In praise of inefficiency

Among the many buzzwords of our age, efficiency is one of the most binding. Nearly everything is being brought to the Tribunal of Measured Efficiency, where verdicts are passed by the wigged magistrates of Speed, Cost and Outcome, the Triumvirate of the industrial and postindustrial ages. An efficiency inquest may also be conducted against language. … Continue reading In praise of inefficiency


The modern age is about making distinctions. Distinctions between novelty and antiquity, truth and falsehood, mind and body, reason and emotion, knowledge and superstition, science and religion, as well as between writing and orality, text and non-text, centre and periphery. In the modern worldview, everything must have its place according to reason, and things are … Continue reading Porosity

Groundbreaking translations

Translations never make the headlines. Translators don’t enjoy the same reputation as authors do, although a translation is, by many accounts, a work of authorship. And yet, cultures would have been very different if translations hadn’t existed. The background noise to a literate culture is made up of translations. In Western Europe, Christianity triumphed over … Continue reading Groundbreaking translations

‘You’re dead to me’

We’ve been blocking undesired and uninvited people in our lives long before Facebook, Twitter or Whatsapp put us in charge of the block killswitch. Sometimes, we can go so far as to eliminate someone from our lives so completely that we’d even escape the dreaded ‘you’re dead to me’. There’s no worse block than that. … Continue reading ‘You’re dead to me’