After a large family Christmas and a few days away over New Year, just the two of us in Ireland, I’m back at the desktop using more than my thumb-sized brain system.
The Divine Comedy were excellent in Dublin, outdoors on Friday 29th, on form with strings and brass backing to a great selection of favourites, and we struck it lucky with the stormy weather. Whenever we were out in both Dublin and Cork / Cobh we managed to (mostly) avoid the rain. Pubs, food and drink were the order of the days and Ireland failed to disappoint. Several previous haunts revisited, Kelly’s and Ryan’s in Cobh, but name checks to three new venues for us this time. The Quays in the Temple Bar area of Dublin, The Shelbourne in Cork’s Victorian Quarter and The Parnell off the top of O’Connell Street in Dublin. Sure, they all cater to tourist area custom, but the Irish hospitality simply works.
I already posted my “Resolution” back in November and thinking time observing the world from a couple of weeks R&R has reinforced things, despite the fact mentioned in post-notes to that resolution that (two) new commitments have arisen. One to help with a new Skeptical Freethought (S) initiative in the wake of the woke-capture of traditional skeptic / rationalist / humanist activities and a second to support our local Marske United (M) football team through a financial crisis.
T, the Technical Thesis remains the top priority, followed by F and D, the fictional narrative and the doctoral research. D essentially on hold until T is done by summer 2024.
P, the Robert Pirsig Association has slipped behind both S and M as a result of disappointing lack of responses or initiatives from North America which really ought to be its centre of gravity. My Pirsig involvement can only be the sustainable long-term archive and any specific help requested by others initiatives. I simply do not have the bandwidth or motivation to organise remotely in the climate experienced so far.
So priorities are T at the top, then D, F, S, M and bottom of the pile, P.
Even with T at the top – originally as per Pirsig’s “Stop reading and just write something!” – I find myself with new reading contributing to T, D & F. After Andrea Wulf’s mind-blowing historical biography around Alexander von Humboldt, I received as a Christmas gift her “Magnificent Rebels” which turns out to be equally wonderful on the German “first romantics” clustered around Jena from around 1750 to 1850. Lots of people on hold on my reading list will have to be re-activated. Goethe, Coleridge and Kant most conspicuously, but also Fichte, Hegel, Novalis, Schiller, Schelling, Schlegel and Schleiermacher demanding attention once more.
And, three new linked posts from A J Owens over at Staggering Implications that look interesting enough to read: Metaphysics and the Overton Window:
- Part I – A Fellow Traveller
(Beyond the Postmodern Mind: The Place of Meaning in a Global Civilization, by the philosopher and theologian Huston Smith)
- Part II – Definitional Differences
- Part III—Rounding Up The Usual Suspects
(You’ll never guess who. Post-Post-Modernism is the only sane position in the 21st C)
- Part I – A Fellow Traveller
And finally for today – some bonkers X/Twitter exchanges with people suggesting the idea we think with our brains is not an empirically accepted fact (!) – irrespective of our physicalist and/or relational and/or panpsychist/idealist metaphysical positions. Prompted by Philip Goff tweet. Some people delight in making stuff more mysterious than in it is – gives philosophy (and neuro-philosophy) a bad name. Jeez!
If you mean to say that you don’t think with your brain, I will admit that this indeed explains a lot.
— Sabine Hossenfelder (@skdh) January 3, 2024
Post Notes: A bit lazy / under-the-weather after the busy “holiday” – no doubt some winter bug picked-up along the way – so reading more than writing again!
Andrea Wulf’s “Magnificent Rebels” continues to enthral. Deeply researched – clearly including manually reading through physical archives of otherwise unpublished notes and correspondence – yet written beautifully in the imagined voices of the participants as their narrator without labouring too many exact quotations that don’t fit the narrative flow. 99% of notes, quotes and references non-intrusive as page-numbered end notes. Beautiful and witty read as well as the rich historical and philosophical content. Friday, I’m in love, again.
A few political cybernetics distractions arising in social media as ever, one of which reminded me I’d forgotten an earlier reference to Salman Rushdie’s “Languages of Truth – Essays 2003 to 2021” – not even on my wish-list(?) – so I dived in and acquired a Kindle copy for now. Needless to say beautifully and wittily written. I’ve only read the first of two sections of the first chapter of Part 1 of 4 parts which appear to contain 40 odd chapters in total(!). So a second level interrupt to the original distraction, but directly relevant to my task. Absolutely confirming my decision to go for a fictional narrative version of “my book” and full of advice of how and why. “Don’t write what you know” that’s boring, unless it’s not. Marvellous stuff. Inspiring.