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.



As the world’s largest democratic and non-democratic countries set about the process of selecting new leadership, Martin Jacques, author of When China Rules the World, compares the systems.

Free Thinking

Radio 3’s year is punctuated by seasons and festivals: Proms; Edinburgh Festival; London Jazz Festival; Christmas across Europe etc. The one whose title I like best is the Free Thinking Festival. Is it just me or does the title suggest something about processes and qualities of thought elsewhere?

One discussion has the appealingly misanthropic title Hell is Other People. It seems to be less about Sartre than planetary overcrowding, globalism and the ubiquity of social media. Participating in the panel are Kate Adie and Julian Baggini.

The full schedule is here.