Category Archives: Theory

>What was it that made the great leaders great?

>Analyse the great leaders of history and you’ll learn about the positive traits that enabled them to find success, whether it be wit, oratory skills, strength, or any number of different abilities. Yet in all the world many people have these skills. So is it more about being in the right place at the right time? Or would the right person always find their way to the top irrelevant of what structures they’re pitted up against?

>"Insanity in individuals is something rare – but in groups, parties, nations, and epochs, it is the rule."

>This is a quote from Nietzche. It’s perhaps quite odd to come from someone that many people would have labelled mad himself. Indeed the very next thing he wrote was “the thought of suicide is a great consolation: by means of it one gets succesfully through many a bad night”, which at the very least suggests mental illness, and also a different way of thinking.

But was Nietzche right? Is this why we frequently get so angry with decisions taken at the group level, but can accept the freedom of individuals to act as they will? Is there anything to what Nietzche said at all?

>What is the value of humility?

>Is humility always good, or not? We’ve heard of the ‘greats’ of history, humbly refusing awards and/or praise. Take the following example of Einstein speaking to the Chicago Decalogue Society in 1954:

“Ladies and gentlemen: You are assembled today to devote your attention to the problem of human rights. You have decided to offer me an award on this occasion. When I learned about it, I was somewhat depressed by your decision. For in how unfortunate a state must a community find itself if it cannot produce a more suitable candidate upon whom to confer such a distinction?”

Now you may argue that this wasn’t humility, for he really didn’t do that much related to human rights. But nevertheless he was humbly refusing an award he could easily have embraced.

What would you have done? Is it the case that there is a time and a place for humility? Are these people just trying to call more attention to themselves? Does humility serve the humble, or just the rest of us?

>Questions about Nationalism


  1. What is Nationalism?
  2. Does it change between different countries? If so why?
  3. Is it true that as Bertrand Russell said “the highly educated minority in both countries is, on the whole, free from this unfortunate passion”?
  4. Why do political parties that espouse nationalism tend to drift to the extremes?
  5. Should we encourage it in politics or discourage it?

>Is globalisation a replacement for imperialism?

>I’ve deliberately made this question open to interpretation so make of it what you will. But to start the discussion, global capital flows were larger as a percentage of GDP at the end of the nineteenth century (i.e. when the European Empires covered about 3/4 of the globe) than today, and some critics talk of “Americanisation” as synonomous with globalisation.

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