Wednesday, March 18, 2020

An erudite dinner


I have just had lunch at "The Sunny Doll" (Japanese) with old friends Henningham and Croucher. For nearly two hours the very lively conversation ranged widely over the Western intellectual tradition -- from Aristotle, though Aquinas to Wittgenstein.  All three of us take an interest in such arcana. 

The depth of our knowledge on each varies but we all knew enough about them to find them interesting and discussable  I did a major in philosophy in my student days so I was at something of an advantage.

There were even discursions into theology, with one of my favorite doctrines -- the Trinity -- coming under critical scrutiny.  I guess it would all be impossibly obscure to many but we enjoyed it

Thursday, March 5, 2020

In the hostable


I have just got out of Brisbane Private hospital after some cancer surgery on my neck.  The surgery at no point put me into pain and the hospital staff were at all times obliging so I should not be too grumpy.  They even gave me some good porridge for breakfast, which I always enjoy

But I still hated it. It was the boredom that got to me.  I was able to get up and walk around but that was the best of the available entertainment.  Otherwise I had to lie in bed and watch TV -- something I almost never do.  Some programs were mildly interesting but the news was the only program I took any real interest in.  I was pleased to hear that Netanyahu had got back in as Prime Minister of Israel

So why was I so bored? I know it sounds pompous but my life is a life of the mind. My life could be taken as extremely uneventful but to me all sorts of things are happening all the time -- in my head. So while in hospital I missed being actively involved with the debate about all the big questions

I did take along a famous book to read -- "Dr Zhivago" by Boris Pasternak. I had read in when it first come out in 1957 but had forgotten the story totally so it should have been new to me. It was but I somehow could not get interested in it for long.  It was a good yarn but I just could not concentrate on it.

The book is about pre-revolutionary Russia (c. 1905) so the political scenes were of interest to me.  I did gather that they were realistic. One passage which told me that revolutionary politics  had not changed much was a description of the conversation of two Leftists of the day. Their remarks were described (on p. 49 of the first edition) as: "So imbued with contempt for everything in the world that they could quite safely have been replaced by a growling noise".  The politics of hate again. Quite reminiscent of current Leftist remarks about Mr Trump.  CNN on Trump is mostly a just a growling noise

I did make one useful discovery in hospital.  The staff always elevate the head of the bed.  That is useful for sitting up in bed and watching TV but I found it no good for sleeping. I didn't get a good sleep until I had the bed completely flat -- as at home