New Generation Thinkers - Short Feature

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20200419Susan Greaney and the Jomon Connection.

Archeologist Susan Greaney has spent much of her life studying the Neolithic monuments of the British isles, including Stonehenge. As part of her role at English Heritage she was invited recently to travel to Japan to see what was happening there at much the same time that the massive stones were being assembled on the high ground in Wiltshire. In this programme Susan reports from three sites in northern Japan were the ancient Jomon civilisations also turned to stones, gathered and shaped in circular formations, for what appear to have been ritual ceremonies. That, half a world away, two peoples should have sought to reflect and respond to nature in this way is astonishing and Susan's knowledge of the ancient past here inspires a new fascination for the sophistication of Japan's ancient history and the relative wealth of material, in the form of pottery and traces of domestic life, that are to be found in these old Jomon sites.

Susan Greaney draws parallels and makes connections between the Neolithic peoples of Britain and the ancient Jomon civilisation of Japan, both of whom used circles of stone in ritual celebrations.

New Generation Thinkers test their theories in the real world.

Exploring music, history, science, philosophy, film, visual arts and literature.

20200426Dr Elsa Richardson studies the history of life reform in Britain, tracking subjects which today are of mainstream importance but were, back in the early years of the 20th century seen to be the territory of eccentrics and cranks. In the process of reading about vegetarianism, herbal medicine, nudism, sunbathing and alternative forms of spirituality as conceived by writers in the early 1900s, she began to notice the significance of the publisher CW Daniel.

In this programme Elsa explores the Daniel publishing story, its roots in Tolstoyan Christianity and the way it became a hub for radical thinkers far removed from the political activism of the women's suffrage and rising Labour movement. CW Daniel's story, his arrests during the First World War for publishing pacifist material and his relationship and meeting with Leo Tolstoy towards the end of the great Russian novelists life, are extraordinary. At the heart of his publishing efforts was a periodical The Crank, which celebrated the spirit of change and progress that he and his wife to be Florence Worland, believed in so passionately.

Elsa also asks how the breadth of the Daniel's interests has fared over time. There was a renewed interest in the 70s but many of the lifestyle ideas, which seemed so radical in the 20th century are now accepted as something close to mainstream in the 21st.

Producer: Tom Alban

New Generation Thinkers test their theories in the real world.

Exploring music, history, science, philosophy, film, visual arts and literature.