18 Aug 2006


Philosophy's full of them - Platonism, pragmatism etc etc. I could never be bothered to work out which was which and how they all linked and differed. I suppose it can be quite useful to have a name for a general way of thinking as a shorthand, and to avoid having to deal with repetitious arguments... 'Oh thats just another version of ...ism, how boring.' They do rather tend to take over one's mind and become the whole of philosophy, and I have decided to call this Ismism in order to save time and desparage it more conveniently. Classic examples of Ismism will not be gratefully recieved at this site.

It goes for politics and religion even more so, and I have been struck of late by how some people you can very easily talk to and some you can't. I'm fascinated by the possibility of communication - it seems a rare and wonderful thing that requires minds that are open to something new. So I am always going to be more interested in philosophies that are incomplete and provisional; once they have hardened into systems, with axioms laid out on tablets of stone, I start to find that there is nothing to do or say, except to accept or reject. People who have adopted this sort of system will tend to discount anthing which does not conform to the axioms as 'nonsense'. All they will do is show you, with more or less patience and condescension, where you have 'gone wrong'. In other words, they are impossible to talk to as they inhabit a different conceptual world. I quite like to try to liberate people from the confines of their certainty, but mostly it proves fruitless, and one learns to conserve one's energy and avoid the most obvious hardliners. One way to spot them early is by the tendency not to even attempt to understand what one is trying to say, but merely to pick up on some key word, God, freedom, identity, or some such, and rush in to tell you what it 'really means' (I'm looking at you, John).

11 Aug 2006


Wow, 2 comments in one day, how gratifying, I'm inspired!
By way of excuse/explanation/ for not laying my swine before pearls for a while, I shall now discourse on pain.
I don't react very well to pain; it makes me even more irritable than usual, and I can't concentrate on anything. To be specific I have a 'bad back' and every then and right now, it 'goes'. When it happens I rush to take some nice pills that anti-inflame it a bit, and suddenly get all conscientious about doing exercises and stretches. What I don't generally do is be philosophical about it - it hurts, it's a pain, I don't like it, my life becomes a misery. Theoretically I know that pain is necessary; people who either don't feel pain, or who feel it but it doesn't hurt (that sounds weird but it happens), get into trouble and damage themselves. The pain when I move makes me rest and allows the body to heal, bla bla bla... Yeah but it hurts all the time and I'm all full of self pity and rage and I don't care about anything except I want it to stop.

Where I work is a hotel for disabled people, and one of the worst things is that I can see my own troubles are insignificant in relation to some of our guests, and yet they are, by and large, the nicest people you could wish to meet, and this is a bit of a mystery to me. If I was bedridden, incontinent, unable to eat solid food, hardly able to breathe or in constant pain, as a condition of life - permanently, I think I would be unbearable to live with, yet these people are an inspiration, generous, loving, full of humour, and clearly enjoying life to the max. How do they do it? Is pain good for the soul? It sure doesn't seem so in my case - but perhaps I'm biased? The other week there was a couple, must have been in their nineties, he used a walking frame, while she was in a wheelchair. And he came to ask me to lift his wife on and off the toilet, she had MS to go with her arthritis and something else which I forget, and he was just too frail to help her. And yet the love and joy that emanated from them, their simple humanity and warmth... I can't really convey, but it was a privilege to help them, bad back or no.