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From the archives

Liberal Interpretations

Making sense of Justin Trudeau and his party

Clock Watching

The nuclear threat lingers still

Spending Power

Can compassion and efficiency be combined in the use of public funds?

Salem Alaton

Salem Alaton is a former Globe and Mail arts reporter and features writer.

Articles by
Salem Alaton

Anatomy of Melancholy

Gabor Maté on society’s ills May 2023
Late one night at a racial-healing retreat in the woods of West Virginia, I found myself listening to an intense young man who unexpectedly declared, “I don’t know why everyone is running around to psychologists and psychiatrists when we all have the same problem.” By highlighting the commonality of our suffering, he conveyed what Gabor Maté calls “the compassion of recognition.” In The Myth of Normal:

Stone Diary

Spelunking to categorize the world’s oldest symbols July-August 2016
Caves are apertures for inward travel into realms we associate with the dream state. Half-seen revelations proliferate. We angle into surreal environs that summon our own nascence, now approached in reverse, from the detailed and edged world in the light without to the shrouded evocations within. This is the sticky, primal birthplace of the collective unconscious, where inchoate traces of shape and colour move in and out of the mind’s…

Hanging On Forever

The deeply human desire for everlasting life December 2013
I once asked Jay Scott, The Globe and Mail film critic, a number of years before his passing from AIDS, if he was afraid of dying. “I’m afraid of not being alive,” he said, responding with his usual alacrity to loose ponderings in our tweedy arts ghetto at the newspaper. “There’s a difference.” While some Buddhists discern little difference in being or not being…

The Consolations of Anthropomorphism

In spite of everything we know, the world still revolves around us July–August 2012
Curiously enough, aeronautical science chose Christmas Eve 1968 to register one of its most important milestones of the last century. That is when the three crew members of NASA’s Apollo 8 mission marked humanity’s first-ever voyage into lunar orbit by reading aloud passages from Genesis. The transmission to Earth of this unprecedented rite was then the most widely viewed television broadcast…

Darwinists and Divinity

A whirlwind tour through western thought explores the big questions. June 2010
Walking around Greenwich Village with Allen Ginsberg during a rolling interview I was conducting with him some 20 years ago, we paused at a traffic light long enough for him to seize upon both the incarceration of his mother in a mental asylum and the point that as human beings we were all living in “these meat…

Success in the Slums?

A blueprint for urban development drawn from some of the world’s poorest communities. December 2009