that modern 24/7 interconnectivity might actually be making some of us more solitary.

Your comments...

I heard this excellent program twice on satellite radio. My impression was Taylor argued not that 24/7 connections made people more solitary, but that they made people feel "displaced in the world" (her phrase) when they were alone, so it is more likely they experience loneliness than solitude in today's modern culture. Your summary inaccurately represents and undermines one of the show's keenest insights provided during the episode.


On humiliation: Humiliation exists in exact proportion to ego. Consider the 20th Cententury spiritual teacher Jiddu Krishnamurti. He had no ego. Consequently he could not be humiliated. And what is ego? An inflated sense of self. A false self that arises when one identifies the 'me' with material and conceptual forms.

R Molony

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