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In the Habit

Mark Tully looks at the regular behaviours we develop consciously or subconsciously, whether good or bad, and asks why it is so difficult to change our habits.

Mark Tully looks at the regular behaviours we develop consciously or subconsciously, whether good or bad, and asks why it is so difficult to change our habits. He hears how humans are helped to learn through habit, and about how habitual behaviours have contributed to our evolution as a species.

From Buddhist chanting to the Lord’s Prayer, Mark explores the role of habit in religious life, drawing on the words of Gerard Manley Hopkins whose poem, The Habit of Perfection, outlines the old habits the poet should cast aside and the new ones he should learn to rejoice in when casting off the clothes of a layman and putting on the habit of a priest.

The habits we might not be proud of are represented in music by Tom Waits, who, when he plays badly, blames his piano for drinking, rather than facing the truth about himself. On the other hand, the 15th century composer Guillaume Dufay’s setting of Ave Maris Stella, Hail Mary, Star of the Sea, the hymn to Mary in the office of Vespers monks sing daily, is perhaps a more uplifting example of habitual behaviour.

Whilst Mark takes advice, from some of the readings in the programme, not to fight hard against bad habits but to try to change our ways gently, he does not take them as lightly as Mark Twain who said, “Quitting smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I have done it thousands of times.”

28 minutes

Last on

Sun 14 Oct 2018 23:30

Music Played

  • Yungchen Lhamo

    Om Mani Padme Hung

    • Tibet Tibet.
    • Real World Records (2015) // CDRW 59, 7243 8 4198 2 2.
    • 1.
  • Guillaume Dufay

    Ave maris stella

    Performer: Pomerium, Alexander Blachy.
    • Musical Book of Hours.
    • Deutsche Grammophon, 1998 / E4742312.
    • 4.
  • Edvard Grieg

    Prelude, Holberg Suite Op. 40.

    Performer: Australian Chamber Orchestra, Richard Tognetti.
    • Grieg: Music for String Orchestra.
    • BIS 2012 / BISSACD1877.
    • 8.
  • Tom Waits

    The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me)

    • Small Change.
    • Anti/epitaph 2018.
    • 5.
  • Helmut Lachenmann

    Pression

    Performer: Lucas Fels,.
    • Helmut Lachenmann: Solo Pieces.
    • naïve classique, 2017.
    • 1.
  • Träd

    Lord’s Prayer.

    Performer: John Tavener, Matthew Owens, Wells Cathedral Choir.
    • John Tavener: Missa Wellensis.
    • Signum Records 2016 // SIGCD442.
    • 5.

Readings

Title: The Habit of Perfection.

Found in Poems

Author: Gerard Manley Hopkins

Published by Bartelby

 

Title: The Borough

Author: George Crabbe

From Letter III ‘The Vicar’

Published by Project Gutenberg

 

Title: The Simple Psychology of Habits

Author: Marc David

Published by The Institute of the Psychology of Eating

 

Title: Power of Habits

Found in The Idler

Author: Samuel Johnson

Published by

 

Title: Self Help.

Author: Samuel Smiles

Published by Project Gutenberg

 

Title: Henry King who chewed bits of string, and was early cut off in dreadful agonies.

Found in The Naughtiest Children I Know

Author: Hilaire Belloc

Published by Red Fox

 

 

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