Scottish Left Review. “I was, in retrospect, doomed. The only value I now have in society today is the level of exploitation which I am prepared to endure.”


Surveying the unspoken concepts underpinning higher education

Last summer I applied to ‘attend’ university. ‘What are you attending to, or, for?’ was a question that made me wonder. When we say we are ‘going to university,’ how have we imagined, or rather perceived, what our final destination will look like when it’s all over? Have we as a society become too obsessed in the possessions of degrees, rather than seeing the reality of the modern illusion of having one? Is it not time to reconsider university education as only offering one way of learning and merely as part of a longer, linear experience in the context of a lived life?

This was not my first time in applying, actually it was my fourth. Each time from a different location, Sheffield, Scarborough, Edinburgh and now my latest, Inverness. I was made a ‘Conditional Offer.’ But prior to this offer, having spoken on the phone with the academic leader about the admission process as a mature student, he said ‘if the evidence you submit is not strong enough, I’ll get you to write an essay’. At this point of the call, I was happy, pleased with myself, knowing I had plentiful ‘essays’, which I could submit as part of my UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) application.

I had my recent polemic book, which I had completed over a year ago, articles published online, a manifesto and future projects which I plan to go deeper into the experience of human life. I felt in many ways that nothing could stop me now, seeing my chosen degree as part of my overall life’s destiny.

And, then it all came crumbling down – in my own sense of disillusionment – when once again I began to think through the terms of the ‘conditional offer’. Let’s think about the words used here: a condition has now been set, which in reality is holding back the progress of my own life, a man-made condition (pre-set) to the significance of my being in the world.

You can read the rest of my article at the Scottish Left Review – Surveying the unspoken concepts underpinning higher education. 



Profit-ism: the nightmare of todays daydreaming profiteers @Scottishleftrev. It’s time to re-imagine today’s economic-order.

Patrick Phillips examine the motivation of those that play and pray for profit.

Each year, thousands of books are published that demonstrate how profiteers make profits but never why. My forthcoming book, Ways of Expressing, aims to answer the questions: why are profiteers so insistent on the making of a profit, and what alternative economic-exchange is available to us now? Below are some extracts from it:




A Letter from John Berger

For the last five years I’ve been working on a political book about the still on going injustice of how much profit an art dealer intends to make upon the work of an artist. I sent a proof copy of my book A Painter’s Dream to John Berger October 2015.

john berger - a painter's dream - letter - patrick phillips

A Mosaic Dream – Meall nan Tarmachan

Morning.  I am stood at the bottom of an entire massif that stretches in-between me, in both directions eternally. Intrinsically in my mind I consider what I’m seeing instead to be a whole mountain (as humans we have separated mountain into m o u n t a i n s through names yet they are one). I am now about to climb mountain. Not far from where I am stood is a Loch, created from the last Ice Age. And beside me as I’m walking, a mixed woodland of species tangled like a labyrinth.

In order to get here, I have walked through a village that is surrounded and shielded by mountain.  Everywhere from what the eye can see draws you in. Towards the mountain’s textured and overlapping peaks, each peak offering you a pillow in which to lay your head.  Cushioned clouds enwrap themselves around each snowy peak.

I feel my body to be barely awake, as I begin following a man-made track, leading me I hope to a summit.  I am walking steadily through a Coniferous plantation, a few Birch trees appearing around each bend. I feel tired, unmotivated and stop quickly to refuel, sitting on a large rock. Between the straight lined planted Conifers, I notice small streams pushing themselves through each gap, as they continue travelling down towards the Loch. Often, rocks carried in streams begin their journey from the top of mountain, and where they will go? Everything in Nature is a continuous rejuvenating process in which to support life eternally.

Image 1 Ink drawing of Meall nan Tarmachan mountain

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The relationship between citizen and state has to change at local level. Read my article @TheCommonSpace

Patrick Phillips, writer and artist, argues that the concept of Local Authorities needs to be totally overhauled, including linguistically, so that the relationship between citizen and state is re-born

I HAVE written previously for CommonSpace about how my mother and I were treated at a time of crisis in our lives by the local authority. We were facing an illegal eviction and corruption of council tax payment from our landlord.

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