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Sunday Letters

Sunday Letters

By Larry G. Maguire
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Have We Misunderstood The Metaphor?

Sunday Letters

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May 04, 2021
Trading Images of The Self
We are obsessed with our self-image. Even for most of us who play a very minor role in the grand stage show we call life, there is a desire to be seen in a particular light. Depending on the situation, we may be a leader or follower, the boss or the employee, the parent or the child, the inflictor or the afflicted, the sadist or the masochist. My go-to humanist socialist, Erich Fromm, wrote on this phenomenon extensively. So too did his predecessor, Sigmund Freud. Both acknowledge the thinness and destructiveness of the surface level self formed through a relationship with its environment. When we stare into the mirror, we see a reflection. It is a representation of us that serves to reinforce the ideas and concepts we hold of ourselves. We dress up to fulfil that image, and when what we see staring back meets the ideal, we are ready to go out into the world. But weaknesses exist–unacknowledged in large part–and are concealed by a nice haircut, skinny jeans, and new shoes. The image we have borrowed from the world of other people holds a central role in all our affairs and exchanges and protects us from those weaknesses. Who are we really? Read this week's Sunday Letters article
April 25, 2021
Human Nature Is A Lipsticked Pig
I’m in conflict. I’m always in conflict; it’s the nature of my reality. It’s the nature of your reality too. To wear the blue or the red jumper, have chicken, beef, or a bag of lettuce for dinner, addressing your own mortality, or trying to solve The Collatz Conjecture - we live in a state of questioning. Life is an unsolvable puzzle, a paradox. Like an infinite Russian Doll scenario, it seems there’s no answer to be found. For if there were, what would be the point to life? I buy into the premise held by Eastern philosophy that says for every dark there is a light, up there is a down, yang there is a yin, and so on. Duality seems to be a fundamental property of what we call reality. Right now, however, in the affairs of human beings, there seems to be a decidedly lengthy period of darkness. We could argue that it’s several thousand years old, and only in the recent one hundred years or so, it has become more pronounced. Technological advancement has brought about many improvements to our lives, but is it really all that wonderful? We’ve got iPhones and the internet, MRI machines and the Mars Rover mission. You can turn the heating on from your mobile phone and video chat with loved ones on the other side of the world. It looks and feels great on the surface, but we get the sense that there’s something funny going on. We’re amused and entertained to such an extent that we can’t see we may have been duped. Look a bit closer, and society takes on the attributes of a lipsticked pig. Read the full article
April 21, 2021
Are You Protecting Your Internet Privacy?
What are you doing to protect yourself and your family from the "bad guys," corporations, and governments that want to know your business? Over the past twelve months, I have felt an increasing need to protect my internet activity and private data from misappropriation and misuse. An apparent “compromise” of my password information held by Google pretty much made up my mind. I needed to take greater care of my online information and be less reliant on one provider; Google. Not only that, I needed to keep my info to myself rather than give it away for free. However, my attempts to shield myself may be in vain. Every email you write, and every email you receive via Google’s email servers tells them something about the way you live and work. Google Drive saves your files in a convenient way allowing collaboration with others across the globe, and it’s all free. Brilliant, right? The Google Maps application tells them where you’re going, where you’ve been, and for how long. The search terms you use when looking for garden hose parts, or cake ingredients, might give you the answer you were looking for, but it also tells them who you are. Read the full article
April 18, 2021
Knowing The Pattern
Now, if you spend the necessary time becoming familiar with the pattern, the bet is not a bet; it’s a measured, scientific assessment that occurs almost below the line of sight. It’s what we call intuition and this is so with all areas of life. If we don’t take the time to immerse ourselves in it, then the bet is just a bet. It lacks intuition, and the pursuit of the win becomes hoping and wishing. In extreme cases, it becomes almost pathological. As it is with all addictions, it is the seeking of the self in external stimulation when what we really want is the feeling that comes from already being there. As such, the only way to get it is to not chase it. You could say it’s there already, the winning of it I mean, and we don’t know that. We go after it in all kinds of places where it’s not. Get The Midweek Read
April 14, 2021
Finding A New Way To Work
It seems we’ve got to ride two psychological horses, so to speak. We can be ourselves (whatever that means), but we’ve got to be someone else too. Try to uphold your ethical and moral principles while operating an ongoing commercial concern and see how far it gets you. Instead, if you’re going to enter the business world, you must arm yourself with a healthy dose of ruthlessness. Others are lying in wait to take advantage; staff, suppliers, customers, fellow directors, contemporaries, and so on, so don’t kid yourself. You may hold to your ethical and moral principles for some time, but on the occasion, you're under threat, and you will, you need to fight back. You can’t be a shining light of moral evangelism in the business world. It’s like walking onto the battlefield without armour. It’s simply naive. Read the Sunday Letters article
April 11, 2021
Have We Misunderstood The Metaphor?
This morning my youngest son sat on the sitting room floor with a large Cadbury’s chocolate egg in his hands and asked me, “what are we celebrating, Dad? What are these eggs all about?” “Exactly,” I said. All my children know the story of JC, rising from the dead and all that craic, but there is a significant disconnect between that story and the reality of Easter celebrations, is there not? So I put aside the scheduled piece I’d been working on for today’s Sunday Letters in favour of sharing my thoughts on Easter, what it means to me, and what it says about western industrialised culture. Read the Sunday Letters Essay
April 04, 2021
The Degradation of Freedom
This week, I’m examining freedom or the absence thereof. The subject is current and apt, given that protests seem commonplace in every major city of the industrialised world these days. Whether it’s outrage at the unlawful death of black Americans, support for an outgoing narcissistic president, riots against the threat to Hong Kong democracy, or demonstrations against Covid restrictions, populations globally are up in arms over infringements to their civil liberty and sense of freedom. Read this issue of Sunday Letters Support Sunday Letters
March 28, 2021
Watching Someone Close Pass Away
I was at home at about 9 pm when the phone rang. The hospice called earlier, my sister said. They got a cancer care nurse to assist in the final few days. She had arrived at the house and it was, in fact, only a matter of hours. I had been over earlier that day and I knew it wouldn’t be long, but I didn’t think it would be as quick. How could I? It was happening for a while, maybe a year or more before she was diagnosed, but something in me didn’t want to acknowledge it. I knew but I didn’t know. In retrospect, the dots became joined and her behaviour made sense. I had never experienced someone this close to me die before, and now here I was, about to watch them slip away. Get full access to Sunday Letters at
March 23, 2021
Welcome To Sunday Letters
I’ve been writing Sunday Letters since 2015, and although I have published podcast material with the newsletter before today, it has never been branded Sunday Letters. Now that I’m testing a move from MailChimp to Substack, I figured adding a podcast under the same name is a good idea. I had considered adding an audio clip in MailChimp, but it wasn’t possible to embed a media file on the published page. A YouTube video, yes, but an audio, no. So, when I saw Substack could not only do this, but allow publishing to podcast platforms like Apple Podcasts, I decide to jump in and give it a blast. Listen now | The addition of audio to the newsletter & other news Get full access to Sunday Letters at
March 14, 2021
March 13, 2021
March 13, 2021