Welcome to Issue 28.  We've recently returned from a visit to the School in Madrid.  When the School bought that building a few years ago, it had a tennis court and a swimming pool.  
Students have converted the tennis court into a serene garden, complete with water channels and fountain - lovely!  The swimming pool is especially welcome during the July residentials when it is extremely hot. 

The School in Canberra opened its new building on 5th September with a celebration including music from a string quartet.  Renovations undertaken by students were completed just in time, with power points and dishwasher installed one hour before opening!   Canberra opened
Canberra students' work party at new building
 its doors to new students on 14th September.  

Go to  Schoolinsight for back issues; all the photos are restored and articles can be read in full.
Very best wishes for the rest of the term
Christine Lambie, Editor

Offender meets victim
Restorative Justice
Image Patrik Svensson
How to enjoy a long marriage
Space that makes you bigger

Article1Diane is a philosophy student in Part 4 in London.  For many years she has done voluntary work as a church member and also in prisons.  Here she tells something about the work she does in UK prisons.  

Restorative Justice:

Crime and Forgiveness

Diane Hudson, London
Joining victim and offender
Joining victim and offender

It all started at my first job - I was 22 at the time.  I was working with a woman in her 50's who abruptly said that she wouldn't be at work on Monday.  Then her photo appeared in the Evening Standard; she was on trial at the Old Bailey for defrauding a previous employer of a large amount of money and was eventually sentenced to 5 years.  I, and others at work really liked her, she was very efficient, a pleasure to work with and had been very kind to me.  Several of us thought there was more to it than the newspapers reported.  So two of us at work decided to write to her in prison and visited her.  We kept in contact throughout her sentence and I eventually met up with her after she came out of prison.  She told me she was moving away to make a new start and a few years later she died of cancer.

At that time I was helping some groups of people with disabilities.  I began to feel I wanted to help other people who were in prison who had not had the opportunities I had had in life, but there were no prisons near where I lived.  Then Belmarsh, a maximum security prison, was built in 1991.  A year after it was built someone came to talk to a group at my church about Prison Fellowship which is an ecumenical Christian organisation and I decided to join.  I have been going into Belmarsh, now for over 20 years.  I visit regularly on a Thursday morning.  It is an early start - I have to get up at 5.30 a.m. as I need to be at the gates by 7.15 a.m. and work there until around 12.00 noon.  I am there to help on courses such as Alpha run by the Chaplaincy team as well as spending time talking to offenders and listening to their concerns.

Offender meets victim
Prison Fellowship (PF) also runs a course called Sycamore Tree (ST) which is a victim awareness and restorative justice course intended to help the offender to understand the harm his actions have caused and make amends.  I have helped on this course in Holloway, Pentonville and a young offenders prison for five years now.  
It is a six-week course and taught in prisons in groups of up to 20 learners by PF Volunteers. Prisoners on the programme explore the effects of crime on victims, offenders and the community and discuss what it means to take responsibility for their personal actions.  For offenders the most powerful element of the programme takes place when a victim of crime comes to talk about how a crime has impacted on their lives.  

The victim gets a voice
One victim spoke about a gunman coming to his door one evening.  He opened the door on a chain and the gunman pushed his weapon through the gap to point at his head.  The victim shouted out for help and managed to push the door shut and the gunman ran away but was later arrested.  The victim wanted a restorative justice meeting with his offender, and after nearly three years they met by agreement in prison.  The victim was the first person the offender had seen since going to prison!  The victim told the offender of the emotional effects the attack had had on him and his wife.  He and his wife have also suffered two burglaries and his wife was now afraid to stay in the house alone. The offender told the victim that if the victim had not shouted out for help he would have shot him.  He had gone to the wrong address to take revenge on another person and had realised his mistake when he heard the man's voice.  At the end of the meeting the victim made the decision to forgive the offender. 

Many offenders have been victims themselves of offences and abuse during their lives and their ability to forgive and overcome their negative emotions is also discussed on this course. A quote that is used on the course is "Harbouring unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person will die".

Completion of workbooks for this course by the offender results in an educational qualification from Open College Network.  One offender recently said that this was the first qualification he had ever received and he was in his 20's.  When they come out of prison, many offenders want to help young people not to offend and go (under supervision) and speak to children in schools about crime.

Has philosophy helped with the work in prisons?
Well, I often mention the phrase we are given "What would a wise man do now?" when talking to offenders.  I have found the course on Love (Part 3) very reaffirming and it is true that giving time to others is uplifting.  I have also tried to listen far more carefully to the offenders' stories and concerns since doing the course.  Also, we are asked on the course "to look at others freshly as if for the first time".  Although I meet some prisoners for the first time their stories may well have appeared in the newspapers before I meet them.  This is particularly the case when many are on remand at Belmarsh so I endeavour to be even more open-minded and always non-judgemental when meeting those behind bars.

I have continued to do this for many years now because of the enjoyment I get from building a relationship with people whom I would not otherwise meet and hopefully providing support to them during a difficult phase in their lives.  My basic philosophy in life is that all people are valuable and despite what might have happened to them in the past, change and growth is always possible.

Go to SycamoreTree for more information about this programme.

Hot off the Press! 
Collecting the Economic Rent of Land is one of the keys to Hong Kong's phenomenal success.  Andrew Purves is a senior student in London as well as an enthusiast in the economics department.  Published this year, this is an excellent piece of research, which doesn't skimp on details about the tax system in Hong Kong.  The chapter on the Mass Transit Railway is a fascinating study in how public transport can be efficient, and profitable - astounding.  The book is enriched by Andrew's occasional autobiographical observations - he grew up in Hong Kong.  

Anyone serious about land value taxation would do well to read this book - it is a persuasive study and accessible to general readers - no economic expertise required.  Order from  sesbookshop

Article2William and Carol Fox celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary this summer.  Here they say something about their journey together.  They started the School in Israel in 2005, with classes now held in both Tel Aviv and Herzliya.   

How to enjoy a long marriage
William and Carol Fox, Israel

  • What's your secret to a long marriage? 
Carol: It's to put the other person first.  It's about letting go of desires and being in the present.  And making him happy.  In turn he puts me first and makes me happy.  It works out. 

William: It's about being together, oneness, not being apart.  It's keeping in mind that oneness is the only objective.  It's like the story of Arjuna, who sees only the eye of the bird.  And you need a bit of good fortune too. 

  • What is the advantage of a long relationship?  
Carol: You gain confidence and tremendous respect for each other.  It is something permanent and real.  It requires work, but it's well worth it. The work is in giving attention to what your spouse is saying, and what the needs are.  Generosity is a major component. 

William: The main advantage is that you are not searching alone. You already have the perfect companion for the journey and you are already en route.  There are no shifting sands.  There is mutual trust in each other.  And so you're extremely comfortable - it's feet up!

  • How did you meet?  
Carol: It was a blind date, arranged by my best friend - a beach date actually.  My friend was paired with William, but he made the switch when he saw me.  My mother had made a picnic lunch for us and it was the most fabulous picnic - I think that helped!

William:  I found a nugget of gold on the sandy shore of Long Island, which is kissed by the Atlantic Ocean. 
  • What have you faced together?
Carol:  A multitude of securities and insecurities: raising children, jobs, families, and upheaval in the economy of the country.  It doesn't ever go smoothly.  

William: I've attended classes in the School for 43 years - Carol has been by my side, also making substantial efforts.  Occasionally there's something in philosophy that rubs you up the wrong way.  You need the support of the other to build a bridge and get over it.  Someone you trust who you can talk to.  It smoothes out the rough spots.  And, yes, having lived 30 years in three foreign lands would not have been possible without Carol - she has made our entry and acceptance easy everywhere .

  • Words of wisdom?
William:  Difficult circumstances always present themselves.  There is the necessary strength to face anything. This is assured when one has what has turned out to be the 'all-knowing' companion.

Carol: I would encourage young people to get married - it's so much better than living together.  But I'd also say, be realistic; it's going to be work but the dividends are tremendous.  It's fantastic.  So take heart and be courageous - it's worth it.  Put your heart and soul into it. 

Carol has written a book called Right To Marry: A Case for Getting and Staying Married, now available online at  FoxKindle

Top Tips: recommended by readers
1. The Wright Brothers by David McCullough.  In 1903, two bicycle mechanics, Orville and Wilbur Wright, made the first short flights at Kitty Hawk; this was the beginning.  Thrilling, with wonderful photos.

2. Pause for well-being  2nd  year San Francisco student,  Behnoush shares her experience of pausing between activities for a Toastmaster's challenge.  To watch this engaging talk, go to  5secondPause.

3.  TED talk:   In Lebanon there is one gunshot a year that isn't part of a scene of routine violence: the opening sound of the Beirut International Marathon. Marathon founder May El-Khalil explains why she believed a 26.2-mile running event could bring together a country divided for decades by politics and religion, even if for one day a year. Go to TEDElKahlil

Townley Hall rotunda and stone staircase
Article3The School in Ireland owns a magnificent mansion called Townley Hall.  It is an exceptional example of Georgian architecture, and widely regarded as the perfect neo-classical house.  On June 7, the School hosted an open day to explore the architectural and social history of the house and more about the architect, Francis Johnson.  Dermot Conway, senior student in Dublin and bursar of Townley Hall writes about the house and this event. 

A Space that Makes you Bigger
Dermot Conway, Dublin
Built in the 1790's, Townley Hall is located about 30 miles north of Dublin, on a hilltop setting surrounded by 60 acres of rolling parkland, overlooking the historic Boyne Valley. The location is strikingly beautiful and peaceful.

Acquired by the Irish School of Philosophy in the 1980's, Townley Hall today serves as the School's residential house in Ireland, with accommodation for 90 students.

The house itself is an architectural jewel. It is renowned for its exquisite interior, wonderful proportions, the quality of the materials and craftsmanship used in its construction and, in particular, the magnificent staircase. 

My view of the house has changed since taking on the role of bursar.  My respect has grown with the greater involvement and I've learnt a lot in terms of its historical importance.  But as bursar I see things that need to be done!  We're very fortunate to have such a fine building and we need to look after it.  

There's something magical when you're there.  We start early in the morning, and you see people walking across the rotunda, then a meeting in the beautiful library.  Residentials are taking place in a glorious environment.  The sense of peace just pervades, both inside the house as well as outside.  It's a privilege to be there with those people in such a fantastic environment.  

In addition to School residentials, Townley Hall is also the venue for many other School events such as the Art in Action festival, Cultural day, and Plato Day. It also hosts events by local and community groups including the recently established Boyne Music Festival, now in its third year.

Open Day
Over the last few years I have been working closely with the architects (Michael and Victoria Kavanagh are also students in the School here) on many conservation issues and more recently on the restoration of the derelict kitchen wing, the first stage of which we officially opened in February of this year.

So we had the idea to put on an event dedicated to Townley's architect Francis Johnston.  Johnston is one of Ireland's greatest native born architects and a revered figure in the architectural and heritage community. It's to this audience the event was primarily directed, along with interested members of the public.

Speakers mostly came from the architectural community.  Around 80 people booked for the full day seminar in addition to many casual visitors to the house and exhibition. We received a very positive response from visitors, who were impressed by the house, the quality of the event and the excellent service provided by the School's students.

How does it make you feel?
One of the architects who came to the open day spoke about space that makes you feel uplifted.  There are spaces which are too big, and they can make you feel small.  But the brilliance of architecture is in understanding that exact point - at Townley Hall the space is just right so that you feel bigger and spiritually uplifted.  
We extend a warm invitation to students of the School worldwide to visit us here in Townley Hall.  It's always best to do so by appointment; we can be reached through our website: TownleyHall

Lily is the black labrador who lives with Donald Lambie, the leader of the School and his wife, the editor.  She has become a popular contributor to this newsletter, with her own canine insight.
Letter from Lily

Lots of people have been asking about my holiday snaps - so here's a selfie I took outside Rouen cathedral.  It's not easy taking shots with a paw, but I think you'll agree I look sensational there.  France was a lot of fun and I made a lot of friends for my People - everywhere actually.  

Sometimes I overhear people saying that dogs can't talk.  Oh yes they can.  
Dogs CAN talk
Watch this video and listen to my friend. Just don't copy the terrible behaviour of the man - teasing a dog - how low can you get?  

But here's my point - you people don't have tails.  You just 
can't beat a tail. My power-wag threatens furniture. I hear a lot of excitement about solar power - what about wag-power? Actually we dogs could probably solve all your energy questions. Forget shale gas and fracking - think about Wag Energy.  Every movement quivering with happiness.
Wags and licks from

Reader Feedback
As always, thanks for reading!
Thank you - Smart - Confident - Courageous & dedicated.  What else can I say!!!   London

How delightful to receive the latest issue of Insight!  I am one of  Lily's fans, and thought you might enjoy a similar 'guilty dog' video featuring a Boston Terrier. . .  On a more serious note, I also experienced an unearthly sense of power in the rocks (specifically the sheer cliffs) at Yosemite National Park. My husband and I and his family travelled there last October.  The inherent power brought me to immediate stillness more profound than other places in nature.  Your assembling and editing (and inspiration!) for the newsletter is much appreciated.  With love, Boston

I want to say I was totally enraptured by this edition of Insight.  The S. African term "Ubuntu" captures the spirit of Richard Brayshaw's article on service to inner city youth. When in S. Africa I learned that "Ubuntu" can be translated as  "There is no me without you," in other words, We are One.  Dame Ellen MacArthur's TED talk was fascinating, also reflecting the notion that we are One with the earth and all her inhabitants.  I am proud to be part of a School that puts these truths into action.  Every article stimulated my mind and heart.  Best regards, Rochester NY. 

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