Tuesday, 27 November 2012

More from Samuel Smiles - Character and Habit

Be what you seem, recommends Samuel Smiles,  quoting an American family maxim: "Always endeavour to be what you would wish to appear." He adds that  integrity in word and deed is the backbone of character. Oliver Cromwell is quoted as saying to a lawyer that subtlety may deceive you, integrity never will. Modern pundits like Jim Rohn point out that success is a habit,  while Smiles makes the same point when he quotes Metastasio as saying that "all is habit in mankind, even virtue itself." He goes on: " self-respect, self-help, application, industry, integrity — all of the nature of habits, and not beliefs. Principles, in fact, are but the names which we assigned to have its; for the principles are words, but the habits of the things themselves."  Even happiness is a habit to the extent that we tend to look on the bright or dark side of things.  Habits are hard to change, as we all know. As Jim Rohn observed,  the small things that are easy to do are also  easy not to do.  Persistence requires self-discipline, considered by Brian Tracy to be the most essential personal quality. Easy to say, not so easy to do!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Revisiting Samuel Smiles

Samuel Smiles is the author of "Self-Help -  with illustrations of character, conduct and perseverance."  It came out in 1859, the same year as Darwin's Origin of Species,  and originated in some lectures given by the author 15 years previously. The book highlights the importance of application and perseverance, energy and courage,  with many biographical examples.  At the beginning of a chapter on self-culture, Smiles quotes Edward Gibbon: '"every person has two educations, one which he receives from others,  and one, more important, which he gives to himself."  The sentiment is also expressed by Sir Walter Scott, and I have found it to be absolutely true in my own case. The final chapter discusses character, which is defined as human nature in its best form, moral order embodied in the individual. Smiles argues that character is power in a much higher sense than knowledge: " Mind without heart, intelligence without conduct, cleverness  without  goodness  are powers in their way, but they may be powers  only for mischief."  He goes on to say that a person who possesses true goodness, integrity and goodness united with strength of purpose "carries with them a power which is irresistible."  In this sense, character is more important than intellect,  yet our education system prioritises the latter over the former -  hence the work we do at Character Scotland as a way of redressing this imbalance. See www.inspire-aspire.org.uk

Friday, 16 November 2012

London Practical Wisdom Seminars

The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their livesWilliam James

Practical Wisdom focuses on helping you apply the fundamental principles of success to your life based on understanding key elements of perennial wisdom.  My approach is based on many years of research and reflection about the nature of mind and consciousness and its relation to life.

Science shows that we live in an interconnected universe. Telepathy and other forms of extra-sensory perception point to a shared underlying Unity and Oneness of Mind. Practical Wisdom goes further by asserting that we live in an interactive web of consciousness, questioning the sharp distinction between 'inner' and 'outer'. 

December 1 - Science, Synchronicity and the Law of Attraction

December 2 - Core Values and the Transformation of Consciousness, with Dr Peter Fenwick


Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Sustainability - A Cultural History

Ulrich Grober's brilliant and erudite new book (Green Books) shows that sustainability is deeply rooted in many previous cultures that were not obsessed with growth. Goethe is an important figure and is quoted as saying, 'baked bread is tasty and satisfying for one day. But flour cannot be sown and seedcorn should not be ground.’ As it happens, Goethe was involved at the time in a huge re-afforestation programme that called for a sustainable management plan. The pillars of sustainability were first defined by Hans Karl von Carlowitz in terms of environmental equilibrium, economic security and social justice. His original German word was nachhaltig, and it is interesting to learn that the first use of the word environment was a translation by Carlyle of Goethe’s word Umgebung when the latter had been thinking about support for the economy of nature rather than the subjugation of nature. The word ecology seems to have been coined by Ernst Haeckel in the 1860s, where he defined it as the science of nature's household or the relations of the organism to the environment. The more modern use of the word sustainability dates from the Club of Rome report on the Limits of Growth in 1972, while the word biodiversity was coined by EO Wilson in 1985. At the end of the book, the author suggests his own litmus tests for sustainability in terms of reducing the ecological footprint and widening access to good quality of life. He also adds a number of his own experiences to the fascinating narrative. No one will think about sustainability in the same way after reading this book.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Global Information Network

The Global Information Network is an exciting new international club dedicated to enabling its members to realise their aspirations and achieve their dreams.

GIN has grown in less than two years to over 30,000 members in 157 countries, and 90% of those who join continue their membership. You can find a good deal of background information on our site http://www.globalinformationnetworkpath.com/ – also the video on Membership Benefits and the Affiliate Programme on the official site http://www.globalinformationnetwork.com/

I have been a Member for a year and GIN has transformed my outlook on life. The information available to Members is exceptional and the meetings are outstanding. We had an amazing time on the Caribbean Leadership cruise, and the January 2012 3 night cruise is free for any member who joins this year. I have booked in for next January already!

Wherever GIN goes, it changes the atmosphere in the hotel and people ask what kind of group we are! There’s also a lot of fun involved – the jazz band in Paris on the Saturday evening said they’d never played to such a group and did 6 encores! My daughter Charlotte came too. The first UK seminar (free for members) – Change Your Patterns, Change Your Life with Mary Miller will be held near London on October 8th – I’m already booked in. Next year there will be far more meetings in the UK and Europe. If this sounds interesting, do get in touch - david.lorimer@btconnect.com

SMN Apocalyptic Thought Conference

This conference takes a critical view of apocalyptic thought, drawing on world renowned experts from four disciplines. Keith Ward will explain the background to such thinking in the Bible, then Jocelyn Bell Burnell will give an astronomer's perspective of the astrological predictions. Charles Strozier is coming from New York to share his insights about the psychology of fundamentalism and apocalyptic thought, then finally Suzanne Newcombe will consider the sociological implications of these kind of prophecies. This is an outstanding opportunity to sort sense from nonsense in this controversial field. http://www.scimednet.org/

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Living in Harmony with Nature - Sunday 13th June

A day with David and Jane Lorimer

Gibliston Mill, Sunday 13th June, 10.00 for 10.30 – 4.30

Cost: £35, including lunch (couples £50)

Many people now realise that we need a new relationship with Nature, one based on balance and harmony rather than exploitation and control. Living in Harmony with Nature celebrates ways in which we can reconnect with Nature, enhancing our health and well-being in the process. The day will consist of lectures, Bulgarian Paneurhythmy Sacred Dance and a special cooking demonstration. For further details please phone David on 01333 340490 or email david.lorimer@btconnect.com - www.davidlorimer.net

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Philosophers' Notes

I'm currently doing a programme called Philosophers' Notes along with several hundred other people. The challenge is to read and possibly comment on a six-page digest of 50 of the best personal development books. The notes are prepared by Brian Johnson, and the chatty American-style won't be everyone's cup of tea but his summaries are brilliant and there are often memorable quotations to take down. Here is one from Alexander Graham Bell: 'a man, as a rule, owes very little what he is born with. A man is what he makes himself. '


Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Wine-Elerts launched

My new wine advisory service - Wine-Elerts has now been launched. Subscribers will receive 3 to 4 wine-elerts per month giving details of good value wines costing between £5 and £15. Wine-Elerts can save you time and money by recommending wines and providing direct contact details with the wine merchant. There is also a list of my favourite wines - it's an easy way to buy.


The Legacy of David Bohm, London November 21

Speakers: Prof. Basil Hiley, Dr. F. David Peat, Leroy Little Bear, Donald Factor, Dr. Mary Cadogan, Lord Stone of Blackheath

Professor David Bohm, FRS (1917-1992) was one of the greatest theoretical physicists of the 20th century, a student of Oppenheimer, a friend of Einstein and an explorer of consciousness and meaning. This day examines his legacy on a number of fronts with people who knew him well and worked with him.


Values Poster Programme at HMIe Best Practice Conference

Character Education Scotland was invited to present the learning to life values poster programme at the HMIe RME best practice conference in Dundee on Thursday, November 12. The meeting was addressed by Frank Crawford and journalist Anna Magnusson, who drew on her experience of producing religious education programmes for the BBC. She emphasised the importance of the human element in stories which would appeal to a wider public. During the afternoon, David Lorimer presented the programme to workshop of 20 teachers, enthusiastically supported by Carol Gollop from Inverurie Academy and Adelle Fleming from Gracemount Highgate School. Both teachers shared the different ways in which they engaged with the programme. Carol had invented her own values board game and special quotation cards, while Adelle used film to introduce some key issues. The response was enthusiastic, and five schools ordered over 1000 posters. See links on LTS and HMIe sites for powerpoint presentations.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Soul Power

Book Review:

Soul Power, by Anne Baring and Scilla Elworthy

BookSurge 2009, 59 pp., £10.00, p/b.

Offering 'an agenda for a conscious humanity', this powerful, short and evocatively illustrated book sums up the current human situation and offers a way through to a new understanding and corresponding political
system. The authors understand that the crisis of our times is basically a spiritual one, and that we need to learn to see life as one, with each of us participating and belonging to a greater whole. They describe the limiting beliefs we hold and features of scientific materialism, as well as those of a new and integrated worldview. They remind us of the power of fairy tales, that our beliefs are rooted in fear and that we have as yet been unable to move beyond war in our quest for security. A key task is the rebalancing of head and heart, or the integration of the masculine and feminine aspects of our being. They help us imagine a new kind of world with new values and a new political agenda. The vision is there, it is now up to us to embody it by being the change we want to see in the world. I hope that this book will be very widely read.


Christianity and Assisted Dying

Book Review

Is there a Christian Case for Assisted Dying? by Paul Badham

SPCK 2009, 144 pp., £9.99, p/b.

Paul Badham is a theologian who has been running courses on death and dying at Lampeter in Wales for over 20 years. In this book he makes a Christian case for voluntary euthanasia, which is supported by around 80% of the general public, but by far fewer theologians. He explains why these issues have become so critical and gives some personal background relating to deaths in his own family. He puts forward various
perspectives, including the absolutist and consequentialist, asking if suicide necessarily implies ingratitude towards God and discussing both the relevance of the question and the problem of suffering. The arguments are carefully put throughout the book. One distinguishing feature is Badham's understanding of near death experiences, ignored by many theologians, but which can at one level illuminate the Christian hope. This book complements the subtle arguments put forward by Mary Warnock and Elizabeth McDonald's Easeful Death, a book which I reviewed in the last issue. Both are essential contributions to the ongoing debate.

Gaia and Climate Change

Book Review:

Gaia and Climate Change: a Theology of Gift Events, by Anne Primavesi

Routledge - Taylor & Francis Group 2009, 154 pp., £16.99, p/b.

A remarkable theological response to the crisis of climate change, following on from her earlier books on Gaia and theology. Anne's thesis is that Gaia theory has revolutionised our understanding of the relationship between humans and the environment and that we need a radical change of perception away from violent imperialist images of God and corresponding capitalist exploitation of nature. Specifically, she argues that 'we must confront the role that Christian violence-of-God traditions have played in causing the problems raised by climate change and justifying our part in them. Awareness of, and attention to, this state of affairs is a prerequisite for remedying it.'

Her new perspective opens up ' a non-violent, non-consumerist, generous, compassionate and inclusive theological vision that can be seen as emergent in the life of Jesus.' She analyses three key historic events suggested by Hannah Arendt: the discovery of America, the Reformation and the invention of the telescope. Theologically, this involves seeing the life and teachings of Jesus as a gift, and emphasising not so much what he did for us ('dying for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures'), but rather what he said in terms of forgiveness and loving our enemies. This power of forgiveness must be mobilised by us individually and collectively as we reach towards a new understanding of our embeddedness within natural processes and evolve a new form of economic system beyond short-term monetary profit driving consumption and waste. Essential reading for those seeking a new and sustainable theology of nature.

From Stress to Success in Just 31 Days

Book Review

From Stress to Success in Just 31 Days, by Dr John F. Demartini

Hay House Publishers 2009, 137 pp., £7.99, p/b.

John Demartini is an inspiring speaker who has made several recent
appearances in London. In this book, he provides a simple step-by-step
process over 31 days with practical tips for all departments of life,
including prioritising activities, drinking water and eating light meals,
expressing gratitude, clearing debris, sitting in silence and reading
inspirational stories. This may all sound very straightforward, but reading
is one thing and practice another, such is the power of inertia. Each
chapter describes the activity, followed by practical action steps and
corresponding affirmations in a format that can be used on a daily basis.

The Power of Less

Book Review

The Power of Less, by Leo Babauta

Hay House Publishers 2009, 170 pp., £8.99, p/b.

At a time when our lives are becoming fuller and faster and we tend to
accumulate more and more stuff, this book comes as a refreshing breath
of air. It encourages readers to identify the essential and eliminate the
rest, using six principles: set limitations, choose the essential, simplify,
focus, create habits and start small. There is a wealth of practical advice
about how to implement these principles in terms of time management,
e-mails, Internet, filing, daily routine, decluttering workspace and taking up
healthy habits. Many of the suggestions are easy to implement, but like
all similar books, persistence and self-discipline are required to follow these
through. This is certainly one of the best and most practical books of its kind.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Towards a New Renaissance 3 - Berlin, 30 October-1 November

Harmonising Spirituality, Nature and Health

Co-Chairs: Prof. Henryk Skolimowski, Prof. Franz-Theo Gottwald, David Lorimer

This international meeting is the third in our series Towards a New Renaissance. The first meeting was held in Krakow, Poland in October 2004 and the second in Pari, Italy in October 2007. Our conferences reflect a new vision that the Cosmos is the measure of all things. We have to integrate our new world-view and values into the larger web of the Cosmos, living in harmony with both natural and cosmic laws. This is especially important in re-establishing a harmonious relationship with nature. Just as the credit crunch is a reflection of overextended debt, so the imminent eco-crunch reflects the fact that we now consume annually 25% more than the Earth can replenish. It is therefore imperative that we restore the balance between human activity and natural resources for the sake of coming generations. This conference will address the close relationship between food and health, arguing that our understanding of nature, agriculture and health has to be integral, since each depends on the other. The crisis in human health reflects the way in which we grow and produce our food, which in turn is a reflection of our mechanistic and materialistic worldview.


Henri Bergson, 28 October, Rupert Sheldrake and David Lorimer in dialogue

MIND, TIME and EVOLUTION - A Celebration of Henri Bergson (1859-1941)

Rupert Sheldrake and David Lorimer in dialogue

Colet House, 151 Talgarth Road, London W14, Wednesday 28th October, 2009, 7-9 pm

To mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of the French philosopher Henri Bergson, we are staging a dialogue to discuss his ideas and their importance for our time. Bergson was the most famous French philosopher of his epoch, a Member of the Academie Française and a recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature. He made significant contributions to evolutionary theory with his idea of élan vital (Creative Evolution) and to philosophy of mind with his notion of the brain as the organ of attention to life, which channelled rather than generated consciousness (Matter and Memory).


Primacy of Consciousness Conference, London, October 11

Towards an Understanding of the Primacy of Consciousness

School of Economic Science, 11 Mandeville Place, London W1U 3AJ, Sunday 11th October 2009

Speakers: Dennis Blejer, Graham Dunstan Martin, Dr. Elisabet Sahtouris

Chairs: David Lorimer and Peter Bowman

This conference will explore the consequences of adopting a world-view in which consciousness is the primary element, rather than a secondary attribute of the most highly evolved creatures. Does such a world-view provide a reasonable basis for a comprehensive understanding of the full range of phenomena we experience? Recent evidence suggests that it does.