PoV: Soylent and the Charm of the Fast Lane 14 Nov 14
The new food substitute Soylent allows you to give up eating meals in order to have more free time. But John Gray argues that human beings crave busy lives. We want to be distracted, he says, so we don't have to think too much. Producer: Adele Armstrong.
PoV: John Gray: Capitalism and the Myth of Social Evolution 07 Nov 14
John Gray reflects on why the advance of capitalism is not - as is widely believed - inevitable. He argues that social evolution is often unpredictable and that the "seemingly unstoppable advance of market forces" could well be halted by political decisions and the "random flux of human events". P
PoV: Adam Gopnik: Cures for Anxiety 31 Oct 14
Adam Gopnik identifies four different types of anxiety that afflict modern people and suggests ways to cure them. "The job of modern humanists is to do consciously what Conan Doyle did instinctively: to make the thrill of the ameliorative, the joy of small reliefs, of the case solved and mystery dis
PoV: Adam Gopnik: A Lesson from Lovelocks 24 Oct 14
Adam Gopnik draws a poignant lesson on the nature of true love from the eyesore of love locks in Paris. "Love should never be symbolised by a shackle. Love - real love, good love, love to grow on rather than be trapped in - is a lock to which the key is always available." Producer: Sheila Cook
PoV: Adam Gopnik: The Football Fallacy Fri 17 Oct 2014
Adam Gopnik explains why the English are better at watching football than playing it and why the Americans are better at talking about democracy than practising it.
PoV: Adam Gopnik: Dying with Dignity 10 Oct 14
Adam Gopnik thinks we fail too often to let people die with dignity at the end of their lives and believes the answer lies in showing deference. "Dignity, I think is an exceptional demand, one that depends on at least an illusion or masquerade of an anti-egalitarian, indeed pre-modern - indeed an
PoV: Adam Gopnik: Short and Successful 3 Oct 2014
Adam Gopnik thinks there's a simple reason for the recent findings that short men enjoy stable marriages. It's not that they are desperate to please, but are desperate to prevail. "In every area of life, we underrate the merits of desperation, and persistently overrate the advantages of free choice.
PoV: Lisa Jardine: Keeping Time: 26 Sept 14
Lisa Jardine reflects on the rich history of time-pieces and the power of clocks and watches. "Each watch on display in the British Museum's Clocks and Watchers galleries speaks to me of a world galvanized by scientific innovation, whose horizons were expanding through voyages of discovery and the
PoV: Lisa Jardine: Red Dress Sense: 19 Sept 14
This season's fashion for red prompts Lisa Jardine to reflect on the power in the past of this colour for clothes. "In Tudor England successive monarchs tried to define social status by dress ... a strict code governed the wearing of 'costly apparel', and red was one of the colours most rigidly cont
PoV: Lisa Jardine: The Horror of War: 12 Sept 14
Lisa Jardine says while documenting and commemorating the First World War we should not lose sight of its horror. "Wars are not heroic, even if they prompt acts of heroism by soldiers and civilians. Our young people, raised in a Britain at peace for 70 years, need to know that." Producer: Adele
PoV: Lisa Jardine: When fiction comes to the historian's rescue: 05 Sept 14
Lisa Jardine explores how fiction can be more useful than fact in helping us understand the past. She examines two works of fiction (a recent radio play "The Chemistry Between Them" and Michael Frayn's celebrated stage work, Copenhagen) to show how they often cast far more light on their respect
PoV: Will Self: Why Orwell is the Supreme Mediocrity: 29 Aug 14
Will Self takes on one of the nation's best loved figures, George Orwell ... and braces himself for the backlash! Producer: Adele Armstrong
PoV: Will Self: What's Funny? 15 Nov 13
Will Self reflects on comedy, asking why we laugh and whether there's too much of the wrong type of humour in our culture. Producer: Caroline Bayley.
PoV: Will Self: The Affliction of Consumption 15 Aug 2014
Will Self reflects on the power of modern day consumption and the effect it is having on us.
PoV: Will Self: Believing in Beliefs : 08 Aug 14
Will Self argues that our modern secular brand of beliefs can't deal with the "heavy stuff" in life. Producer: Adele Armstrong
PoV: Will Self: The Changing Nature of Utopias: 01 Aug 14
Will Self reflects on what the changing nature of utopias says about us, from Thomas More's sixteenth century Utopia to the recent TV series of the same name. Producer: Arlene Gregorius
PoV: Is patriotism the last refuge of the scoundrel? 25 July 14
Republican or royalist we all need something or someone in which to invest our loyalty. Will Self reflects on what really lies behind our sense of patriotism. Producer: Arlene Gregorius
PoV: John Gray: Believing in reason is childish: 18 July 14
Some critics of religion see having faith as being childish. But John Gray argues that believing that human beings are rational is more childish than believing in religion. The belief in the power of reason to improve humankind rests on childishly simple ideas he says. One of the commonest is that h
PoV: John Gray: "Isis: a modern revolutionary force"? 11 July 14
Philosopher and author John Gray argues that the Sunni extremist group Isis (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) is actually more of a modern revolutionary force than a reactionary one intent on a reversion to mediaeval values. Surprising as this may sound says Gray, Isis is thoroughly modern. I
PoV: AL Kennedy: To See Ourselves: 04 July 14
AL Kennedy argues that the British have much to gain from - in the words of Robert Burns - "seeing ourselves as others see us". Referring to last week's row over the appointment of the new European Commission President, she writes: "the EU's view of Britain might be that we're always yelling in
PoV: AL Kennedy: Battling the Botnets: 27 June 14
It's a tale of "shadowy white-hatted hackers, more shadowy black-hatted hackers and the possibility that the pricey electronic equipment lurking in our homes may not have our best interests at heart". AL Kennedy reflects on the current spate of high-profile viruses that are threatening our comput
PoV: AL Kennedy: If You Haven't Got Anything Nice to Say ... :20 June 14
AL Kennedy argues that our obsession with gossip is affecting our public discourse, and corrupting its content. She traces the history of gossip, explores how gossip is edging out real news and how it's taken over our political lives. "Gossip obscures truth" she writes, "sours our outlooks o
PoV: AL Kennedy: No Burning Required: 13 June 14
"Humanity's past thoughts are my inheritance" writes AL Kennedy. "I need them in order to learn how to prosper in the long term". As more and more public libraries close their doors, AL Kennedy argues that we must reassess the importance of books. She says library closures, culled GCSE readi
PoV: Tom Shakespeare: Bring Back the Heptarchy! 06 June 14
Scotland could become independent. So, asks Tom Shakespeare, should England consider returning to an earlier order – a heptarchy of seven independent jurisdictions?
PoV: Tom Shakespeare: Disability 30 May 2014
Many people assume that disabled people must be unhappy. But the empirical evidence doesn't back this up. In A Point of View, Tom Shakespeare argues that disability is nothing to fear.
PoV: Tom Shakespeare: Religious but not spiritual: 23 May 14
A growing number of people are describing themselves as spiritual but not religious. This is not a trend of which Tom Shakespeare approves. In this week's Point of View he argues, rather, that we should be religious but not spiritual. Producer: David Edmonds
PoV: Mary Beard: Testing Times: 16 May 14
As hundreds of thousands of young people get ready to sit exams, Mary Beard reflects on exam season – past and present. Producer: Adele Armstrong
PoV: Mary Beard: The Paradox of Growing Old: 09 May 14
Mary Beard argues that in years to come, our treatment of old people will be as much of a blot on our culture as Bedlam and the madhouses were on the culture of the 18th century. Producer: Adele Armstrong
PoV: Mary Beard: Digging Digitally: 02 May 14
"The archaeological wonders of today" writes Mary Beard "don't come from heroic subterranean exploration, still less from the efforts of teenagers with their spades and trowels in damp Shropshire fields. They are much more often 'virtual'". Mary reflects on the new face of archaeology - far remov
PoV: Mary Beard: Mile Milestone: 25 April 14
Mary Beard looks forward to the 60th anniversary of the first "four minute mile". But in the midst of the celebrations, she argues that we should also remember that Roger Bannister's victory was a "glaring display of class division". Maybe appropriate then that this month also sees the return of
PoV: William Dalrymple: Travel writing giants: 18 April 14
William Dalrymple celebrates the writing of Peter Matthiessen who died this month, comparing him with another of his favourite travel writers, Patrick Leigh Fermor. "Both were footloose scholars who left their studies and libraries to walk in the wild places of the world, erudite and bookish wandere
PoV: William Dalrymple: A Tale of Two Elections 11 April 2014
William Dalrymple reflects on the current pivotal elections in India and Afghanistan where religion, identity and economics will all help to determine the outcomes.
PoV: William Dalrymple: A Lenten Reflection 04 April 14
William Dalrymple contrasts the Christian view of Lent – with all its self-discipline and self-deprivation – with that represented in great Indian art. Producer: Adele Armstrong
PoV: Sarah Dunant: A Disease Called Fame: 28 March 14
Sarah Dunant reflects on fame and the cult of celebrity following the recent success of the film "20 feet from Stardom". The film about backing singers - the unsung heroes of pop music - scooped best documentary at the Oscars. Sarah discusses how celebrity culture has given us a society where the d
PoV: Sarah Dunant: Heavy Weather 21 Mar 14
Sarah Dunant compares our reaction today to climate change with responses in the seventeenth century to extreme weather.
PoV: Sarah Dunant: The Time Warp: 14 March 14
Sarah Dunant reflects that today's harsher judgement of some of the sexual behaviour prevalent in the 1970s springs in part from the freedom forged in that decade. "Without the seventies, we would never have had the debate, the public awareness, the sense of outrage or even the occasionally blunt to
PoV: Roger Scruton: Free the Schools: 07 March 14
Roger Scruton believes the way to improve our schools is through tapping into the time and talents of middle class volunteers. "The philanthropic middle classes, who created our education system and made it one of the best in the world, have been for too long excluded from it". Producer: Sheila Co
PoV: Roger Scruton: Our Love for Animals: 28 Feb 14
Roger Scruton thinks we get our priorities wrong when we favour pets at the expense of wild animals. "We must recognise that by loving our pets as individuals we threaten the animals who cannot easily be loved in any such way." Producer: Sheila Cook.
PoV: Roger Scruton: United We Fall: 21 Feb 14
Roger Scruton argues for a voice for the English in the debate over Scottish independence. "As an Englishman I naturally ask why my interests in the matter have never been taken into account." Producer: Sheila Cook.
PoV: Adam Gopnik: Money Matters: 14 Feb 14
Adam Gopnik explains why he thinks the pictures on our banknotes matter. "The iconography of money is more than just decor - it displays the true convictions of the commonwealth that intends to support its value." Producer: Sheila Cook.
PoV: Adam Gopnik: Twitter Free: 07 Feb 14
Adam Gopnik explains his indifference to Twitter and social media."After the introduction of a new device, or social media, our lives are exactly where they were before, save for the new thing or service, which we now cannot live without". Producer: sheila Cook
PoV: Adam Gopnik: Why Sportsmanship Matters: 31 Jan 2014
Adam Gopnik reflects on the nature of sportsmanship ahead of the American Super Bowl following controversy over a player's supposedly unsporting comments.
PoV: Adam Gopnik: Self Drive Manhood: 24 Jan 14
Adam Gopnik hails the development of the self-drive car as the way to rescue his male identity after years as a non driver. He also muses on the need for such cars to have "ethical engines" capable of moral judgements. Producer: Sheila Cook
PoV: Adam Gopnik: Sex and the French: 17 Jan 14
Adam Gopnik reflects on the attitude of the French to the sex lives of their statesmen and gives his opinion that the price of privilege is prudence. "Puritanical societies are less morally alert than ones like France that aren't, because the puritanical societies have the judgments prepackaged and
PoV: John Gray: Unknown Knowns: 10 Jan 14
John Gray reflects on "unknown knowns" - what we know but prefer not to think about, whether it's the truth about the invasion of Iraq or the failures of the financial system that led to the banking crisis. "We humans are sturdy and resilient animals with enormous capacities of creativity and adapta
PoV: John Gray: The Perils of Belief: 03 Jan 14
John Gray reflects on the damage that can be caused by evangelical belief in a religion or in a political idea. "Whether they are religious or political, evangelists seem to me a blight on civilisation. For them as for those they persecute or bully, belief is an obstacle to a fulfilling life." Prod
PoV: John Gray: Two Cheers for Human Rights: 27 Dec 13
John Gray gives only two cheers for human rights. We are in danger, he argues, of turning them into a "comforting dogma through which we try to escape the painful dilemmas of war and politics." "Rather than thinking of rights as a militant creed that can deliver the world from its conflicts, we s
PoV: William Dalrymple: Islamo-Christian Heritage: 20 Dec 13
In the week when Prince Charles speaks out against violence against Christians in the Middle East, William Dalrymple says it's time to remember the "old and often forgotten cohabitation of Islam and Christianity". "Christmas time is perhaps the proper moment to remember the long tradition of reverin
PoV: John Gray: Why Dickens Endures: 13 Dec 13
John Gray gives his own theory for the cultural longevity of Charles Dickens, celebrating his view of life as a theatre of the absurd. "Dickens enjoyed human beings as he found them: unregenerate, peculiar and incorrigibly themselves." Producer: Sheila Cook.
PoV: Will Self: It's Always the Others Who Die 06 Dec 2013
Will Self reflects that our modern, secular society has silenced the voices of the dead. As a result, he thinks we fail to directly sympathise with what they have left behind.
PoV: Will Self: Political Trojan Horses: 29 Nov 13
Will Self warns against politicians' superficially attractive policies which turn out to be Trojan horses. "It all comes down to gifts - presents that we save up for through the countrywide Christmas club we call progressive taxation, and which are then handed out by the jolly, hohoing Government in
PoV: Will Self: Rebuilding After 9/11: 22
Will Self reflects from the top of the new One World Trade Center in New York on the challenge of rebuilding after the destruction of 9.11. "The downtown site, mired in ground sacred to mammon, has mixed into it a complex mulch of private rights and public responsibilities: to harmonise these com
PoV: Will Self: Self Confident Culture: 15 Nov 13
Will Self argues for greater British cultural self confidence in the debate over the wearing of the veil. Producer: Sheila Cook
PoV: Will Self: JFK Fifty Years On 08 Nov 13
Will Self reflects on America's view of the assassination of JF Kennedy, fifty years on. After years of talk of conspiracy, cover-up and doctored film footage, he concludes, "It isn't so much that the Kennedy assassination has transitioned smoothly into a commonsensical past; it's rather that it was
PoV: Will Self: Pity the Young 01 Nov 13
Will Self reflects on the malign influence of the older generation on the young as the population of Britain ages. "In my darker moments - of which there are quite a few - I often envision the baby boomer generation as a giant and warty toad squatting on the youth of our society". Producer: Sheila
PoV: Lisa Jardine: Reflections on IVF 25 Oct 13
Lisa Jardine reflects on the sensitive questions surrounding IVF as she comes to the end of her term as Chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. "I would have loved to have been able to have spoken more often and more publicly,with more words of caution for those preparing to under
PoV: Lisa Jardine: Machine Intelligence 18 Oct 13
Lisa Jardine compares the contributions of Ada Lovelace and Alan Turing a century later to computer science and contrasts their views on the potential of and limits to machine intelligence.
PoV: Lisa Jardine: Cross Border Science: 11 Oct 13
Lisa Jardine reflects on the internationalism that underpins the progress of science in a week when individual nations celebrate their Nobel prize winners. "Science has always ignored national borders, in pursuit of the fullest possible understanding of nature." Producer: Sheila Cook
PoV: Lisa Jardine: Ethical Science 04 Oct 2013
Lisa Jardine draws lessons about the relationship between science and human values from the career of the Hungarian physicist Leo Szilard, who helped to develop the atom bomb.
PoV: AL Kennedy: The Horror of Love 27 Sep 13
Stephen King says "Love creates horror." AL Kennedy agrees. "I don't personally welcome love's ability to make me fear," she writes.
PoV: AL Kennedy: Someone to Watch Over Me 20 Sep 13
AL Kennedy reflects on our tendency to behave badly when we think no-one's watching or when we follow the wrong crowd. "When psychologists test how people behave with and without oversight, it becomes depressingly clear that if we think nobody's looking, we don't even remotely always let our consc
PoV: AL Kennedy: Great Pretenders 13 SEP 13
AL Kennedy reflects on the stuggle to establish truth in what she regards as an age of lies. Lies, she says, are proliferating on TV, in politics, in business and throughout public and private life. Extracting truths in moral and effective ways, she argues, is an ever greater challenge.
PoV: AL Kennedy: Real Change 06 SEP 13
Writer and performer A.L. Kennedy doesn't like change - but she thinks she should change her atittude.
PoV: Roger Scruton: Of the People, By the People 4 30 AUG 2013
Roger Scruton concludes his series of talks on the nature and limits of democracy. "We in Europe are moving not towards democracy but away from it," he says.
PoV: Roger Scruton: Of the People, By the People 3 23 AUG 2013
Roger Scruton argues that nations should be defined by language and territory rather than by party or faith. Looking at examples across the Middle East and in particular in Egypt, he explains why - in his view - a modern state cannot be governed by Islamic law.
PoV: Roger Scruton: Of the People, By the People 2 16 AUG 13
Philosopher Roger Scruton argues that democracy works only if we are prepared to be ruled by our opponents, however much we may dislike them. We need to accept politics as a process of compromise and conciliation - and for that, he says, the state must be secular.
PoV: Roger Scruton: Of the People, By the People 1 09 AUG 13
Philosopher Roger Scruton argues that democracy alone is not enough for political freedom as democracy, freedom and human rights do not necessarily coincide.
PoV: Sarah Dunant: Machiavelli's Summer in Tuscany 02 AUG 13
It’s exactly 500 years this summer since Niccolo Machiavelli wrote his famous book 'The Prince', on how to gain and retain political power. Sarah Dunant takes us back to the hot Tuscan summer when Machiavelli put down his thoughts, including the view that in politics, virtue must be tempered by expe
PoV: Sarah Dunant: The Pope's Twitter Feed 26 JUL 13
Sarah Dunant reflects on the Catholic church and suggests what Pope Francis should tell his Twitter followers about problems within the Catholic Church.
PoV: Sarah Dunant: A Big Day for Bert and Ernie? 19 JUL 13
The recent New Yorker cartoon showing Sesame Street's Bert and Ernie as a gay couple prompts Sarah Dunant to reflect on the power of such images to convey social messages.
PoV: Sarah Dunant: A Sporting Catharsis 12 JUL 13
As Britain basks in post-Wimbledon glory, amid the Ashes, Sarah Dunant reflects on how sport has - throughout history - been used by the authorities to help populations let off steam.
PoV: Sarah Dunant: Gender Matters 05 JUL 13
Sarah Dunant reflects on feminism and the ousting of Australia's Prime Minister.
PoV: Tom Shakespeare: Anyone for Art? 28 JUN 13
Tom Shakespeare asks is it time to democratise art? Furtmore, should we, the public, be allowed to borrow works of art from our national collections - that way we could have an affair with art, rather than a one-night stand.
PoV: Tom Shakespeare: A Midsummer Daydream 21 JUN 13
In Britain many of our holidays and festivals are rather dull - bank holidays for example. Tom Shakespeare, presenting the third of his four essays, says that when he looks at other cultures he feels a strong sense of festival envy. He wants Britain to have better festivals. To start with, shouldn't
PoV: Tom Shakespeare: Fly, Fish, Mouse & Worm 14 JUN 13
Sociologist Tom Shakespeare says his favourite childhood book was 'Bear, Mouse and Water Beetle' - which inspires his own modern tale 'Fly, Fish, Mouse and Worm'.
PoV: Tom Shakespeare: Can Compassion Be Taught? 07 JUN 13
Sociologist Tom Shakespeare explores recent scandals in the health service, which revealed appalling cases of abuse and neglect. This has led to calls for people in the medical profession to be taught compassion - but Tom is sceptical and asks can, and should, compassion be taught?
PoV: John Gray: Gatsby - The Perfect Fake 31 MAY 13
Political philosopher John Gray finds new resonance for our own age in the story of The Great Gatsby.
PoV: John Gray: The Doors of Perception 24 MAY 13
Philosopher John Gray argues for another way of perceiving the world inspired by the fantasy fiction writer Arthur Machen. Instead of believing that meaning in life can only be found by changing things around us, he says some of the most valuable human experiences come about when we simply look arou
PoV: John Gray: The Meaning of Evil 17 MAY 13
John Gray finds useful material for pondering the question of evil in the thriller writer Patricia Highsmith’s character Tom Ripley.
PoV: John Gray: The Myth of Modernity 10 MAY 13
John Gray draws on the novels of Mervyn Peake to argue it's a mistake to imagine that modernity marks a fundamental change in human experience.
PoV: John Gray: The Limits of Materialism 03 MAY 13
A story by Walter de la Mare inspires philosopher John Gray to argue that the prevailing creed of scientific materialism is a "simple minded philosophy" too limited for an unknowable world.
PoV: John Gray: Bitcoin’s Cyber Freedom 26 APR 13
Philosopher John Gray wonders what the rise of the cyber currency Bitcoin tells us about our human need for freedom and protection.
PoV Adam Gopnik: Children Leaving Home 19 APR 13
Adam Gopnik reflects on the terrible day when children finally leave home.
PoV: Adam Gopnik: Science, Magic & Madness 12 APR 13
What is the difference between magic and science? What is the difference between Galileo and his contemporary, the famous Elizabethan astrologer and alchemist John Dee? Adam Gopnik says it's the experimental method - the looking and seeing and testing that goes with true science. But when he wrote a
PoV: Adam Gopnik: The Irrationality of Nations 05 APR 13
Every nation has a core irrationality - a belief about itself which no amount of contrary evidence can shift, says Adam Gopnik.
PoV: Adam Gopnik: The Secret of a Happy Marriage 29 MAR 13
Lust, laughter and loyalty is the prformula for a happy marriage, says writer Adam Gopnik.
PoV: Adam Gopnik: Turkish Notions 22 MAR 13
As the world's top chess players battle it out in London, Adam Gopnik reflects on why we overrate masters and underrate mastery.
PoV: Lisa Jardine: Celestial Bodies 15 MAR 13
Historian Lisa Jardine reflects on comets and the lessons we can learn from early astronomers.
PoV: Lisa Jardine: Dame Mary Cartwright 08 MAR 13
Lisa Jardine celebrates the achievements of the mathematician Dame Mary Cartwright, whose work helped war-time radar engineers and became the foundation of chaos theory.
PoV: Lisa Jardine: Modern Medicis: 01 Mar 2013
Lisa Jardine celebrates the influence of art connoisseur Sir Denis Mahon and reflects on the impact of wealthy art collectors on public taste and government policy.
PoV: Lisa Jardine: The Winter Queen: 22 Feb 13
Lisa Jardine celebrates Elizabeth of Bohemia, the "Winter Queen", and sees her relegation to the margins of history as typical of our failure to recognise powerful women.
PoV: David Cannadine: In Praise of Birmingham: 15 Feb 13
David Cannadine defends his home city of Birmingham against a slur in "Pride and Prejudice" by celebrating its past and its current cultural renaissance.
PoV: David Cannadine: Grand Central celebration: 08 Feb 13
David Cannadine celebrates the saving of New York's now century old Grand Central Terminal and regrets the destruction of the city's other great beaux-arts station.
PoV: David Cannadine: The Appeal of Teddy Bears: 01 Feb 13
David Cannadine reflects on the enduring appeal of the teddy bear in contemporary culture since they were first named after Theodore Roosevelt over a hundred years ago.
PoV: David Cannadine: Presidential Inaugurations: 25 Jan 13
David Cannadine reflects on the history of presidential inaugurations and how American presidents since Abraham Lincoln have crafted their speeches when it's second time around.
PoV: Will Self: Urban Designs 18 JAN 13
Will Self laments what he sees as an absence of rational urban planning in our big cities and a fashion for dramatic sky scrapers driven by short term commercial values.
PoV: Will Self: Terminal Thoughts 11 JAN 13
Will Self says he would rather commit suicide than die a slow, painful death and would like society to find his choice more acceptable than at present.
PoV: Will Self: American Ambivalence 06 JAN 13
Will self reflects on Britain's confused relationship with the U.S. Taking the Tom Stoppard plays his American mother took him to see in the 70s as his starting point, he says that our relationship with our friends across the pond changed little in the last 40 years.
PoV: Will Self: The British Vomitorium 28 DEC 12
Will Self takes a historic foodie tour and explores how we've gone from being a culinary backwater to being "the most food-obsessed nation in Europe - if not the world".
PoV: Will Self: The New Economics Priesthood 21 DEC 12
Will Self warns against the false prophets of the new priesthood of economics.