Simon Duffy

Thoughts, Bemusements & Arguments

Simon Duffy

Thoughts, Bemusements & Arguments

Donate

Simon is a philosopher and activist. He is Director of the Centre for Welfare Reform and Secretary to Citizen Network: a global cooperative to achieve a world where everyone matters.

Essays, thoughts, poems, prayers and quotes:


The Right to be Different

6th September 2013

Human groupings have one main purpose: to assert everyone's right to be different, to be special, to think, feel and live in his or her own way. People join together in order to win or defend this right. But this is where…

We are the Rock and Life is the Stream

5th September 2013

We are the rock and life is the stream - we can but resist with grace. On our optimistic days we may think of ourselves as the authors of our own lives. On our pessimistic days we may see ourselves as puppets, subject to the…

Choosing Good

5th September 2013

The power of choosing between good and evil is within the reach of all Origen The price of this choice can be terrible. In the totalitarian state choosing good may bring death; but the choice remains. The…

Everything that Lives is Unique

5th September 2013

Among a million Russian huts you will never find even two that are exactly the same. Everything that lives is unique. It is unimaginable that two people, or two briar roses, should be identical… If you attempt to…

Being Different

2nd September 2013

The most promising way for a society to avoid widespread differences in self-esteem would be to have no common weighting of dimensions; instead it would have a diversity of different lists of dimensions and…

Can Citizenship be a Gift?

26th June 2013

Central to my work over the last 23 years has been the idea of citizenship. One central idea has been that the organisation of the social care system (and many other public services) operates in a way that is hostile to…

Cause, Effect and Human Freedom

26th June 2013

Behind the man with the knife is the man who sold him the knife, the man who did not give him a job, the man who decided that his school did not need funding, the man who closed down the branch plant where he could have…

The Duty to Restore People to Their Duties

26th June 2013

Recall the face of the poorest and the most helpless man whom you may have seen and ask yourself, if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him. Will he be able to gain anything by it? Will it restore him to…

Equality With or Without Degree

26th June 2013

For there is no other heaven - the hierarchy admitted, there is, it seems, no hierarchy at all; no higher or lower; all is here, in the first. "Only," and as if (lover-like) Beatrice exerted herself to explain to her…

It Is Not a Good Thing To Be a 'Do-It-All.'

26th June 2013

We often want to do everything ourselves, but that is a mark of false pride. Even what we owe to others belongs to ourselves, and that is part of our own lives. And when we calculate just how much we owe to others, it is not…

The Two Meanings of Institution

29th April 2013

The word institution has at least two very different meanings. It can mean something good. It is something that we have established and which we may respect and value - a constitution, an organisation or even a…

Why is Pride the Greatest Sin?

5th April 2013

Solzhenitsyn says "Pride grows in the human heart like lard on a pig." Dante places Pride at the foot of Mount Purgatory and imagines how it might take hundreds of years for us to pay its price. First we must wander…

Control First, Plan Later

18th March 2013

In one institution they painted a zebra crossing on the floor of the recreation hall - in order to help people safely cross the road. Can you imagine anything more dangerous? We often do this. We teach a skill but in…

Justice Requires Liberty

12th February 2013

At the time the French conceived a desire for political liberty, they were imbued with a number of notions on the subject of government which were not only difficult to reconcile with liberty, but were almost hostile…

Love Needs Reality

11th January 2013

Love needs reality. What is more terrible than the discovery that through a bodily appearance we have been loving an imaginary being. It is much more terrible than death, for death does not prevent the beloved from…

Love is Born

2nd January 2013

Love is bornWith a dark and troubled face,When hope is deadAnd in the most unlikely place;Love is born,Love is always born.Love is born by Michael LeunigThanks as always to John O'Brien for sharing this Christmas…

Friendship and Love

1st January 2013

In Greek, the word "fileo" means the love of friendship, tender but not all-encompassing; instead, the word "agapao" means love without reserve, total and unconditional. Jesus asks Peter the first time:…

But, What Can We Do?

17th December 2012

The Englishman does not like rows. It is almost impossible to get him to disturb himself, unless you are fool enough to make him both afraid and angry… To understand the point at which the English patience breaks,…

Why Austerity is a Lie (updated)

11th December 2012

[I updated this blog in November 2013 with more recent data and graphs.] I find the repeated use of the word austerity very annoying. It implies that what is happening in the UK today is unfortunate - but somewhat…

Complicity and the Cuts

26th November 2012

I know a wise old Buddhist monk who, in a speech to his fellow countrymen, once said he'd love to know why someone who boasts that he is the cleverest, the strongest, the bravest or the most gifted man on earth is thought…

Christian Love (Agape)

6th November 2012

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: even as I have loved you, that you also love one another." Where is the newness to which Jesus refers? It lies in the fact that he is not content with repeating…

Can We Be Enchanted by God?

31st October 2012

Why did not the Risen One reveal himself to his enemies in his full glory in order to show that it is God who is victorious? Why did he only manifest himself to his disciples? Jesus' answer is mysterious and profound. The…

There is Humility in Us

30th October 2012

We do not have to acquire humility. There is humility in us - only we humiliate ourselves before false gods.  Simone Weil from Gravity and Grace How well this point is put. We worship what we lower ourselves…

What's Wrong with Welfare Dependency?

25th October 2012

Discussions about dependency and welfare dependency are full of illogicality and moral confusion.Within the political system the term 'welfare dependency' has become code for a bad thing which is damaging the…