Tag Archives: philosophy

Award 21/Story 1872: A Blugger Award

I love awards. It’s over a year since I got an award – 9th of April 2019 at 5.19 p.m. This time I have been nominated by the Dumbest Blog Ever blogger for the Outstanding Blogger Award. I enjoy the Dumbest Blog Ever blogger’s blog and I’m sure many of you would too if you don’t already know it – but be prepared at times for a touch of the bizarre that can have layers of meaning (or not). He’s also an expert at old Greek stuff and made me read the Iliad and the Odyssey. He was also brought up on a farm with cows. Thanks N. for thinking of me.

I was never really rebellious but I was never much good at rules either, so I’ll get the rules out of the way quickly. Here they are:

• Provide a link to the creator’s original award post. (Done!)
• Answer the questions provided.
• Create 7 unique questions.
• Nominate 10 bloggers.

Now to answer the 7 questions!

Question 1: What is the meaning of life?

I have no idea what the answer to this question would be! I took Philosophy for three years in earlier days. I slept through a number of the lectures. The climax came with the final assignment. I was given the topic, “Bertrand Russell’s Theory of Knowledge”.

Bertrand Russell – “The best life is the one in which the creative impulses play the largest part.”

I didn’t have a clue what his Theory of Knowledge was about and for the assignment I drew faces of little pigs to illustrate what I thought Bertrand Russell was saying. A message came from the Professor of Philosophy. He wanted to see me. I knocked guiltily on his office door. I was in a sweat. This would be it. He would announce a failure. He would say I should never have taken the philosophy course. My three years would be brushed aside and all because of rows of little pigs’ faces.

Oink! Oink! Oink!

“Yes,” said the professor, “where did you get this information from?”

“I read the book and that’s what I came up with,” I said.

“Well,” said the Professor, “I never understood Bertrand Russell’s Theory of Knowledge until I read your essay.”

I got an A+ pass for the course. But to this day I can’t say I understand Bertrand Russell’s Theory of Knowledge, and nor do I know the meaning of life.

Question 2: How fast is too fast?

I do everything like a bull at a gate. Everyone says, “Don’t go at it like a bull at a gate,” but I can’t help it. It saves having to think and learn. For example, I sat through Algebra classes at school surreptitiously solving the theorems of Euclidean Geometry because they were more interesting. I spent Latin classes reading George Eliot novels under the desk. To this day I know few Latin words and nothing about Algebra.

If I had my life again I would take things slower. I would study Algebra step by step. “Make haste slowly” would be the motto. Or as they said in Ancient Rome: Festina lente.

Question 3: Do you believe in Karma?

Yes I believe in Karma but possibly not in the sense understood in Hinduism and Buddhism – they’re out of my cultural league so I don’t pretend to understand it. But in the sense of everyday usage – good or bad luck, viewed as resulting from one’s actions – I’d go along with it. I dream of helping a little old lady across the road and being left a fortune in her will. That’s sort of what Howard Hughes did to this guy who stopped to help when Hughes got a puncture: left him millions. Whether the guy got the money in the end or not I’m not sure.

Howard Hughes – “The only time an aircraft has too much fuel on board is when it is on fire.”

The last job I had was as a country school librarian. It wasn’t a 40-hour week job because that would require full-time wages. It was for 37 hours so I could be paid the cheaper part-time wages. (Don’t ask me how that works). I taught music (without any resources) for 7 of those hours on librarian’s wages (which is less than 2 thirds of what a teacher gets). Suddenly a young teacher in a short skirt applied for the job of music teacher. But how to get rid of me first?

In the meantime, a mother of a student hanged herself from a tree in her garden. I was asked to play “sad mood music” at her funeral. Later to another teacher I expressed surprise that the Head Master hadn’t attended the funeral but chose to go to a rowing regatta instead. Before you knew it I was hauled into the Head Master’s office. Had I criticised the Head Master? I said I had expressed surprise. I was on my bike. That was that.

Two years later I read in the paper where the Head Master had been forced to resign; he’d been fiddling with music teachers in short skirts. Do I believe in Karma? Indeed! Have I forgiven the Head Master? Indeed I have – the wizened-up, over-sexed, inadequate, bat-festering, little twerp.

And I never found another paying job ‘cos I couldn’t get a reference from my “previous employer”.

Let’s play that again, Class.

Question 4: What’s your favorite type of jelly?

Oh my goodness! Here I am faced with a cultural dilemma. Not only am I forced to spell “favourite” without the U, I am confronted with the word “jelly”. Even though strictly speaking in New Zealand we could use the word “jelly” for a spread on toast if it’s set with pectin and strained (quince jelly for example) we usually use the word “jam” for both jam and jelly. Strictly and stickily speaking, jam has bits of pulverized fruit in it. Here, the word “Jelly” is usually reserved for what Americans call Jell-O.

I am therefore presuming that by “Jelly” in the question is meant the spread and not the dessert. Rhubarb Jelly is my favorite, for no other reason than I made a large pot of it, and dripped it through muslin cloth overnight. What a pretty sight it was in the jars catching the light! This wasn’t for eating as a spread as such. It was for painting on fruit in a dessert to make the fruit shine. It provided a wondrous glossy glow and the fruit looked even more delectable and the rhubarb jelly was without taste. If you want to be fussy, what I’ve described is not called Jelly either but Nappage. Thanks for the question, because I forgot I had made it and it’s been sitting in the back of the cupboard unused for about five years.

Question 5: What is the best mode of transportation?

A few years ago I thought I’d attend a friend’s father’s funeral and booked a flight to the city where it was. Not wanting to leave my car at the expensive, money-guzzling airport car park for several days, I asked a neighbour if he would take me to the airport in my car and then bring it back home.

”Sure,” he said. And we set out.

Towards the airport we had to pass through a busy barely two-lane really old tunnel. We were behind a slow driver. The tunnel was where the neighbour decided to pass the car in front. There was a bus and a row of cars headed straight for us. I wasn’t worried about my car. I was worried about my life.

I have never felt so safe getting onto a plane. That feeling has stayed with me. Hence the best mode of transport is out of a tunnel and into the air.

Question 6: How would you solve the world’s problems?

Don’t get me started! I probably would start with the fact that “people are not problems” they are “mysteries”. Problems get solved; mysteries get pondered. The modern world likes to turn everyone and everything into a problem; our differences are a problem, our forebears are a problem, etc. I could expand this for several pages, complete with little drawings of pigs’ faces but I shall save you the effort of having to read it.

Question 7: What’s your favorite meal?
Pancakes.
I would begin with a pancake stuffed with seafood, and then move on to lots more pancakes stuffed with various stuff.

For dessert it would be several pancakes stuffed with blueberries and lashings of whipped cream – that’s if I was dining at home. Otherwise dessert would be simply Jell-O if that’s what they serve in the coronary care unit in the hospital.

I don’t do nominations, but I do do recommendations. Here’s 10 blogs I follow, selected for no particular reason and in no particular order. Don’t feel bad if you’re left out. You’re still loved. I follow so many wonderful writers that I feel bad about selecting only ten. I reckon all these blogs are worth the time!

1. Red’s Kingdom. Phil’s blog involves photography, painting, music… anything that’s creative. And he seems to be a nice guy as well!
2. Iseult Murphy. Iseult is a horror, fantasy and science fiction author. She must be the most prolific reader on the Net and her reviews are worth the read in themselves. I believe she expressed a keenness to get murdered in one of my stories. I’m still choosing the weapon Iseult because I want it to be as exciting as your book!
3. Wandering Ambivert. Hannes lives in South Africa (I think) and his passion is photography, film, travel, nature, books… I have an expensive camera (it was a gift) and very little brain-power to use it properly. I relish the Wandering Ambivert’s postings in explaining what all the buttons are for.
4. (CALIATH). João-Maria writes in both English and Portuguese – the latter being his first tongue but you wouldn’t know it wasn’t English! I enjoy his writing because I find it challenges me not to be such a stick in the mud. I think he manipulates English in an original and creative way. It discomforts me in my prison walls!
5. Author Sarah Angleton. I’ve followed Sarah’s blog since way-back. She is a novelist and historian. On her blog Sarah usually once a week selects a tiny snippet of history, researches it, and presents it in a delightful way. You learn about interesting things you never dreamed you ever wanted to know about!
6. PowerPop… An Eclectic Collection of Pop Culture. Max gives a daily menu of stuff you heard on the radio for years and forgotten you had. But it’s with fresh eyes and fresh insight. You’ll learn things you never knew about a song – such as the one today as I write, the whispered overdub on Riders on the Storm; the overdub being the last thing Jim Morrison did before his death.
7. shakemyheadhollow. Daedalus Lex aka Gary deals with conceptual spaces: politics, philosophy, art, literature, religion, cultural history. I don’t agree with everything he thinks about, but it certainly makes you think! I find it interesting.
8. araneus1. Terry is the second oldest blogger that I follow. I don’t mean he’s old; I mean I’ve hung around his blog for a long time like a bad smell. He’s Australian and his yarns are bloody good. Of all the story-tellers around, he is the one I always say “Oh good!” when I perceive a new posting.
9. Letters from Greece. M.L. Kappa lives in Greece, when she’s home because she takes you through Greece and to art exhibitions all over the place. On top of that she’s a fabulous artist herself. Her observations on history and art are rewarding and interesting. Her blog is a delight to visit, and you get a good overview of what’s happening these days in Greece as well.
10. Harvesting Hecate. I shouldn’t say this, but Andrea is my favourite all-time blogger. Not only does she encourage others, but she can turn the simplest walk into the most beautifully crafted odyssey. The writing castes a spell; in fact, it harvests Hecate. Andrea is also the blogger I’ve followed for the longest time – so in real life she’s probably lovely too! I can’t recommend her magic enough!

Thanks once again Dumbest Blog Ever.  I owe you a whiskey, or at least a beer; and failing that a drink of good Wisconsin milk.

(Tomorrow it’s back to the regular daily story!)

1660. Bozo the Professor

(Thanks to Nitin for providing the opening to the story).

All poor Kierkegaard talked about was despair inherent in men because of sin. It’s the bloody nihilists who deconstructed him, out of their need to be free of God and moral restraints, never realising that man is not free. I said, man is not free! Not free! Damn it! screamed the disgraced professor now working in a circus. What a change from being the Professor of Philosophy at Harvard to becoming Bozo the Clown.

Believe me, continued Bozo standing on his head, I didn’t get this job simply because I have Native American blood. Is it not better to light a candle than to curse the darkness and view the world through tinted glasses? There is light at the end of every tunnel and every cloud has a silver lining. Time may silver your golden hair but people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. After all, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, and one leg over the fence is better than a poke in the eye. Surely it’s better to shake a leg than to see a man about a dog. I promise you that this little pig went to market and this little pig stayed home, and the little pig that went to market is now a fat cow and the pig that stayed at home is a couch potato. Beware! Beware of sharks feathering their own nests like wolves in sheep’s clothing shedding crocodile tears.

Bozo began to juggle with a bunch of bananas. I smell a rat when people open a can of worms and say they’re living hand to mouth like a dog’s breakfast. Never, I say! Never on a Sunday! That’s right! That’s right – be a pack of sheep flogging a dead horse.

By now, Bozo was squirting everyone with water through a plastic flower on his lapel. Why not offer an olive branch to the starving millions instead of pussy-footing around like a cat on hot bricks? There’s something fishy about a chicken without a head.

We are not free! Not free! screamed the disgraced professor. Not free from Neitzche’s Nihilism and Derrida and the Deconstructionists.

It wasn’t long before Bozo lost his circus job as well.

1561. Great-aunt Pretoria

When Pretoria (her great-grandfather had served in the Boer War and somehow her naming had something to do with that. Her grandmother had explained it to her once, and now that she was older she wished she had listened and remembered. It was something to do with the fact that he (her great-grandfather) had caught malaria and spent the entire war in a mobile hospital unit being shunted from one encampment to another. Why they just didn’t send him home was anyone’s guess. She didn’t actually recall hearing anything about her great-grandfather being in Pretoria itself. Anyway she was glad they never called her Johannesburg or even Port Elizabeth. Her brother was called Klerksdorp, a name he hated with a vengeance. At least it made him look up a bit of history when he was at school – that is before he changed his name to Clark (similar to Clark Gable and Lois and Clark)) was getting ready to go to town when she notice that the car had a puncture (which reminds me that where I go to get my car serviced they have a great big sign that says: Puntchers fixed for $10. The head mechanic’s daughter is a school teacher so I’m not surprised about the lack of spelling. The standard of teaching these days is appalling but that’s because the teachers themselves were badly tort by bad teachers so it’s been going on for generations, getting lower and lower in standards. Not only that but teachers these days can’t stay on the topic and wander off like they start talking about the properties of hydrogen peroxide and end up talking about hair dye or something. It’s pathetic. Punctuation has also gone out the window. And so have manners. Old-fashioned values like courtesy are for the birds).

Anyway I better shut up and get some work done. I’ve a lecture to give tomorrow. I’m excited because I recently got a pay rise. I’m a professor at Harvard, and deal mainly with Logic in the Philosophy Department. I’m hoping to tell them about my great-aunt Pretoria who is long dead and I have only a vague memory of her. She collected teaspoons apparently. From all over the world.

1331. Deep in discussion

Serge and Jean-Paul sat at the back of the church hall deep in conversation. Serge’s philosophical perspective embraced the nihilism of a Camus, whereas Jean-Paul lent more to a philosophical stance that embraced a wider spectrum such as Plato and Kant and even Aquinas.

Serge and Jean-Paul were arguing, each from their philosophical perspective, about educational theory. Both agreed that the current school system needed overhauling, but both had quite differing views as to what should be done. They had been discussing it for nearly three hours, and sometimes quite vigorously.

Now that their wives had just finished putting away all the ranks of chairs and cleaning the church hall from top to bottom – windows and all – it was time to go home.

931. I think, therefore it is

931hat

The repugnant witch told Samantha that the minute she took her hat off she would die.

Samantha didn’t dare even touch the top of her head for another twenty-two years for fear of her hat falling off.

But what the witch hadn’t told Samantha was that she wasn’t wearing a hat.

302. Carmalita, apex of western civilization

302apex

Carmalita graduated from university. She majored in Philosophy. Congratulations!

“Over three years, we studied philosophical thought all the way back from the early Greeks,” said Carmalita. “Plato and Aristotle, and Spinoza the lens grinder. And Zeno, the warrior princess.”

And did you study Thomas Aquinas?

“Oh God yes! He only took half an hour! He didn’t write much. And then there was Descartes. I think.”

And Kant?

“Who? Yeah! And Wittgenstein and Bertrand Russell. We did them all. It was a lot of work, and I got A’s for most of my assignments.”

And Mathematics? Did you do any of that?

“Oh God no! Why would I want Math? I’ve always being bad at Math. I hate it. It’s why I took Philosophy.”

What about great literary works? Shakespeare, for example. Did you study those?

“Oh God no! I could never understand Shakespeare at school. He wrote in that old-fashioned language that no one can understand. Although I saw the movie of Romeo and Juliet. It’s sexist, but Leonardo DiCaprio was hot.”

Have you read Jane Austen?

“Jane Austen? Oh! She had that series on television. With Colin Firth. And he dived into the pond and had a wet shirt clinging to his body.”

Science? Did you study any of that?

“What would I do Science for?”

Religious Studies?

“Our lecturer said it’s all crap. It causes wars and stuff. I don’t agree with religion.”

And Law? And Music? And…

“Look! Now that I’ve graduated with a degree in Philosophy I don’t need any of that other stuff. At present I work at a supermarket and the job’s way below my qualifications. I gotta find another job. Like be a teacher or something. I haven’t got time to be answering your crappy questions.”

59. What’s for dinner?

59dinner

It was a hot, stuffy afternoon. The lecture from the professor was interminably incomprehensible – Bertrand Russell’s Theory of Knowledge. Or was it about Wittenstein’s Philosophische Untersuchungen? Perhaps that was Heidegger’s?

Davinia’s head drooped. She was fighting sleep. She would get the groceries after the lecture. She’d taken this paper at university because she thought she needed to expand her horizons.

For if we too in these investigations are trying to understand the essense of language…

Davinia’s head jerked down onto her blank note paper. She briefly napped. She woke. She had dribbled on the page.

When, for example, I am given an algebraic function, I am certain that I shall be able to work out its values…

I think I’ll do spaghetti bolognese for dinner. Or perhaps just cold ham and salad. Maybe followed by a citrus tart and icecream, thought Davinia. I shouldn’t really be doing such an abstract academic subject. It’s way over my head. It’s not that I’m stupid. Afterall, I do have a post-graduate degree in English Reformation lute music. I’ll have to get some lemons from the supermarket after this. And some ground meat.

The path of the point and certain of its characteristics measures, or the velocity and the…

We’ve got to get a few other groceries from the supermarket while we’re at it, thought Davinia. Some laundry detergent and… With that, she was out to it. Fast asleep. Head resting on her arms folded across the desk.

Half an hour later she awoke with a start. Someone was prodding her. It was the professor.

“You can wake up now, Davinia. What’s for dinner?”

It was the only thing her husband had said all afternoon that she understood.