Category Archives: Work

Gatineau 2017: Editors Canada conference

Around 11.30 p.m. on Wednesday, 7 June, I made a mistake that meant I lost a couple of hours’ work, then I walked into the side of a door and cut my forehead: not the best prelude to my Canadian adventure. I needed a break.

The next morning Pauline drove me to Dublin Airport, and I caught my plane to Toronto. I was tired, not having slept well (in fact I wouldn’t get a good sleep till I was home again). Seven hours later we landed, giving me two hours to catch my Ottawa flight. Queuing at customs, check-in and security took up most of this, but I made my connection.

I took a taxi to the Crowne Plaza hotel—across the river in Gatineau, Quebec—checked in, and had a walk around. That part of Gatineau is quite unprepossessing. I was surprised at how much French was spoken. I had a Subway sandwich, disoriented by the time change. The hotel was quiet and, to my surprise, the tiny bar sold no beer: this would be a source of wonderment to some of the editors all weekend and beyond. Continue reading

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Self-assertion and self-donation

Most of the material I edit, proofread or index doesn’t hold much intrinsic interest for me, frankly. Sometimes, though, I get to work on a book that really appeals to me. Lately I had this experience when I compiled an index for a book on Carl Jung and the medieval mystics who inspired him, and a couple of years ago I enjoyed indexing A.J. McGrath’s The Dark Ground of Spirit: Schelling and the Unconscious.

One passage of McGrath’s, referring to Jacob Boehme, expressed something that has often occurred to me: that we can’t be, and shouldn’t try to be, utterly selfless, caring only about others:

Boehme’s psychological point is simple enough to state: there is no alterity without ipseity, no self-donation without a latent self-assertion. This is not to say that love is selfish: self-assertion without self-donation is the essence of evil. But without the seed of selfishness, held in potency, not actualized, there would be no self to be overcome and given away. Continue reading

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