Today was my first day back at work after a long absence through ill health. It is an odd, unsettling feeling to step back into a familiar that has become alien. The institutional issues remain, yet feel less urgent, more trivial than they did. The purpose of our organisation, adult education, never seemed more vital.
This is a persistent paradox, the purest of aims and ideals have to be delivered by institutions, which are often vehicles for less elevated human concerns. It is a theme explored in Ursula Le Guin's science fiction novel, The Dispossessed. The novel is subtitled, An Ambiguous Utopia. I could settle for that. If the utopia is worth having, I can live with the ambiguity. Pessimists, cynics - away with them. Let's continue to dream.