Monday, 30 August 2010

To Ponder

I have been reading 'Friends, Lovers, Chocolate' – the second in Alexander McCall Smith's 'Sunday Philosophy Club' series of (mildly philosophical) novels. I say 'mildly philosophical' because the stories in these novels tend to move quite slowly and frequently digress to ponder – rather than thoroughly interrogate – various moral questions for a paragraph or two as they go along. The protagonist Isabel Dalhousie is the editor of an academic journal 'The Review of Applied Ethics' and is the vehicle via which McCall Smith can make his various philosophical musings.
On p52, Isabel is running her niece Cat's delicatessen while she is away at a wedding in Italy when we read what I thought was an interesting and concisely made observation:

'So the morning drifted by, and not once, she reflected, had she had the opportunity to think about moral philosophy. This was cause for thought: most people led their lives this way - doing rather than thinking; they acted rather than thought about acting. This made philosophy a luxury - the privilege of those who did not have to spend their time cutting cheese and wrapping bread. From the perspective of the cheese counter, Schopenhauer seemed far away.'

Even in retirement, when one might expect there to be plenty of time for thought, there may be little of note. I remember a retired man talking on a television programme once saying how he got up at 8.30am, had breakfast at 9.00am; read the newspaper and did the crossword, then did the washing up and pottered around the garden before having a cup of coffee at 11.00am. He then complained that the morning passed very quickly and that he didn't know where the time went. Had he stopped to think, he might have realised that he had just told us: 'doing rather than thinking'. Thinking about the crossword is a form of 'doing' – a thinking about a circumscribed task rather than a broader musing. Even when pottering around the garden – if all one is doing is checking on how one's plants and cuttings are doing – can be time when one fails to see much about which to ponder.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Line Walk - 2


(The lines have taken a walk here at sjlewisprojects.)

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Imagination vs Knowledge … vs Ignorance

I was watching the PhraseExpress online video (here) and saw this quote.


'Imagination is more important that knowledge'


Albert Einstein


While I agree, perhaps one might add '… but it shouldn't be used as an excuse for wilful ignorance'!

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

The Metamorphosis of Dreams

At some point - at some moment in time - we pass from dreaming to waking and, as we do, we somehow know which is which.

And then, of course, there is also the reverse.

Friday, 13 August 2010

On being wise

'A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.'
William Blake

(It is not merely in the act of looking but in the process of perceiving that we begin to understand.)

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Time Capsules – An Irony

Look carefully at the screenshot below. It was taken from my iPod as I was about to listen to a Radio 4 programme on time capsules via the BBC iPlayer. Is it just me, or is there a certain irony in the fact that the programme expires after a week?


Tuesday, 3 August 2010



Although sometimes people are said to have caused offence, offence cannot be 'caused' only 'taken'. One cannot guarantee that by one's words or actions somebody else will be offended; there is no strict causal link between the two. Instead, people take offence and blame others for causing it. Surely this, in itself, is something that is potentially offensive!