Saturday, 25 June 2011


The motivation for this video came from seeing two contrasting news stories side by side on the same page. 

On one side was a picture of Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese pro democracy leader who was recently released after 15 years of house arrest. Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, she has fought tirelessly to attain 'democracy, human rights and ethnic conciliation by peaceful means'.

On the other side was a picture of a serial killer who had recently been convicted of yet another killing.

The contrast brought home to me the almost infinite capacity of human beings to be a source of suffering and misery or a source of compassion and happiness.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

The Pleasure Bar

“Perhaps all pleasure is only relief.” - William S Burroughs 

Today I read* about a study where scientists implanted electrodes into the brains of rats. The electrodes were set up in such a way that the rats could experience pleasurable sensations by simply pressing a bar. 

Once the rats learned how it worked, they stopped all other activities in favour of obsessively pressing the bar until finally, they dropped dead of starvation and exhaustion. 

Maybe we can learn something from the rats. They lived a life of easy pleasures but it was also a life of obsession, of starvation and exhaustion. If I had to make a guess, I’d say it wasn’t a happy life. The rats say something very important, something that is so very easy to miss: