A neck tie is a curious thing – a long, thin piece of cloth that serves no practical function, wrapped around a man’s neck, where it dangles in a perfect position to collect any stray drops of spaghetti sauce. A tie separates head and body, physically and symbolically.
In an interview last year, I was asked why we use the arts and humanities so much on the Oxford Strategic Leadership Programme. To me, the question revealed a couple of assumptions. First, that the most important knowledge is proto-scientific, technical and in the main, rational.
It struck me recently what a skill it is knowing when to stop. Marshall Young (Director of the Oxford Praxis Forum), who I work with at Oxford, seems to me to be a past master at this. A couple of weeks back we were having a typically rambling conversation when, as is often the case, a striking idea hailed into view (it was to do with the difference between an economy and an ecology).
I find myself thinking about the theme of permanence and change and the balance between again. Hardly surprising perhaps since in Spanish, it is woven into the language. Castillian has two verbs to be - 'ser' and 'estar'. The first is used for things that are deemed to be permanent - like where you are from (or which football team you support).