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Where do you find fulfillment? It’s a question I’ve found myself pondering in recent years. Before that, I never used to challenge my perception of where, and even how, I achieved fulfillment in life and believed that the stress and weariness my approach created was all part of a magic formula which, at some point, would justify the pursuit. What I came to realize was that it was worth challenging my beliefs and that doing less might be the better way to find what I’m searching for.

There’s an Ancient Greek word I think of as I write this — eudaimonia (εὐδαιμονία). Before you accuse me of showing off, I’m no scholar — I just recall seeing it in a book I liked and have read up about it again to help write this piece. The literal translation of eudaimonia is ‘happiness’, but it has more accurately been interpreted by scholars to mean ‘human flourishing’ or ‘fulfillment’, as ‘happiness’ suggests a period of feeling cheerful, while ‘fulfillment’ is more sustained, and compatible with painful periods, something unavoidable in any life. …


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How do you live with guilt and grief at the same time? What is it like trying to live with what feels like an inescapable burden that has tethered itself to your soul? How are you supposed to move on, if you see faults in your actions, and know that you can’t bring someone back? Questions familiar to anyone who has lost a loved one. Feeling guilt when processing grief is a common reaction, but it can’t be a solution.

I recently read Barack Obama’s memoir, A Promised Land. It’ll doubtless sell millions, and the political in-crowd will be pouring over his account of his presidency up until 2011 and the killing of Osama bin Laden where the volume, which is the first of two, ends. I thought it was a remarkable book, introspective and revealing. Obama is honest about his record, clear in defence of his actions, open about where he fell short, and he avoids the this-is-my-time-to-tell-the-story tendentiousness that tends to spoil political memoirs. But what stood out to me was how vulnerable Obama seems when he writes about his mother, Ann Dunham. Obama writes movingly about not being there when she died, after she had battled cancer for a number of months. To quote one passage, where Obama talks about scattering her ashes, “I thought about my mother and sister alone in that hospital room, and me not there, so busy with my grand pursuits. I knew I could never get that moment back. On top of my sorrow, I felt a great shame.” These are heartfelt words, written a quarter of a century after the event. Similar reflections surface at other points, and it seems those feelings of guilt still sit with Obama in some form. …


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Like a debt you can never quite pay off, while you dream of a holiday you’ve long wanted to go on, it seems the gaze of yet another Leader of the Labour Party is being dragged, yanked, pulled, and every other movement made frustratingly and reluctantly, back to an unavoidable problem at home.

Keir Starmer has a considerable mess to clean up. He came into the job with a legacy of antisemitism to sort out and relations with Britain’s Jewish community to repair. Not letting Jeremy Corbyn back into the parliamentary party and triggering the rage of his supporters was a tough move. Like the grandmother in the movie Dante’s Peak, who lived in the shadow of a rumbling volcano and was certain it wouldn’t blow, despite the evidence, there are still a few deniers, busting their lungs to declare Labour’s antisemitism problem was all part of a smear campaign designed to undermine Jeremy Corbyn and sabotage his chances of becoming Prime Minister. When you see who the implacable hold-outs are accusing of orchestrating the so-called smear, you can’t be in any doubt about how real the problem still is. …


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Hubert Horatio Humphrey (1911–1978), is one of those political figures who features prominently in chronicles of American political history and who I have long admired but, before picking up this biography of him, was yet to read about in a book where he was the main subject. I was thrilled when I saw Arnold A. Offner, a historian who has written on foreign policy and the Cold War, had written a biography on the ‘Happy Warrior’, and couldn’t wait to get started on it.

Hubert Humphrey: The Conscience of the Country takes us from Humphrey’s beginnings in South Dakota and Minnesota and his early political career in Minneapolis, before he was elected to the United States Senate, later becoming Lyndon B. Johnson’s (LBJ’s) Vice President after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, losing the election to Richard Nixon in 1968, before seeing out his career back in the Senate. Throughout, we get a sense of what shaped Humphrey’s liberalism, his hatred of racism in America and his commitment to improving the lot of the ordinary American. …


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I read somewhere that it takes a rocket about 10 minutes to make the 62-mile journey from its launch to the boundary of Earth’s atmosphere and into orbit. That’s the fast part. If the rocket’s destination is the International Space Station (ISS), it’s also the easier part. The real difficulty is in trying to rendezvous with the ISS, which orbits Earth 250 miles above its atmosphere; it can take hours, sometimes days, to achieve. The science behind it all is too much for this politics graduate to decipher, so bear with me — the ISS is travelling at an insane speed, but, because of crazy space-physics, you can’t just fire your engines and go straight for it, otherwise you might fly out of range and into deep-space, which I believe you don’t just ‘come back from’. …


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I haven’t watched the video. I don’t think I can.

Since the footage emerged of George Floyd dying at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, protests have erupted in cities across America. Some have seen violence reminiscent of the 1992 Los Angeles riots. Protestors outside the White House in Washington DC were met with teargas and batons. The tinderbox has been fully ignited. There hasn’t been a civil disturbance like this, in multiple cities, since the late 1960s. In London thousands turned out to protest in support of Black Lives Matter. People have gone onto the streets and made their voices heard as far away as New Zealand. Social media is heaving with sadness and outrage at what has happened. The calls for justice are relentless. …

About

Colton Richards

Finding my voice.

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