In “An Appetite for Wonder” (Ecco), Dawkins gives readers insight into his own evolution as a man and a thinker. | NY Times


Well, I don’t write only here. My untidy habits drive me to follow the slash-and-burn (or Mad Hatter) principle. Work on a virgin table until the mess becomes unbearable, then move on to a clean table in a clean room — or, on a beautiful summer day like this, one of the five tables dotted around the garden. Trash that table and move on again. Actually, in the case of the massive 8-foot-square, 6-inch-thick, rough-hewn stone table (Purbeck Jurassic limestone), “dotted” is hardly the word.


To see Richard's section of the article, scroll towards the bottom of the source article.

Written By: John Spinks
continue to source article at


  1. Can you remedy the NY Times oversight and provide a photo of the Purbeck Jurassic limestone table? I’d love to see it.

  2. An excellent article. Don’t skip over the source. Fascinating to see how writers work in their own space.

  3. In reply to #4 by NearlyNakedApe:

    Ahhh… there’s nothing quite like clutter to bring a room to life. 🙂

    Just as a house is not “a machine for living in” (Le Corbusier) so “less is (not) more” (Mies van der Rohe).

    Admittedly, the visual clarity of surroundings can seem to clear the mind but only by suppressing the significances embodied in one’s own ‘mess’.

    If not visible where is the mess? Is it the tabula rasa of a blank mind? The visual ideal of the clutterless home of advertisements and property marketing isn’t just impersonal, it’s depersonalising. Just what the idiot Corbusier wanted. I am immensely pleased that his apartments now have trellises with climbing plants, bijou porches and other touches from those who have to live with them.

    The ‘clean’ aesthetic was only ever a metaphor and Mies other favourite comment “God is in the details”, though precisely mistaken, on another level brings to mind the organic nature, the subtlety of our dens.

    If Richard thinks that’s a mess he should see mine.

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