Two-Minute Daily Read

A new short blog published seven days a week, designed for reading and reflection from any stage of life.

the meaning of art
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25. What we've lost in the loss of art

In the early days of the pandemic in March of 2020, footage captured on smartphones from Italy started doing the rounds online. As is the way of things on the social networked world of the web, whatever strikes an emotional chord is propelled…
Individuality within group identity
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24. The place for individuality within group identity

Group identity is complex. It goes way back, all the way to the origins of humanity, within genetic code we've carried forward through millennia. These days, we might be the chairperson of the community committee, the goalkeeper for the football…
The diverging approaches with getting back to normal
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23. The diverging approaches to getting back to normal

As these words appear on the screen before me, towards the end of April 2021, Covid-19 cases and deaths are soaring in India. The country has registered record daily case numbers for several days in a row now, and the number of deaths attributed…
The problem with essential
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22. The individual, the collective and the problem with essential

Beneath all the numbers and data points of the pandemic, you'll find some of the human stories that need to be told. Whether it's the doctors and nurses on the front-line, the nuance and complexity of vaccine trials and roll-outs, or the…
The pandemic's numbers and stories
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21. The pandemic's numbers and stories

Everywhere since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, we have seen an endless array of numbers and been told an endless series of stories. Numbers and stories are among the greatest inventions of humankind. Stories have been…
Pandemic essay: Shay Healy
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20. Shay Healy and how the end of life's journey might not be the end of everything

Shay Healy died last week. For those of you outside Ireland, the name will probably mean little. But for many people within Ireland, especially for those above, say, 45 years of age, Shay Healy will conjure up a variety of thoughts and feelings…
Pandemic essays: The problem of loneliness
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19. The problem of loneliness

Around the world, there are signs that things are beginning to open up. After a year of Covid-19, the virus and attendant disease has not gone away, there have been significant vaccine challenges -- from manufacturing and distribution to potentially…
Pandemic essay: Our private information war: The blurred line between ignorance and informed
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18. Our private information war: The blurred line between ignorance and informed

In my day job, helping businesses to navigate the often murky waters and choppy seas of communicating and marketing on the Internet, I pay close attention to a gentleman called Avinash Kaushik. He's worked for Google for a long time and he…
Pandemic essays: The saving grace of plants
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17. The saving grace of plants

A thesis has been developing in my mind this past year or more, first taking shape as time slowed down so much for so many of us in the early stages of the pandemic. Later, as the external world inevitably started to speed up again, this…
Questions of travel: Journeys of the body, journeys of the mind
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16: Questions of Travel: Journeys of the Body, Journeys of the Mind

One of my favourite writers, Bill Bryson, has a thought-provoking passage near the beginning of his book about Australia, Down Under, published in 2000. Through the technological miracles of television and commercial travel, Australia seems…
Pandemic essays: Finding ease in unnerving worries and infinite possibilities
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15. Finding ease in our future of unnerving worries and infinite possibilities

Listening to a recent episode of the Tim Ferriss podcast, the extent of the Internet's impact on the way we do everything became a tiny bit clearer. As all of us who do anything know well by now, the impact of networked technology -- the…
Pandemic essay: Overcoming obstacles
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14. Seeing past, or through, the daunting obstacles before us

Obstacles are everywhere. The ways of doing anything -- from making civic change happen, to launching a successful business, to the age-old and private task of knowing oneself -- rarely come without frequent frustrations and occasional furies. This…
Pandemic essay: Choosing love in a world of fear
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13. Choosing love in a world of fear

In number 12 of this series, I included a line from Camilla Cavenish, the author, Harvard fellow and FT columnist: "When polls show support for continued restrictions, thoughtful MPs should ask themselves how exactly a nation became so fearful." She…
Post lockdown freedom
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12. The complex return to the thing we used to call freedom

Two passages I read at the weekend spoke about a similar thing in different ways, from different points in time, and from greatly different points of view. I've been dipping into The Sovereign Individual, a complex, thought-provoking,…
Pandemic essays - On missing togetherness
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11. On missing togetherness

Krista Tippett is the founder of On Being, which started out as a radio show inside the American Public Media organisation in 2003, and later morphed into a much wider project that considers, and invites us to consider, questions of being in…

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