Thursday, 31 March 2011

Hegemonic Discourses

Rigour is just a means of oppressing the non-rigorous.
Consistency is just a means of oppressing the inconsistent.
Logic is just a means of oppressing the illogical.
Knowledge is just a means of oppressing the ignorant.
Honesty is just a means of oppressing the dishonest.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

A Sense I Didn't Know

I never realised
the lengths I'd have to go
All the darkest corners of 
a sense I didn't know
 — Ian Curtis 'Twenty-Four Hours'

Hold That Thought

When you read a book, you hold another's mind in your hands.
— James Burke

Monday, 28 March 2011

Desiderative Projection

But the new theology of the heart dispenses with argument; it cannot be refuted, because it does not profess to prove its points. At bottom, the only reason offered for its acceptance is that it allows us to indulge in pleasant dreams. This is an unworthy reason…
 — Bertrand Russell 'The History Of Western Philosophy' (p669)

The Teacup Of Belief

The Meaning Of Life

Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
— William Shakespeare 'MacBeth'

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts …
— William Shakespeare 'As You Like It'

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Fundamental Disagreements

Thales: everything is made of water
Anaximenes: the fundamental substance is air
Pythagoras: all things are numbers
Xenophanes: all things are made of earth and water
Heraclitusfire is the fundamental substance

Heraclituseverything changes
Parmenidesnothing changes

Empedocles: all change is governed by chance and necessity
Anaxagorasmind as the primary cause of physical changes
Democrituscause and effect (mechanism)

Friday, 25 March 2011

The Way Of The World

Rousseau was mad but influential,
Hume was sane but had no followers.
 — Bertrand Russell 'The History Of Western Philosophy' (p646)

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Pencils Lead

Old Ideas

all things come from a single primal substance
worlds and animals evolved (humans from fish)
 — Anaximander [610–546 BCE]

survival of the fittest
all change is governed by chance and necessity, not purpose
 — Empedocles [490–430 BCE]

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Ravaging The English

Halliday = holy day.

It is said this name had its origin in the slogan (war-cry) of a Gælic clan residing in Annandale, who made frequent raids on the English border.

On these occasions they employed the war-cry of 'A holy day!' — every day being holy, in their estimation, that was spent in ravaging the enemy's country.

Source: An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names With an Essay on their Derivation and Import (1857).

Formica & Silica

A Moral

The pursuit of truth, when it is whole-hearted, must ignore moral considerations; we cannot know in advance that the truth will turn out to be what is thought edifying in a given society.
 — Bertrand Russell 'The History Of Western Philosophy' (p95)

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Celtic Gals

Irish Language (Gaeilge)
gal: a stranger
gael: an irishperson
gaol: a relative
geal: bright (cf galaxy)

galloway (scotland)
galway (ireland)
gaul (france)
galicia (spain, poland, ukraine)
galatia (turkey)

wallacia (romania)
wales (britain)
cornwall (england)


Monday, 21 March 2011

His Highness

He prescribes the subject
he proscribes outsiders 
his terms have a golden ring. 
He wants to find some order 
quantifying chaos 
in words that all the children sing. 
He tabulates the lexicon 
vocabulary minimised 
bow down to the Jargon King. 

All questions become so simple 
if we eat the inane answer 
if we all agree to ju-ju speak 
we fit into the formula 
we all without exception 
approve the rule. 

We don't understand 
he must be clever 
he must be clever 
he must be right 
he must be right 
we don't understand 

Closed the ranks and barricades 
imposed the secret language 
complexity all catch-phrased 
word-drugged any anguish 
pigeon-holed allusions 
shut the vault behind us 
It's an obvious conclusion 
we'll be the chattels of His Highness. 

Bow down to the Jargon King 
and his minion code-words. 

Here comes the reign

— Peter Hammill 'The Jargon King'

Self-Promotion Anagram

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Rising Sea Levels

[Science] is a small island in an ocean of nescience.
 — Bertrand Russell 'The History Of Western Philosophy' (p480)

Friday, 18 March 2011

Suit You, Sir

Runaway Feedback

The beat, the beat at my temples;
my pulse, my pulse in a rush.
I'm feeling increasingly mental,
legs shaking, my face flushed.

The lights so bright in a dazzle,
the pumping that thumps at my chest.
I'm feeling increasingly frazzled,
need some comfort, need some bedrest
or some kind of intervention,
cold sweat's beading up on my brow,
the hairs on my neck at attention,
I don't know why but somehow

I'm highly strung, I'm stressed as hell,
I bite my tongue, I hold my breath as well.
The iron lung, the diving bell…
time to depressurise, my nerves are shot to hell.

The beat, the heat is astounding,
the pressure, the tension full-blown,
the static is crackling around me,
I can't go on, I can't let go…

I'm highly strung, panic attack,
can't do this one, can't go on with the act.
I'm frozen on the topmost rung,
I can't go on, I'm just too highly strung.

 — Peter Hammill 'Highly Strung'

Dispensing Poison

All ideals are dangerous, since they denigrate and stigmatise what is actual.  They are poisons, which, however, as occasional medicaments, are indispensible.
 — Friedrich Nietzsche

Mind Over Matter

The distinction between mind and matter, which has become a commonplace in philosophy and science and popular thought, has a religious origin, and began as the distinction between soul and body. The Orphic, as we saw, proclaims himself the child of earth and of the starry heaven; from earth comes the body, from heaven the soul.
 — Bertrand Russell 'The History Of Western Philosophy' (p149)

Symbolisations Of Transcendence

The first step to participation in the destiny of humanity today, which is neither of this folk nor of that, but of the whole population of the globe, is to recognise every such local image of a god as but one of many thousands, millions, even perhaps billions, of locally useful symbolisations of that same mystery beyond sight or thought which our teachers have taught us to seek in their god alone.
 — Joseph Campbell 'The Inner Reaches Of Outer Space'

Gods As Facts Instead Of Symbols

For any god who is not transparent to transcendence is an idol,
and its worship is idolatry.
 — Joseph Campbell 'The Inner Reaches Of Outer Space'

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Standing Room Only

Today's Anagrams

The Wearing Of The Green

Originally, the colour associated with Saint Patrick was blue. Over the years the colour green and its association with Saint Patrick's day grew. Green ribbons and shamrocks were worn in celebration of St Patrick's Day as early as the 17th century.

He is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish.

In the 1798 rebellion, in hopes of making a political statement, Irish soldiers wore full green uniforms on 17 March in hopes of catching public attention.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Coming Second

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
mere anarchy is loosed upon the world …
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity …
 — William Butler Yeats 'The Second Coming'

Comes A Time

Any hypothesis, however absurd, may be useful in science, if it enables a discoverer to conceive things in a new way; but … when it has served this purpose by luck, it is likely to become an obstacle to further advance.
 — Bertrand Russell 'The History Of Western Philosophy' (p146)

Mind How You Go Now

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Understanding Absurdities

When an intelligent man expresses a view which seems to us obviously absurd, we should not attempt to prove that it is somehow true, but we should try to understand how it ever came to seem true.
 — Bertrand Russell 'The History Of Western Philosophy' (p58)


The Ides of March (Latin: Idus Martii) is the name of 15 March in the Roman calendar, probably referring to the day of the full moon. The term ides was used for the 15th day of the months of March, May, July, and October, and the 13th day of the other months.

The Ides of March was a festive day dedicated to the god Mars and a military parade was usually held.

In modern times, the term Ides of March is best known as the date that Julius Caesar was killed in 44 B.C. Julius Caesar was stabbed (23 times) to death in the Roman Senate led by Marcus Junius Brutus, Gaius Cassius Longinus and 60 other co-conspirators.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Hypothetical Sympathy

In studying a philosopher, the right attitude is neither reverence nor contempt, but first a kind of hypothetical sympathy, until it is possible to know what it feels like to believe in his theories, and only then a revival of the critical attitude, which should resemble, as far as possible, the state of mind of a person abandoning opinions which he has hitherto held.
 — Bertrand Russell 'The History Of Western Philosophy' (p58)

Sunday, 13 March 2011


The Super-Sensible Intelligible World

Mathematics is, I believe, the chief source of the belief in eternal and exact truth, as well as the super-sensible intelligible world. Geometry deals with exact circles, but no sensible object is exactly circular; however carefully we may use our compasses, there will be some imperfections and irregularities. This suggests the view that all exact reasoning applies to ideal as opposed to sensible objects; it is natural to go further and to argue that thought is nobler than sense, and the objects of thought are more real than those of sense-perception.
 — Bertrand Russell 'The History Of Western Philosophy' (pp55-6)

Natural Selection

Summer Reading Anagram

Equal Billing Anagram

Pessimistic Anagram

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Not Ideal

Mathematical knowledge appeared to be certain, exact, and applicable to the real world; moreover it was obtained by mere thinking, without the need for observation. Consequently, it was thought to supply an ideal, from which every-day empirical knowledge fell short. It was supposed, on the basis of mathematics, that thought is superior to sense, intuition to observation.
 — Bertrand Russell 'The History Of Western Philosophy' (pp53-4)

Friday, 11 March 2011

The Personal Website

… astonishing insights into contemporary
inconsequentiality and self–absorption.
— Doug Anderson


The seat of the soul is there,
where the outer and inner worlds meet.
 — Novalis

The Metaphorical Language Of Mythology

… its 'worlds' and 'gods' are levels of reference and symbolic entities
which are neither places nor individuals
but states of being realisable within you.
 — Ananda K Coomaraswamy 'The Vedanta And Western Tradition'

The True University

After all manner of professors have done their best for us,
the place we are to get knowledge is in books.
The true university of these days is a collection of books.
 — Albert Camus

Thursday, 10 March 2011


Go to the end of the path until you get to the gate.
Go through the gate and head straight out towards the horizon.
Keep going towards the horizon.
Sit down and have a rest every now and again.
But keep on going. Just keep on with it.
Keep on going as far as you can. That's how you get there.
 — Michæl Leunig 'How To Get There'

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

The Dying Of The Light

A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.
— Max Planck

Branches Everywhere

All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree.
All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life,
lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence
and leading the individual towards freedom.
— Albert Einstein

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

"More For Me"


And all the things that we own are never ours alone,
no, they just pass through our hands in succession.
— Peter Hammill 'Material Possession'

Leading The Follower

Look. You've got it all wrong.
You don't need to follow me.
You don't need to follow anybody!
You've got to think for yourselves.
 — Monty Python 'The Life Of Brian'