The Walnut Magazine was created in 2022 by author, ocean sailor, and chef, alan macmillan orr, to bring practical philosophy to the mainstream, as it is often seen as a “fringe” activity, as something taught in universities, presided over by stuffy academics, with no relevance in the “real” world but it is all around us in our daily lives.

Philosophy is defined in the Cambridge dictionary as:

“the use of reason in understanding such things as the nature of the real world and existence, the use and limits of knowledge, and the principles of moral judgment”:

but it is also defined as “the way that someone thinks about life and deals with it.”

It’s all very well for “intellectuals” to discuss Plato, Descartes, Krishnamurti, Russell, Spinoza, or Kant, but the majority of us have either not read any of their work, nor would find much relevance to their daily life.

Most people are mainly concerned with providing for themselves and their families, bringing up children, with little thought outside of that framework for existence. Some may believe in “god” and some may dedicate themselves to charity work, but still follow the wider societal guidelines on conformity. It doesn’t matter if they live in New York, Nairobi, Baghdad, Bangkok, London or Lima, each society has been handed down cultural rules, laws, and language by their ancestors, and most people are quite happy to accept they are “English” speak “english” and were brought up to have a conditioned personality which fits into their specific group – “the english!” Of course there are wide discrepancies in personal behaviour and even beliefs, but they are part of the “group”.

At the walnut we are not interested in maligning a specific culture, country, leader, political system, just because it appears to be “bad“, we are more interested in opening up human thinking to encourage people to challenge their own beliefs, and behaviour, in order to create more evolved thinking in the human Walnut.

Philosophy appears to be too “serious” for most people, including your editor, but if you forget the word and if you begin to notice the movement of your thoughts, and ask yourself “I wonder why I think like that?” or observe something and question “I wonder why that is like that?” you’re already a philosopher! Congratulations. Gold Stars all round!

Philosophy should be fun. And self reflection, and the development of awarenesshas the power to create a better world for you, me, them, everybody… and don’t worry, you don’t need to do yoga, go vegan, or sit on a mat and practice “meditation” to make a better you. But if you want to, go ahead! No one here is telling you to accept anything you read here. In fact, we positively discourage you from accepting anything you read here, or anywhere else…

Although practical philosophy underpins the magazine, we are also adventurers, obsessed with good food, music that makes you move, and like to laugh at the most inappropriate things. We are human, after all.

We hope you enjoy the magazine.. Don’t forget to subscribe for your monthly dose of the walnut!

All the best wherever you are in the world!

Alan Mac


Alan listening to some tunes Mid Atlantic onboard Ariana Feb 2023