Simon Duffy

Thoughts, Bemusements & Arguments

Simon Duffy

Thoughts, Bemusements & Arguments


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

Essays, thoughts, poems, prayers and quotes.

Our Gifts Are Just Loans

22nd October 2012

The Pharisees were people who relied on their own strength to be virtuous. Humility consists in knowing that in what we call 'I' there is no source of energy by which we can rise. Everything without exception…

Telling Truth and Fighting Slander

21st October 2012

…for slander is a most grievous thing: in it the wrongdoers are two, and the person who suffers wrong is one. The slanderer does a wrong in that he speaks against one who is not present, the other in that he is persuaded…

The Star Within Us

20th October 2012

When it's Christmas we're all of us magi.At the grocers' all slipping and pushing.Where a tin of halvah, coffee-flavoured,is the cause of a human assault waveby a crowd heavy laden with parcels:each one his own…

Internal Institutions

1st October 2012

The individual and groupings of people, have to learn that they cannot reform society in reality, nor deal with others as reasonable people, unless the individual has learned to locate and allow for the various…

The Difference Between Prison and Institutions

6th September 2012

Yes, because in prison at least you know where you stand. You have a sentence - till the whistle blows. Of course, they can always tack on another sentence, but they don't have to, and in principle you know that sooner or…

Action is the Pointer of the Balance

4th September 2012

Action is the pointer of the balance. We must not touch the pointer but the weight.Exactly the same rule applies to opinions.If we fail to observe it there is either confusion or suffering.Simone Weil from Gravity…

Life is a Gift

30th August 2012

The Wise Men will unlearn your name.Above your head no star will flame.One weary sound will be the same -the hoarse roar of the gale.The shadows fall from your tired eyesas your loan bedside candle dies,for here the…

The Absurdity of Injustice

30th August 2012

Everywhere the man who alters things begins by liking things. And the real explanation of this success of the optimistic reformer, of this failure of the pessimistic reformer, is, after all, an explanation of…

Why We Create Jargon

31st July 2012

People could object to our arguments on this issue, saying, yes, you do have an audience in the West, but these people don't understand anything because their aren't speaking the same language as you. My answer to…

Bureaucracy and Evil

27th July 2012

I think that office, the KGB, like everything else in the world, is a victim of statistics. That is, the peasant gets to the field, and there's one strip left to harvest. The worker arrives at his factory, and there's an…

You Can't Overcome Ethics

7th July 2012

In what sense do we repudiate ethics and morality? In the sense that it is preached by the bourgeoise, who derived ethics from God's commandments. […] We repudiate all morality derived from non-human and…

The Paradoxical Commandments

7th July 2012

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.Love them anyway.If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.Do good anyway.If you are successful, you will win false friends and…

Two Kinds of Collaboration

2nd July 2012

…a man has no significance in a totalitarian state. The only thing that matters is the inexorable movement of the state mechanism. A mechanism needs only cogs. Stalin used to call all of us cogs. One cog does not…

We are Contradictions

2nd July 2012

Our life is impossibility, absurdity. Everything that we will is contradicted by the conditions or by the consequences attached to it. That is because we are ourselves contradiction, being merely…

Every Statement

2nd July 2012

Every statement is an exaggeration, including this one.

Freedom - It Should Include Everything

18th June 2012

I used to think that freedom was freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of conscience. But freedom needs to include all of the lives of all of the people. Freedom is the right to sow what you want. It's the right…

The Poor Cannot Afford the Generosity of the Powerful

4th June 2012

Then did all the grants and the subsidies, the benefits and the bargain offers pass over these poverty-stricken peasants when Ingolfur Angerson's ideals came to fruition? What is one to say? It so happens that it…

Granny's Meat & Potato Pie

1st June 2012

Apologies to vegetarians, but this wonderful dish was cooked regularly by my Granny. On a Friday evening we would all arrive at Granny and Grandad's house in Levenshulme, in Manchester and at tea time we would cram…

Having Fun or Doing Our Duty

19th May 2012

But of course you are quite right if you mean that giving up fun for no reason except that you think it's "good" to give it up is all nonsense. Don't the ordinary old rules about telling the truth and doing as you would be…

Revenge Begets Revenge

14th May 2012

Revenge begets revenge,Truth spins and evaporatesAs blood drains from the head.It is the law of Zeus:A life for a life.What is human life worth?More than itself, more than a life,Or less? Or precisely the same?The…

The Eight Degrees of Charity

10th May 2012

Level One - There are eight levels in charity, each level surpassing the other. The highest level beyond which there is none is a person who supports a Jew who has fallen into poverty [by] giving him a present or a loan,…

Justice and Charity

10th May 2012

Christ does not call his benefactors loving or charitable. He calls them just. The Gospel makes no distinction between the love of our neighbour and justice. In the eyes of the Greeks also a respect for Zeus the…

Death Comes Softly Shod

7th May 2012

The law's been passed and I am lying lowHoping to hide from those who think they areKindly, compassionate. My step is slow.I hurry. Will the executionerBe watching how I go?Others about me clearly feel the same.The…

Love Overcomes Self-sacrifice

7th May 2012

The creative will presses on to Its end, regardless of what It may suffer by the way. It does not choose suffering, but It will not avoid it, and must expect it. We say that It is Love, and "sacrifices" Itself for what It…