The Reason I Jump

It’s been a while….

What stirred me out of the lazy habit of simply posting on Facebook was ‘The Reason I Jump’ by 13-year old Naoki Higashida. The author is autistic and his struggles with language are very well documented in the book. It was written using a grid of Japanese characters and must have been an enormous ‘labour of love’.

Much of the content takes the form of Q & A and what I felt was well captured in Radio 4’s Book of the Week presentation, was that the questions seemed to be in the voice of a brusque, almost rude teenage peer. What was especially touching in Higashida’s passages was that it was clear that he understood how bewildering and trying it can be for many trying to communicate with an autistic person. Each time he touched upon this there was a plea for those trying not to give up.

In addition to content, the format was very engaging. Preceding each passage was an introductory section by author David Mitchell, co-translator of the book, along with KA Yoshida. He is the father of a autistic child and his insight and experience added a great deal.

You can read more on the Radio 4 Blog.

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The Examined Life

I can only imagine that this title comes from Socrates assertion that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” In the case of the psychoanalytic sessions described in Stephen Grosz’s The Examined Life it’s the examination which might return the fractured life to something worth living.

Excellently read by Peter Marinker these tales of change and loss are by turns fascinating, moving, inspiring and shocking.

Episode 1 of 5 is here from where you’ll be able to navigate to the others.

Musical Christmas Ghost Story

If there is such a thing as a musical Christmas ghost story then this is a contender.

Blake Morrison and Gavin Bryars offer a modern-day reworking of Jules Verne‘s 1893 tale “Mr. Ray Sharp and Me Flat.” If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between, say, D# and Eb now’s your chance to find out.

The Divided Brain

One of the reasons I started this blog was to share interesting links easily with pals overseas. Countries tend to be less proprietorial about radio than TV. Perhaps it’s a legal thing. Perhaps they simply value it less.

My good friend, Dudley Cole, in Australia returned the favour with a link to this fascinating interview which debunks many myths about left brain-right brain, without throwing out the whole notion.

The interviewee is Dr. Iain McGilchrist, author of The Master and his Emissary.

It is one of many great chats on Late Night Live, which is on Australia’s RadioNational

Dudley also sent me this unusual radio heads’ link

The Self

I was enlightened to discover that David Hume didn’t believe in the self. He thought more in terms of bundles of experience but no constant or continuing self. Heady stuff for 18th century Edinburgh. Nevertheless, ‘the self’ made three radio appearances in as many days.

Biographer Martin Goodman knows all about putting others before himself; or himself in their shoes; or even conjecturing on what historical characters would have made of our times. Where his Free Thinking talk became interesting was his description of time spent studying Zen in Japan. The self he had set out to diminish put up quite a fight. His talk is here.

Low self-esteem can stunt growth and potential. Are there dangers in inflated self-esteem? Scroll to 9:40 of this edition of All in the Mind to hear some opinions.

Can there be any more self-orientated quest than the search for happiness Might there be a better approach to life? Scroll to 1:45:34 of this to hear about recent research.