Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Taittiriya Upanishad II.i.1 //Satyam, Jnanam, Anantam Brahma (no.3 in series)


Having established that Satyam, Jnanam, anantam Brahma are linked in the definition of Brahman but in themselves are not intrinsically connected Shankara proceeds to demonstrate that as defining Brahman they are intimately connected and not an factitious confection of the theological mind of an advaitin.

Taking ‘satyam’ as truth which is unchanging and therefore real is a similar intuition to that of Parmenides who held that change was unreal, as a state which did not exist could not emerge into reality. It has no traction. If then Brahman is ‘satyam’ could it not be the unchanging material cause of the universe? Here we revisit the standard material identity analogy i.e. only the clay out of which the various vessels are made persists through all the manifestations of ‘clay’. Therefore only the ‘clay’ is real and all the pots, dishes, cups etc. mere names of clay.

However a merely material cause is insentient so the attribute ‘jnanam’ must be appended to ‘satyam’. Elsewhere Shankara rejects the Sankhya philosophy of ‘pradhana’ or the primal inert material basis of creation. The order and design of the universe shows an intelligent origin.

Does this ‘jnanam’ or consciousness/knowledge indicate an agent of knowing? Shankara demurs. An agent of knowing implies a distinction between the knower and the known and also coming to know or arriving at knowledge indicates change.

If Brahman be the agent of knowing, truth and infinitude cannot justly be attributed to It. For as the agent of knowledge It becomes changeful; and as such how can it be true and infinite? That indeed is infinite which is not separated from anything. If it be the agent of knowing, It becomes delimited by the knowable and the knowledge, and hence there cannot be infinitude, in accordance with another Vedic text: “That is the Infinite in which one does not know anything else. And that in which one knows anything else is limited” (Ch.Up. VII., xxiv, 1)

Monday, 24 June 2019

Belief and Religious Experience


Faith is a difficult subject to write about or even think about. Is it rational to have certitude/assurance about what you do not understand or is beyond comprehension? Add to that my own predilection for Perennialism/Traditionalism and you multiply the conflict between different faiths or might it be that the conflict goes away. Such paralogism tempt me to title this post ‘Faith and Begorrah’ but I will resist that quip.

Seeing Fr. M.C. D’Arcy’s book The Nature of Belief second hand for all of ein euro bitte I though it a good place to start. I was right. There’s none of your ould Jesuitical wibbly wobbly about Martin Cyril. He will quote Dean Inge when the Dean is right but the oecumenical tide is somewhat less than Spring. There is an analytical contents, a device which is extremely useful when the topic is complex. First published in 1931, my edition is the 1945 second impression with his 1944 preface.

How belief in the philosophical sense shades into religious faith is delineated in the early chapters which include close analysis of Newman’s The Grammar of Assent. Chapter 8 is on Belief and Religious Experience which could be read as a free standing essay. He is of the opinion that empiricism is the cause of the elevation of such experience. How it differs from true mystical experience is a concern for him.

Owing to the decadence of metaphysics philosophy tended to pass over into the hands of its successful rival, physical science, which therewith appropriated to itself the name of the philosophy of nature.......The present tendency, therefore, is to make two divisions of truth, knowledge by experience and knowledge by reason. The latter is the concern of science and is restricted to what is qualitative and numerable. The former covers quality and value, and has, therefore, for its domain the moral, the aesthetic and the religious. Beliefs which are dependent on experience are not necessarily less true than those which are attained by reason; they are different and that is all that can be said about their relation.

From the foregoing it can be seen that the importance attached to religious experience is due to a partition made in the past between religion and reason. There is no reason why this assumption should be accepted, and in fact the Catholic Church has never accepted it.

‘We had the experience but missed the meaning’ could be construed as a manifestation of the error of thinking that the experience is a type of verification as in ‘the meaning of a statement eg. God exists, is the method of its verification. Dead wrong of course but D’Arcy does not dash it with cold water, quite.

But this is not to say that faith is dependent on realisation or verification for its certainty. There is a growing intensity heightened by love. The love does not change the nature of the act of belief; it adds fuel to a fire already existing.

He deprecates the view that not having a ‘religious sense’

“has been used by many as an excuse for taking no interest in religion. These latter are apt to say with a shrug that they have no religious sense, and they consider that this is a good reason for neglecting to worship God. They forget - and they have been encouraged to forget by those who should know better - that sense and feeling are not the criteria of what is duty, and it is in “an act of duty not of experience that religion first consists."

That alone is a good euro’s worth.

Thursday, 20 June 2019

George Soros and cannabis legislation


‘Meddling’ George Soros is taking an interest in Ireland again. Not since St.Patrick did we have a foreigner who cared so much. Dr. Boyle follows the money. In a letter to the Irish Times on Tuesday 18/6/19
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Sir, – Many of your readers are aware of the arguments for and against the legalisation of cannabis.
What many of your readers will not be aware of is why the liberalisation of cannabis law suddenly seems to have become a national political priority for Ireland.
As someone working on the frontline with addicts, it certainly has been a surprise to me.
The letter from 14 “drug policy experts” to The Irish Times on June 7th was particularly puzzling: what interest could 14 academics from the US, UK, Sweden and Austria have in advocating the liberalisation of drug laws in Ireland?
A Google search revealed that these signatories are supported by grants from the George Soros Open Society Foundation which openly states that since 2008 it has been “working to change the way the world approaches drug policy”.
An organisation with annual grants of 1.1 billion dollars to award has taken an interest in our drugs laws and neither the grant-funded “experts” nor The Irish Times thought it relevant to inform us, the readers? This is far from being fair and “open”.
It is important that Irish people are informed about all aspects of the growing push for marijuana legalisation, and in particular the experience in the US, where the ability of corporate interests to sell marijuana products has greatly expanded the market.
Big Tobacco companies like Altria (Phillip Morris, Marlboro, Juul) are investing billions in marijuana and vaping products (particularly popular with teens).
The cannabis edibles market (candies, cookies) is rapidly expanding. George Soros is a major shareholder in both Altria (Phillip Morris) and Monsanto which is investing heavily in cannabis-associated agriculture.
This may be great news for those with stock options but not for my patients. I have no doubt that the significant substance abuse problem we have has the potential to be made much, much worse. The intervention of a combination of international ideologues and corporate Big Marijuana interests in our national drugs legislative policy development is not a welcome one.
There is a bipartisan (Obama and Clinton’s drug policy advisers are members) non-corporate organisation in the US established by Patrick J Kennedy (son of the late Edward Kennedy) called Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM – Preventing Another Big Tobacco) which I would urge interested
 readers to consult for a more balanced view of the issues (including support for medicinal marijuana where medically indicated). – Yours, etc,
Dr THERESE
BOYLE,
Dublin 7.


Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Taittiriya Upanishad II.i.1 (no.2 in series)


The knower of Brahman attains the highest. Here is a verse uttering that very fact: Brahman is truth, knowledge and infinite. He who knows that Brahman existing in the intellect, lodged in the supreme space in the heart, enjoys, as identified with the all-knowing Brahman, all desirable things, simultaneously.

When it is said that the knower of Brahman knows the highest, what is it that they know. When the answer is given it is parsed to make sure that the meaning extracted from the incorrigible words of the Upanishad are according to their meaning. It is a lawyerly approach in which the position of commas becomes a fulcrum for distortion. For instance the phrase satyam jnanam anantam Brahma could be construed as a catenary of entities 'the truth', 'knowledge', the 'boundless' and last but not least Brahman. That would be a false reading as all those attributes have the same case ending so the phrase is meant to be a definition of the substantive 'Brahma'.

The objection comes:
If this is a definition that demarcates are we to think that it only distinguishes between this (satyam jnanam anantam) Brahman and all other sorts of Brahman much as we sort red lotuses from blue lotuses.

Not so. Sankara offers the distinction between an adjectival string that identifies an entity as a member of a class and the defining nature of the string string satyam jnanam anantam Brahma. The lotus could be described as aquatic fragrant, red,transplantable, hardy etc. All of these attributes are interlinked conceptually as dealing with plants of a certain genus. Contrariwise you could have satyam Brahma, jnanam Brahma, anantam Brahma. Satyam, jnanam and anantam have no intrnsic connection.

The words, satya etc., are unrelated amongst themselves, since they subserve something else; they are meant to be applied to the substantive. Accordingly each of the attributive words is thus related with the word Brahman independently of the others; satyam brahman, jhanam brahma, anantam brahma

Monday, 10 June 2019

'Wrong' sort of Realism


((I left this comment on a post in electric agora. I'm posting it here for the record.))

Mark:
I went a bit metaphysical there on you for a bit but I do think that the sceptically vulnerable physical can get confused with it.. In good light and not having ingested psychotropic substances and facing the right way I can say with assurance - ‘there is an tree in the yard’. As a brain in a vat and as a subject trapped in a computer simulation I could say the same thing with the same assurance and be wrong. What would ‘wrong’ mean in this case? Is it not parasitic on the true ‘wrong’, the one that is open to correction? All observations are subject to determined scepticism and we can only stay calm and carry on.

However metaphysical realism is different. It relies on their being an ontological substratum which unites Subject and Object. This is the approach of Platonic, Aristotelian and Vedantic philosophy. It is coherent with the project of critical realism in the physical sense. We accept the truth of our observations as a default assumption. We could be wrong though, but this ‘wrong’ is a true ‘wrong’ i.e. one connected to the metaphysical reality of the unity of the substratum.

My point is that realism which tries to establish itself solely in the domain of observation is not on the ‘wrong’ track if you will forgive a paradox.


Friday, 7 June 2019

Taittiriya Upanishad II.i.1. (Tai.Up. 1 in series)


The knower of Brahman attains the highest. Here is a verse uttering that very fact: Brahman is truth, knowledge and infinite. He who knows that Brahman existing in the intellect, lodged in the supreme space in the heart, enjoys, as identified with the all-knowing Brahman, all desirable things, simultaneously.
(Taittiriya Upanishad: II.i.1)

The commentary by Shankara on this verse over the following 18 pages is a condensed explication demonstrating the supple and subtle power of his mind. The primary thing to be noted is that he takes this definition of Brahman as truth, knowledge and infinite (Satyam, Jnanam, Anantam Brahman) as a given and does not attempt a proof of its, Brahman’s, existence. It is established by the Vedas, in other words, by the knowledge of countless sages in that tradition. There is no better proof than realisation. To know that Brahman exists is congruent with knowing that you yourself exist. Yes indeed but when the man from Kerala told me about the sharing of power in that state between C.P. Mos. and C.P. Pek. I asked him about how that was working out. He replied:
- Difficulties are there.

The objector, a standard character in Shankara’s commentaries attempts to use the classic interpretation of Advaita against the concept of realisation. How can we attain Brahman if we are already Brahman? How can we make a journey to where we already are? How can we take possession of that which we already have?

Answer: this is no fault.

What prevents us from seeing the truth is a wrong view that interposes itself. It is like a wrong method of counting that consistently gives the incorrect result. The example given is the classic tale of the Tenth Man. Ten men crossed the hazardous river and on the far bank their leader began to count them to see if everybody had arrived safely. He counted nine and began to bewail the loss of one member of the group. Someone passing corrected him:
- You are forgetting to count yourself.

A wrong method of looking at reality bars you from the true picture. There is a systematic error, similar to the counting error. ((personal note: don’t overcook the analogy by drawing more out of it than that)). You think of yourself as an individual amongst other individuals and count on that basis. Your identity is established on the basis of your thoughts and perceptions. This is faulty but natural. When you think of the whole that unites us or the substratum of unchanging consciousness which is the true source of identity, your counting is corrected.

…...similarly in the case of one , to whom Brahman remains unattained owing to his ignorance, there may be discovery of that very Brahman by realising that omnipresent Brahman to be none other than one’s own Self – a realisation that comes through enlightenment consequent on the instruction of the scriptures.

Thursday, 6 June 2019

Macaulay on Shaming


There’s been an improvement on the six or seven years intervals that Macaulay noted. Now it’s continuous and unrelenting. This of course gives the lie to that banal moral nostrum, the harm principle. No matter how innocuous the observation somebody somewhere is being harmed. The ubiquity of hurt on social media I forfend by staying away.



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We know no spectacle so ridiculous as the British public in one of its periodical fits of morality. In general, elopements, divorces, and family quarrels, pass with little notice. We read the scandal, talk about it for a day, and forget it. But once in six or seven years our virtue becomes outrageous. We cannot suffer the laws of religion and decency to be violated. We must make a stand against vice. We must teach libertines that the English people appreciate the importance of domestic ties. Accordingly some unfortunate man, in no respect more depraved than hundreds whose offences have been treated with lenity, is singled out as an expiatory sacrifice. If he has children, they are to be taken from him. If he has a profession, he is to be driven from it. He is cut by the higher orders, and hissed by the lower. He is, in truth, a sort of whipping-boy, by whose vicarious agonies all the other transgressors of the same class are, it is supposed, sufficiently chastised. We reflect, very complacently on our own severity, and compare with great pride the high standard of morals established in England with the Parisian laxity. At length our anger is satiated. Our victim is ruined and heart-broken. And our virtue goes quietly to sleep for seven years more.
(from Critical, Historical and Miscellaneous Essays. Vol.2, Review of Moore’s Life of Lord Byron




Friday, 31 May 2019

Protopanpsychism: A Brief Excursus


(excursus as in ramble)
It is perfectly possible that David Chalmers was being ironic when he said: I do not think it is strictly accurate to say that rocks (for example) have experiences. He might have used the technical term panprotopsychism which in its own way moves us no further forward. We are in effect spinning our wheels. Or are we? Is Chalmers going the transcendental route or offering a theory of how things must fundamentally be for things to appear as they do. Putting the argument in the manner of the philosopher on the next bar stool – We all got here from rocks and gas. The disjunction between mind and matter cannot be transcended, extended/non-extended, blah waffle blah. The human mind that emerged or evolved must have been somehow there in a prototypical way.


There is the problem of radical analogy, when we talk up to God and down to rocks. The mind of God and the mind of rocks. Staying with the mind of rocks for now, a concept that can connect human minds and rocks is that of information. Different forms of matter impinge on and change each other. They inform each other. There is a rhythmic consistency of interaction or nature. At what point can information become information for itself or memory? Squirrels remember where they put their nuts, dogs remember where they buried bones and I can’t remember where I left my keys. This can’t or the framing of a proposition and then negating it, is particular to the human mind, in the waking state that is. In dream we have to change the drama in order to negate. Suddenly a situation doesn’t exist and we emerge into one that expresses its negation. This may be the sort of consciousness that preceded our present state of evolution. Could certain forms of psychosis be a reversion?








Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Get Out on Netflix


I don’t keep up so I missed the accolades for Get Out now on Netflix. I’m not going to say a word about it so that there may be others who get the delightful surprise. When a situation is very miserable describing it in close detail can overwhelm the impulse of sympathy. Satire is more effective. By inversion or inhabiting the mind that we wish to swinge it is possible to show its cruelty.

Somehow in my reading I find that the French Revolution has become a focus. I hop from The French Revolution by Thomas Carlyle, Reflections on the Revolution in France by Edmund Burke and A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel. Mantel suffers by propinquity with the masters of cadence but worse still I am not getting sense of how Danton, Desmoulins and Robespierre became such blood boltered scoundrels. Where’s the foundation in everyday evil? She’s not a very good writer and the grouting of domestic detail indicates this gap. Liberals lack a sense of evil.

Which reminds me that 15 years later (1804) the ‘ternaire sacre’ became Liberty, Equality and Property in relation to Haiti where the new republic had to indemnify the slave owners for their loss. This amounted to 40 billion dollars (2010 calculation) and was not paid until 1947. cf. indemnity

The chains were gold Jean-Jacques: each link a gold franc.

Friday, 24 May 2019

Irish Abortion Duck/Rabbit



Human beings have a secret power. It’s called consciousness. A salient feature of consciousness is the capacity to live in the present, past and future all at the same time and to hold as simultaneously true contradictory thoughts. The couple that received the bad news about a fatal foetal condition, trisomy, decided to abort. Later there was an autopsy and OMG the test was wrong. A perfectly healthy baby, much desired, was gone. As Elizabeth Harman might hold: at one point the entity was not a moral unit or one we owe a duty of care to and then later it is: retrospectively so to speak.

Harman/Franco

Interestingly the Advaitins hold that sat being/truth is that which is uncontradicted in all three moments of time – the past, present and future. The notion that how we regard a subsistent reality changes its nature is a subversion of common sense that only philosophers are capable of. What was betrayed was the closest physical relationship, that between the mother and the unborn and also the future closest personal relationship between parents and child. The latter is courtesy of the power of consciousness. The P.N.C. (principle of non-contradiction) was also a casualty.

Oh well most bio-ethicists agree that abortion is licit. Like the hair product ad, they are worth it. What do the Buddhists think? If the foetus is a non-self/non-person then it’s o.k. but then ambulant persons are non-selfs/persons too. Hmmm.

The arguments for abortion are not getting better are they?

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Advaita Travel Agency


In the Taittiriya Upanishad commentary Shankara mentions this element of the achievements of the liberated soul in the conditioned realm of Brahman:

(Remaining established in his own nature, he moves on enjoying happiness) in the company of women or with vehicles. (from Chandogya Up. VIII.xii.3)(

This is the claim of the opponent to the advaitin view of the realisation of the unconditioned Brahman. How very like to the ideals promoted in television car ads. Shankara of course dismisses this limited view:

Women and others can exist only in the conditioned Brahman but not in the unconditioned, according to such Vedic texts as: “One only without a second” (Ch.Up.VI.ii.1)….

A few paragraphs before that Shankara deprecates the need for any sort of metaphysical transport or vehicle.

And hence liberation is not an achievable result. A traveller has to reach a place which is different from himself. Not that the very place that is non-different from oneself can be reached by oneself. And this follows from the well-known fact of identity of Vedic and Smrti texts such as “Having created it (the world) , He entered into it” (Tai.Up.II.vi.1), “Know the individual soul also to be myself”(Gita. XIII.2)

Where are you off to?



Saturday, 18 May 2019

Last Post from Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford : Sylvia Tietjens on being cut


One of my more popular posts is on the passage in A Moveable Feast in which Hemingway traduces Ford Madox Ford:
Hem and Fordie
Ford had committed the unpardonable sin of helping Hemingway by publishing him in the influential Transatlantic Review which he, Ford, edited. At that time his stories were rejected elsewhere.

The section in ‘Feast’ is a disquisition on cutting. Whom might a gentleman cut? A gentleman will always cut a cad etc.

When one analyses Ford’s work it is clear that Hem is being wound up like a long case clock. cf. post supra: In the Last Post(from the tetralogy Parade’s End) the fear of Sylvia Tietjens is that she will be cut by her estranged husband Christopher.



That she had hitherto never dared. From a social point of view it would have been outrageous, but she was prepared to chance that. She was sure enough of her place in Society, and if people will excuse a man’s leaving his wife, they will excuse the wife’s making at least one or two demonstrations that are a bit thick. But she had simply not dared to meet Christopher: he might cut her.
Perhaps he would not. He was a gentleman and gentlemen do not actually cut women with whom they have slept. . . . But he might. . . . She might go down there, and in a dim, low room be making some sort of stipulation — God knew what, the first that came into her head — to Valentine. You can always make up some sort of reason for approaching the woman who has supplanted you. But he might come in, mooning in, and suddenly stiffen into a great, clumsy — oh, adorable — face of stone.
That was what you would not dare to face. That would be death. She could imagine him going out of the room, rolling his shoulders. Leaving the whole establishment indifferently to her,
— closing only himself in invisible bonds — denied to her by the angel with the flaming sword! . . . That was what he would do. And that before the other woman. He had come once very near it, and she had hardly recovered from it.

Last Post available on Adelaide:
Last Post


Friday, 17 May 2019

Advaita Vedanta: An Introduction by Arvind Sharma


Advaita Vedanta and its chief interpretor Adi Shankaracarya (9th. Century) are in the curious position of being studiously ignored by Western philosophers probably because of the avowed soteriological intent which is contrary to the general agnostic sentiment of professional philosophy. Academic teachers of Eastern philosophy are content to paddle in the shallow waters of logic and epistemology. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

It’s no surprise then that it falls to Arvind Sharma a professor of Comparitive Religion to publish a short introduction to Advaita Vedanta - Advaita Vedanta: An Introduction pub.2004 by the Indian publisher Motilal Banarsidas and from the Wikipedia bibliography it appears to be the only book of his published by an Indian company. In the full bibliographyof 860 titles, there may be more. Is the imprint an indication of the target audience? Possibly. The book is predicated on an assumption of total ignorance of the subject so in a short 78 page booklet we may barely get into second gear nevertheless his breakdown into four sections of Introduction followed by the Scriptural, Rational and Experiential aspects of Advaita Vedanta with an extensive bibliography, is a good introduction. Within the book he makes extensive use of M. Hiriyanna’s Outlines of Indian Philosophy, a useful book published in 1932 which goes into the interplay between the different schools. Archive.org have many copies of his lucid expostion.

Worth a look I think.

Friday, 10 May 2019

Source of Advaitin Locution Faith Pending Realization


Recollect my observations on the common advaitin locution ‘faith pending realization’:
faith pending realizantion

I believe I have found the source of this snappy summary:

It is clear that the concept of faith itself also carries very different connotations in the schools which accept jivanmukti, compared with those of the West. In schools which accept jivanmukti, faith is understood as faith pending realization - it denotes the trust one must have in order to undertake an experiment, but the outcome of the experiment is independent of such faith. It is even possible that the revealed results might contribute towards strengthening faith, just as one's faith in science is strengthened when one experimentally discovers that water is made of two gases.
(from Advaita Vedanta: an Introduction by Arvind Sharma pub.2004)

Maybe Professor Sharma found it elsewhere. However my strictures still stand and are even augmented by his “but the outcome of the experiment is independent of such faith”. This makes faith sound like a ‘no risks, get your money back at any time’ scheme.



Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Possible Evidence and Evidently Possible (B.S.B. II.i.28 on Vijnanavada))


Should the existence or non-existence of a thing depend on the possibility or impossibility of the evidence for that thing? If we accept that view, the road to the ontological argument lies open and inevitable. Should we rather not hold that the possibility or impossibility of a thing is decided on the basis of being able to apply the means of knowledge to it. What can be perceived is evidently possible. This would include cloud chamber data and so forth. However, in this case the contrary to the possible is not the impossible but the theoretical for which we have as yet not devised empirical means of gaining evidence for.

Is idealism the chasm between the object and its evidence?


Monday, 6 May 2019

Pareto upgrades


Pareto: You are pleased to mock my devotion to the Angora cat.

Om: No Dottore, I am following your indication of the error in looking at data through fanciful anthropological theory. From a 1000 year perspective I could hold that the cat is your totem, your spirit animal. You have an affinity for the animal that is substitutive, participative and therefore more than symbolic. Being the cat allows its powers to be manifest in you. Independent yet responsive but not immediately so, a cat seems to consider – do I care enough? Now of course all of that animal is sacred and its products are talismanic, like the milk of the sacred cow is so pure and powerful that its products may be shared by all without pollution. The jumper knit from the sacred cat yarn deflects, protects, enhances and is warm and lightweight.

Pareto: Unfortunately the vibrations from the Society for the Suppression of Vice have a moth-like power which diminishes the efficacy of the garment. A distressing fact, but what to do?

Om: So we must upgrade to a new derivation in line with present scientific knowledge. May I recommend a vial of heavy water?

Pareto: Only if blessed by Einstein.

Friday, 3 May 2019

Pareto's Trattato and the Cats of the Villa Angora


Even your brother-in-law knows about the 80/20 rule. That’s Pareto. What else is there to know? A lot and then again fundamentally not very much. The insidious thought that strikes - is this man nought but a montimbanco, a shouty village explainer? The best book is in the footnotes of The Mind and Society where he gives examples from the classics of his mysterious residues. There they are but he never really asks what is the nature of human consciousness such that derivations of that same residue should recur under different forms throughout history. The writhings of the shaman, the sportive lashes of the luperci and phenomena of the Welsh Revival are taken to arise out of the same irrational source. To take these manifestations as evidence of a noumenal structure is of no interest to the materialist, positivist, scientistic mind of Pareto. They are simply evidence of the continually morphing derivative that has taken on new habiliments. First principles are a matter for metaphysics which is bunk and a form of theology for the intelligentsia.

He wrote his Trattato Di Sociologia Generale (The Mind and Society trans. in 3 Vols.) from 1907 to 1912 pub.1916. He could have said what he had to say in one book; get out sharply, and gather the shed hair of his 16 (?) Angora cats to spin into yarn with which he might knit a jumper, a shield to repel the emanations of the Society for the Prevention of Vice to whom he frequently refers as the bearers of evil sentiment.

I’m enjoying this book, well 20% of it 80% of the time.

Monday, 29 April 2019

Dr.Richard Whately on Evidences/Miracles and Hume's equivocation on Experience


Here is a wodge of Dr. Whately's Logic. You've seen it before but your sybaritic taste glutted on the sophisms of Mr. Hume refused it. Your wish to deny the fact of miracles lest they should lead to a position of faith is, as I pointed out, a groundless anxiety. A faithless generation requires them but even Moses coming back from the dead to confirm the message of the gospels would not convince. Whately would demur. They are useful if the ground of sufficient candour exists.
(repost)
A consistent theme of Whately’s is ‘evidences’. A couple of his books that I’ve come across are composed of annotations appended to what he considers seminal texts. Generally these annotations are chapter length reflections on the previous chapter of the mother text. Paley’s A View of the Evidences of Christianity is one and Bacon’s Essays is the other. 

Evidences is the short form of ‘evidences for the truth of the Christian religion’ or a quasi-rational justification. Though he is represented as having been at odds with John Henry Newman even while the latter was in his Anglican phase I find that both of them really did not believe that there were knock-down demonstrative proofs available in the domain of religion. In the early working out of what later became the illative sense Newman spoke of implicit reasoning and they both would I think have recognised that a prior cultivation of the heart was necessary for the living reception of ‘evidences’. For Whately the fact of miracles was central for faith. Without miracles the establishment of the faith as a world-wide phenomenon would be impossible. Google have his Easy Lessons on Christian Evidences with several chapters on that theme. His amusing retorsion on/of/to Hume on miracles cf. Doubts Relative to Napoleon Buonaparte is quite serious in intent.

Men were not to become his disciples in consequence of their knowing and perceiving the truth of what He taught, but in consequence of their having sufficient candour to receive the evidence which his miracles afforded, and being so thoroughly of the Truth as to give themselves up to follow wherever that should lead, in opposition to any prejudices or inclinations of their own; and then knowledge of the truth was to be their reward. There is not necessarily any moral virtue in receiving truth; for it may happen that our interest, or our wishes, are in the same direction; or it may be forced upon us by evidence as irresistible as that of a mathematical demonstration. The virtue consists in being a sincere votary of Truth;—what our Lord calls being 'of the Truth,'—rejecting 'the hidden things of dishonesty,' and carefully guarding against every undue bias. Every one wishes to have Truth on his side; but it is not every one that sincerely wishes to he on the side of Truth.

(from annotation to Bacon’s Essay Of Truth)

A note on David Hume's equivocation re 'experience' from Richard Whately might be a useful antidote:

EXPERIENCE.—This word, in its strict sense, applies to what has occurred within a person's own knowledge. Experience, in this sense, of course, relates to the past alone. Thus it is that a man knows by experience what sufferings he has undergone in some disease, or what height the tide reached at a certain time and place.
More frequently the word is used to denote that Judgment which is derived from experience in the primary sense, by reasoning from that, in combination with other data. Thus, a man may assert, on the ground of Experience, that he was cured of a disorder by such a medicine,—that that medicine is, generally, beneficial in that disorder,—that the tide may always be expected, under such circumstances, to rise to such a height. Strictly speaking, none of these can be known by Experience, but are conclusions derived from Experience. It is in this sense only that Experience can be applied to the future, or, which comes to the same thing, to any general fact; as, e. g. when it is said that we know by Experience that water exposed to a certain temperature will freeze.
There are again two different applications of the word {see Book III. § 10,) which, when not carefully distinguished, lead in practice to the same confusion as the employment of it in two senses; viz. we sometimes understand our own personal experience; sometimes, general Experience. Hume has availed himself of this (practical) ambiguity, in his Essay on Miracles; in which he observes, that we have experience of the frequent falsity of Testimony, but that the occurrence of a miracle is contrary to our Experience, and is consequently what no testimony ought to be allowed to establish. Now had he explained whose Experience he meant, the argument would have come to nothing: if he means the Experience of mankind universally, i. e, that a Miracle has never come under the Experience of any one, this is palpably begging the question: if he means the Experience of each individual who has never himself witnessed a Miracle, this would establish a rule, {viz. that we are to believe nothing of which we have not ourselves experienced the like,) which it would argue insanity to act upon. Not only was the King of Bantam justified (as Hume himself admits) in listening to no evidence for the existence of Ice, but no one would be authorized on this principle to expect his own death. His Experience informs him, directly, only that others have died. Every disease under which he himself may have labored, his Experience must have told him has not terminated fatally; if he is to judge strictly of the future by the past, according to this rule, what should hinder him from expecting the like of all future diseases ?
Some have never been struck with this consequence of Hume's principles; and some have even failed to perceive it when pointed out: but if the reader thinks it worth his while to consult the author, he will see that his principles, according to his own account of them, are such as I have stated.
Perhaps however he meant, if indeed he had any distinct meaning, something intermediate between universal, and individual experience; viz. the Experience of the generality, as to what is common and of ordinary occurrence; in which sense the maxim will only amount to this, that false Testimony is a thing of common occurrence, and that Miracles are not; an obvious truth, indeed ; but too general to authorize, of itself) a conclusion in any particular case In any other individual question, as to the admissibility of evidence, it would be reckoned absurd to consider merely the average chances for the truth of Testimony in the abstract without inquiring what the Testimony is, in the particular instance before us. As if e. g. any one had maintained that no testimony could establish Columbus's account of the discovery of America, because it is more common for travellers to lie, than for new Continents to be discovered. See Historic Doubts relative to Napoleon Bonaparte.
It is to be observed by the way, that there is yet an additional ambiguity in the entire phrase " contrary to experience;" in one sense, a miracle, or any other event, may be called contrary to the experience of any one who has never witnessed the like; as the freezing of water was to that of the King of Bantam; in another and stricter sense, that only is contrary to a man's experience, which he knows by experience not to be true; as if one should be told of an in&llible remedy for some disorder, he having seen it administered without effect. No testimony can establish what is, in this latter sense^ contrary to experience. We need not wonder that ordinary minds should be bewildered by a sophistical employment of such a mass of ambiguities.
Such reasonings as these are accounted ingenious and profound, on account of the Subject on which they are employed; if applied to the ordinary affairs of life, they would be deemed unworthy of serious notice.
The reader is not to suppose that the refutation of Hume's Essay on Miracles was my object in this Article.
That might have been sufficiently accomplished, in the way of a reductio ad absurdum," by mere reference to the case of the King of Bantam adduced by the author himself But this celebrated Essay, though it has often perhaps contributed to the amusement of an anti-christian sophist at the expense of those unable to expose its fallacy, never probably made one convert The author himself seems plainly to have meant it as a specimen of his ingenuity in arguing on a given hypothesis; for he disputes against miracles as against the Course of Nature; whereas, according to him, there is no such thing as a Course of Nature; his skepticism extends to the whole external world;—to every thing, except the ideas or impressions on the mind of the individual; so that a miracle which is believed, has, in that circumstance alone, on his principles, as much reality as any thing can have.
But my object has been to point out, by the use of this example, the fallacies and blunders which may result from inattention to the ambiguity of the word " Experience :" and this cannot be done by a mere indirect argument; which refutes indeed, but does not explain^ an error.

(from alphabetical appendix to Elements of Logic by Dr.Richard Whately)



Friday, 26 April 2019

Anslemian Faith and Sraddha (faith)


Are there Gettier answers? You can get the right answer without it being the right answer. You get the marks whilst being ignorant withal. In Advaitin circles discussion of sraddha generally translated as faith, the clever distinction is made between the Anslemian faith seeking understanding and the purportedltyAdvaitic Faith pending understanding. In the latter faith is a temporary state which is no longer required when true realisation is achieved. The former is characterised as a state of 'blind' faith.

Certain objections occur to this facile distinction generally considered to be a correct answer. While understanding is pending what is the sadhaka (seeker) doing but seeking. And faith, where does it come in, how does it arise? Can one just decide to have faith? Pace William James that seems an impossible leap, blindly in the dark. Why would you do it unless something, so to speak, had got into you. This irruption of the non-rational into one's life is I would suggest a pure gift of grace and serves as the base for the further spiritual practice (sadhana) which has the Beatific Vision as its goal. The metaphysical system of Advaita would postulate a reality which our personal ignorance (ajnana) hides from us. It is our own nature that we have faith in, not an external God. Even so, whatever the ontological scaffolding the commitment of faith must be achieved. How? The importance of acceptance and initiation by a Sat Guru (Perfect Master) is stressed. That initial trust and confidence could be an illusion.

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Coleridge and Miracles


Luke 16: 29 -31
Abraham saith unto him; They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them
And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent
And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

This is the text that Coleridge cites in his discussion of spiritual truths and the understanding in Section the Second Essay II, The Friend He asks :

Whether miracles can, of themselves, work a true conviction in the mind? There are spiritual truths which must derive their evidence from within, which whoever rejects, “neither will he believe though a man were to rise from the dead” to confirm them.

That is so true, miracles, though they may leave one stunned and thunderstruck (stundered) in a state of momentary shock at the abrogation of natural experience will in cooler recollection evoke the reaction:
wonderful, but what has it to do with me.

….. is not a true efficient conviction of a moral truth, is not “the creating of a new heart,” which collects the energies of a man’s whole being in the focus of the conscience, the one essential miracle, the same and of the same evidence to the ignorant and the learned, which no superior skill can counterfeit, human or demoniacal?

Humean ingenuity is confounded by this inversion. Faith allows miracles as the ebulliance of divine power but they do not establish faith.

Saturday, 20 April 2019

Essays on the Principles of Method by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (Essay VII)




((repost from 2012)

If Coleridge were to Friend you it would mean no more than that you were to receive in the post a successor periodical to The Watchman. Rather that descrying the state of political life his intent was:

I do not write in this work for the Multitude; but for those , who by Rank, or Fortune, or official Situation, or Talents and Habits of Reflection, are to influence the Multitude. I write to found true Principles, to oppose false Principle, in Criticism, Legislation, Philosophy, Morals, and International Law.

Much the same Aims and Objectives which I myself espouse though I doubt S.T.C. had to deal with the machinations of the Illuminati. It was through the remarks of Owen Barfield on Essays on the Principles of Method in his book What Coleridge Thought that it first came to my attention. My particular edition of The Friend is that published by Princeton University Press in 2 Vols. Edited by Barbara Rooke. The second volume is a variorum containing emendations, historical background, index etc. which is of course fascinating but the actual text with notes but without index is in the first volume.

The Friend on Internet Archive:

The Friend


In a remarkable passage from his Table Talk he muses:


PHILOSOPHY OF YOUNG MEN AT THE PRESENT DAY.
I do not know whether I deceive myself, but it seems to me that the young men, who were my contemporaries, fixed certain principles in their minds, and followed them out to their legitimate consequences, in a way which I rarely witness now. No one seems to have any distinct convictions, right or wrong; the mind is completely at sea, rolling and pitching on the waves of facts and personal experiences. Mr. —— is, I suppose, one of the rising young men of the day; yet he went on talking, the other evening, and making remarks with great earnestness, some of which were palpably irreconcilable with each other. He told me that facts gave birth to, and were the absolute ground of, principles; to which I said, that unless he had a principle of selection, he would not have taken notice of those facts upon which he grounded his principle. You must have a lantern in your hand to give light, otherwise all the materials in the world are useless, for you cannot find them; and if you could, you could not arrange them. "But then," said Mr. ——, "that principle of selection came from facts!"—"To be sure!" I replied; "but there must have been again an antecedent light to see those antecedent facts. The relapse may be carried in imagination backwards for ever,—but go back as you may, you cannot come to a man without a previous aim or principle." He then asked me what I had to say to Bacon's induction: I told him I had a good deal to say, if need were; but that it was perhaps enough for the occasion to remark, that what he was evidently taking for the Baconian _in_duction was mere _de_duction—a very different thing.[1] [Footnote 1: As far as I can judge, the most complete and masterly thing ever done by Mr. Coleridge in prose, is the analysis and reconcilement of the Platonic and Baconian methods of philosophy, contained in the third volume of the Friend, from p. 176 to 216. No edition of the Novum Organum should ever be published without a transcript of it.—ED.]

He likens the natural philosopher to the sage who attempts to put himself into a receptive state of tension:

We have seen that a previous act and conception of the mind is indispensible even in the mere semblance of Method; that neither fashion, mode, nor orderly arrangement can be produced without a prior purpose, and “a pre-cogitation, ad intentionem eius quod queritur,” though this purpose may have been itself excited, and this “pre-cogitation” extracted from the perceived likeness and differences of the objects to be arranged. But it has likewise been shown, that fashion, mode, ordonnance, are not Method, inasmuch as all Method supposes A PRINCIPLE OF UNITY WITH PROGRESSION; in other words, progressive transition without breach of continuity. But such a principle, it has been proved, can never in the sciences of experiment or in those of observation be adequately supplied by a theory built on generalization. For what shall determine the mind to abstract and generalize one common point rather than another; and within what limits, from what number of individual objects, shall the generalization be made ? The theory must still require a prior theory for its own legitimate construction.

(from Essay VII on the Priciples of Method)

‘Intentio’ is ‘straining after’ (White’s Latin Dictionary) which sense is retained in the philosophical concept of intentionality. It is this very straining after, this tension, this aporia, the I don’t know how to go on feeling that is creative. A new comprehension is required. The emergence of the creative solution involves finding a catalyst that crystallizes the new vision and it is inspririted by the stuckness.


This instinct, again, is itself but the form, in which the idea, the mental correlative of the law, first announces its incipient germination in his own mind : and hence proceeds the striving after unity of principle through all the diversity of forms, with a feeling resembling that which accompanies our endeavors to recollect a forgotten name, when we seem at once to have and not to have it; which the memory feels but can not find. 

(Essay VII)

The catalyst Coleridge calls a protophaenomon:


The naturalist, who can not or will not see, that one fact is often worth a thousand, as including them all in itself, and that it first makes all the other facts,—who has not the head to comprehend, the soul to reverence, a central experiment or observation (what the Greeks would perhaps have called a 'protophaenomon’), —will never receive an auspicious answer from the oracle of nature.

(from Essay VII)


Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Shepherding for Dummies


It’s interesting that the Milgram experiment
milgram experiment
produced a result that is mirrored by the result of our abortion referendum in Ireland. The percentage that voted for legalisation was slightly more at 66% as against 65% which works out the same when you correct for native brutality.

Here in Ireland the experiment was carried out on the whole nation which was continuously badgered by authority figures. The first indication of this strategy came in the Citizens’ Assembly. Add to that the perfect storm of pro choice/abortion propaganda in the media reinforcing the message. That was all the broadcast and print media without exception. Then there was the Dail parliamentary Committee, shamelessly packed but then of course that’s normal when you have preferred outcomes.
Was Jesus (and Plato) right when he said that people were like sheep prone to panic and stupidity unless they have a reliable shepherd (philosopher king)?The Shepherding for Dummies book has a section - When Bad Things Happen. And they have.

spending halted
For those who don’t follow links money meant for maternity services is now being put into the new abortion regime. The Irish Times admits it but for them abortion is a maternity service so that’s all right.



Monday, 8 April 2019

The Dogs in the Great Glen by Benedict Kiely (they didn't bark)


Benedict Kiely is as much a teller, as a writer, of short stories and so the particular rambling flavour comes out when you read having his voice in your head. Luckily there is much broadcast archive material. His narration of the Hands programme on the Mullhollands of Lisnaskea, Co.Fermanagh, Farmers and Stonecutters is a good example.
Hands

The story The Dogs in the Great Glen from A Journey to the Seven Streams (1963) is a fine controlled meander. The New Yorker Magazine published it in 1960:
the dogs in the great glen

The narrator that may or may not be a class of a psychopomp sets out with an Irish American professor to discover the mountain valley in Kerry that his grandfather emigrated from. He has only the name, the bare name of the glen, the Glen of Kanareen. That shouldn’t be too hard, there are maps, ordnance survey maps. Not marked. Often the local name may be different from the Anglicised official name but the guide has a feeling that he heard the name in a pub in Kenmare once. More seeming solid is the possibility of knowledge to be gained from a record of a relative who had been a monk in the Cistercian monastery of Mount Melleray in Co.Waterford. South then in the rattly Prefect only to arrive too late at the guesthouse. They decide to go West to Gort across the country to Gort in the County of Galway where a relation had been a cooper. No luck there either. Since aluminium firkins coopering is a dwindling trade. One good omen though – on the lake in Coole demense were nine and fifty swans. North to Galway town for the craic - a night’s hard drinking that was like a fit of jovial hysteria.

Back in the Prefect and south to Kenmare but no one in the savant stacked pub could tell them of Kanareen or its Glen. The Kerryman will never be defeated by base knowledge when a conjecture will suffice. .It could of course’, he said, ‘be east over the mountain’.

Eventually though they find a solid anecdote. A rural postmaster tells them of a local woman who married a man from Karaneen. When they left to go to his place after the marriage they set off up that road.

The rattle of our pathetic little car affronted the vast stillness. We were free to moralize on the extent of all space in relation to the trivial area that limited our ordinary daily lives.

They are on the right track , they think, but for the last part of the climb up through the gap in the mountains they leave the car and walk on the grass verge of the loose gravelled boreen. A pisgah sight:

Small rich fields were ripe in the sun. This was a glen of plenty, a gold field in the middle of a desert, a happy laughing mockery of the arid surrounding moors and mountains. Five hundred yards away a dozen people were working at the hay. They didn’t look up or give any sign that they had seen two strangers cross the high threshold of their kingdom but, as we went down, stepping like grenadier guards, the black and white sheepdogs detached themselves from the haymaking and move silently across to intercept our path. Five of them I counted. My step faltered.

further down:
The silent dogs came closer. The unheeding people went on with their work.

When you are on a pilgrimage a vision accompanies you. Here it is the heart broken dreams of his grandfather’s native place that come like a veil between the locals and the two travellers. Sheepdogs that don’t bark, that’s uncanny.

When he meets his grandfather’s brother at the old house the spell is broken:

Through sunlight and shadow the happy haymakers came running down towards us and barking, playing, frisking over each other, the seven black-and-white dogs, messengers of good news, ran to meet. The great Glen, all happy echoes, was opening out and singing to welcome its true son.



Thursday, 4 April 2019

Pixie Dust


You couldn’t make it up…. Actually you could but no one would believe you particularly around April Fools Day. Did Prime Minister Leo Veradkar really send a gushing fan letter to Kylie Minogue pixie gay icon welcoming her to Ireland in his capacity as Taoiseach (prime minister). He signed it Leo V. Taoiseach. Leo the Fifth primus inter pares. He’s gay so its fun and Brexit is just a distraction that doesn’t require attention. Well it would if it got it.

Story here:
Ireland of the Welcomes

Saturday, 30 March 2019

'Somewhere a dog barked' trope on languagehat.com


‘The somewhere a dog barked’ trope was indulged in by Iris Murdoch in The Sea, The Sea. I am not sure but that she was being mischievous. The owl makes me feel a slight tug. It’s the salad cream on the sausage.

“Shadows were strong , and the brooding identity of everything I passed so powerful that I kept nervously looking back. The silence was vast, different in quality from the foggy silence of the morning, punctured now and then by an owl’s cry or the barking of a distant dog.”

Following this trope has been going on since 2010 on languagehat.com
somewhere a dog barked
It’s now running at 148 anfractuose scholarly comments taking in Mongolian yurt approach ettiquette, Turkic saws, botch and bungle, usw.


Friday, 29 March 2019

The Sea, The Sea by Iris Murdoch (pub. 1978)


Did he really eat boiled onions for breakfast? One of the endearing if dysphagic elements of this book is the careful recipes nay concoctions the like children might assemble when their parents were away. The bizarre thing is that this was standard grub in the Bayley/Murdoch household. If you wish to follow through on that the Paris Review has an article:
cooking with Iris

Who he? Charles Arrowby renowned theatre director, now retired to Shruff End a house on a promontory right at the edge of the sea, the sea. Alone with his memories mainly of the women that he has subjugated by alternately wooing and leaving until their emotional life is imprinted with his personality. In the Platonic world of philosopher Murdoch the incarnation is preceded by the idea. They do turn up, all of them and for a section of the novel all at the same time. That’s the classic Murdoch stew. Don’t let it go off the boil and keep adding: stir, stir, stir.

Now I won’t even attempt to offer a summary of the novel but instead focus on a central moral theme that of the correlative sins of jealousy and envy which oppress Arrowby. He has to own and absolutely own the past and present of his women. He breaks them by clever direction and the creation of crisis, resolution and abandonment. One woman has escaped him, his first girl friend Hartley, a secret love that left him when they were both eighteen. They were chaste and therefore perfect lovers, the yolk and shell of the one egg. But why, why, why did she go off untraceably? In a karmic reversal he is owned by her: a lump remains like a Jungian serpent in the cave of his past.

I mentioned karma and that brings in the Tibetan theme. His cousin and only relative James Arrowby, retired general, scholar of Tibetan occult lore, spy, adept, and siddha has come back into his life. Charles has envied him all his life and measured his achievements by comparison with the soldier’s. In the completion of a cycle of incarnations all manner of coincidences abound. A siddha induces acceleration of prarabdha (unresolved) karma. Things happen around him. The director finds that the play is getting out of hand though he tries to force his interpretation on it. The past remains owned by Hartley and that is unacceptable.

The novel is a coup of narrative surge. There is no let up. (would cardomom pods go with this ?– crushed or whole?) But how is it finishable? Wonderfully. Read this, save it for the summer, get lots of sand in it. Great writing, good ideas, vile recipes.

Monday, 25 March 2019

Iris Murdoch - Silly like us.


Did her gift survive it all? Her personal claim that she was Irish was a twee excursion into the Celtic Twilight. An Post want to claim her with its philosophy on a post card campaign. That should be ample space. Daily Nous has the details:
charming project

I read a lot of her novels many years ago but if you put a gun to my head and said tell us in your own words, in broad outlines, the plot of any of them; I would have to say, ‘Is it about Oxbridge people crossed in love ruminating?
- Sorry I can’t accept that, boom.

One of her books with ‘philosophy’ in the title - The Philosopher’s Pupil has been lying around for years now so I took down it because of the year that’s in it. I read several pages, obviously readable because I read them but it was not a pleasant experience. Cadence was entirely lame, broken, dragging, abrupt with uncouth metaphors and inapt similes. It was published in 1983. Was this a manifestation of the beginning of the loss of her wits? Her previous book published in 1978 The Sea, the Sea won the Booker Prize and I remember reading it before but no – shoot, dam your eyes.

I’m only a little way in and I can tell tell her style has a dwelling quality that creates a body under the surface of description. Yes, yes I know I’m moving close to the rocks of Heideggerian pseudology. I’ll get my coat. More on the book and the topic of cadence later.

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Recommendations of Irish Parliament's Committee on Relationship and Sex Education. (R.S.E.)



Among the report’s recommendations: (their own summary bolded)

Funding for training teachers in RSE and SPHE should be guaranteed and ring-fenced.

Make sure the teachers are on message. Block all thought crime.


The SPHE curriculum, published in 1999, should be updated and delivered to students at an earlier age.

How early? It is likely that we would follow the example of Britain. As a post-colonial society we must ‘always keep a hold of nurse for fear of finding something worse’. That means from the age of 4 children must be taught that 1 to 3% of a population (homosexuals) represents a ‘norm’. And later when they are ready for it that 2+2=5.

The RSE curriculum should be updated to reflect modern views on gender and identity. It should be taught in an age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate manner.

Gender is a construct and sex, well, we can fix that too.

The Department of Education and Skills should consider transferring oversight of curriculum delivery to the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment. It also should consider allowing primary teachers to specialise in SPHE.

We need Information control. There is too much loose talk.


External providers of RSE instruction should be regulated by the Department of Education and Skills, or the Health Service Executive, to ensure consistency and accuracy of information provided to students.

Just in case that rednecks down the country might bring in trained instructors that would reflect the ethos of the community. That might be a problem with the Muslims.


The Education Act 1998 should be reviewed to ensure that religious or institutional ethos cannot be cited as a barrier to teaching RSE and SPHE objectively and factually. Any legislative amendments required should come before the Oireachtas by late 2019.

We need to get rid of Catholic management in the schools or at least hobble them significantly. Irish Times, Irish Independent, RTE etc. over to you. Let the info war begin.

Find Full Report at:
reports on R.S.E.





Matt. 5:13 -
“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.”




Friday, 22 March 2019

Pareto's Retrovision and Prevision


In general the unknown has to be explained by the known and the past is therefore better explained by the present than the present by the past though the latter method was followed by the majority of writers in the beginning of sociology and is still followed by many. (para. 548)

From that it follows that before a theory can be considered true , it is virtually indispensable that there be perfect freedom to impugn it. Any limitation, even indirect and however remote ,imposed on anyone choosing to contradict it is enough to cast suspicion upon it. (para. 568)
(from The Mind and Society)

Does that latter paragraph stand out because of our present enthusiasm for falsifiability?

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Para-Optimal Pareto


Pareto is better than optimal. Such is the judgement of 20% of the people 80% of the time. Is that it? No, probably not but enough if you are an Ancient Mariner and have buttonholed a wedding guest. Once it was said to me to shut me up - ‘you have a theory about everything’. Though knowing its purport I took it as a compliment. Chidden by Pareto I would have bowed my head and confessed the egregious need to offer an explanation for everything as a fool’s improvisation. I ought to have admitted - ‘come back to me in twenty years, I don’t have enough data at present’.

I’m more than half way through Book 1 of The Mind and Society and it’s an excellent read. Real scholarship or the transmutation of vast erudition into a personal comprehension is a rare thing. Footnotes banished to unread (you too?) Endnotes would be a serious loss. He does not stint them. Is he wrong about Natural Law and Right Reason? I struggle to defer judgement and await his explication of those mysterious ‘residues’. How would you find them and having found them build a theory that is not itself a transcendental hypothesis? Reply:

- I have the data.

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Top of the Mornin' to ya (Get up the Yard)


(repost for the day that's init)
Plan to move St.Patrick's Day. American and Australian papers please copy:

There used to be the ethnic slur which only Irish people used against each other - ‘that’s very Irish’ meaning that it was perfectly ridiculous but true in an interesting way. Theo Dorgan’s (poet, broadcaster) proposal to move St. Patrick’s day to the Summer time when the weather might be better enters into that category.

It occupies a niche in an alternative universe previously mapped by Myles’s De Selby and confers the unforeseen benefit of multiplying the feast into a permanent celebration of being Irish on different continents at different times. In this it could share the well observed practice of the Orthodox in their Christmas and Easter celebrations. One year I managed to get two Christmases at both Bethlehem and the Russians on Mount Olivet. Devotees of St.Patrick could do the American on the usual day and the Irish in July. The supply of shamrock might be expected to be more plentiful during the summer though I must declare that I’ve never seen it growing in the ground and those that attend the parades have lapels that foam with common clover.

Theo would like to see the national celebration decoupled from St.Patrick and Christianity to become a more inclusive celebration of being Irish. No more shall the hymn be sung ‘Faith of our fathers living still in spite of dungeon, fire and sword’. A new master narrative to trump, as he would say, the facts of history because Theo does not accept them. You see he had a sort of deconversion experience on the way to school when he was 14 years old but yet he’s glad that Mammy never found out before she died. Now that’s Irish. Daddy came to know by accident but a kind priest convinced him that it was just youthful rebellion. It was not a matter of pusillanimity on his part to keep his loss of faith from his parents but more like the way parents might support the Santa story. The old ones are like that. Sure you’d have to love them.









Thursday, 14 March 2019

My Right Honourable Friend, the Member for Waffle, Quibble and Lie.


Reading Pareto’s Mind and Society bk.1 at the moment gives me a interesting perspective on what he calls ‘non-logical actions’ and the confounding of your own professed principles by an uncanny counter logic which selects the most efficient way to achieve that end. I am of course watching the Mother of Parliaments at its business of ‘ritual actions which serve to intensify sentiment’ without in fact effectuating anything. At the same time however by some oversight they have put into law the requirement to have left the E.U. by the 29th.March. That will have to be rescinded in order to allow for an extension of deliberations. The taking away of the no-deal option is only an expression of sentiment and has no legal value. All the more powerful for that Pareto avers and the next fork in the progress of the Great British People, who can foretell what that might be.

‘My right honourable friend the Member for Waffle, Quibble and Lie has claimed that we have left the E.U. That is not correct: ‘We remain, the E.U. is leaving us’. (hear, hear)



Sunday, 10 March 2019

Sweeney Agonistes or Tommy's Takedown of the BBC's Panorama.


Tommy Robinson whatever you may think about his politics is not a stupid man. It is clear that the liberal intelligentsia think that anyone who disagrees with their complacent assumptions must be a thicko yob and bending the rules to demonstrate this is perfectly acceptable. ‘Can’t we whore just a little’ asks Aunty BBC. ‘Well no darling, you know you can’t, you’re the BBC’.

The high point for me of the ‘Tommy Takedown’ which turned into Tommy’s Takedown was when Robinson called Sweeney an elitist. That stung when all the tabloid strategies of the BBC were shrugged off. That’s so mean!

One standard of journalism that was kept up was the drinking during the secret filming of Sweeney’s attempt to get Robinson’s 'ex-aide' to dish the dirt. Lunchtime O’Booze liveth.

Find Panodrama on
Panodrama

Today’s Lesson:
Proverbs 26:27
Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Professor Green's All Seeing Eye


You always thought that deplatforming was the disruption of college student society meetings by antifa mobs and the like and or the pre-emptive cancelling of a meeting to avoid riot and uproar. There may also have been the residual suspicion that the meeting was first proposed with the purpose of tumultuation and ‘lulz’ in mind. Professor Les Green of Oxford has a different interpretation, one with a Mrs. Micawber air. ‘This college will never consider as a Fellow the likes of Dr. Nutz whatever his credentials may be’. Nobody thought you would Prof but there is the question of the appeasement of leftist ‘wokeness’. He writes:

But until recently, no one ever thought a function of universities is to provide a platform for open debate, however ill-informed, or however inimical to teaching and research. Nor did they think one could circumvent the main purpose of a university by an invitation from a student group.

Would that circumvention apply to this meeting?
pro-life meeting

The college authorities did commendably try to protect the meeting which was eventually moved to a different location. It only needed a small room. Quite!

Green claims that the dismal mummery of Masonry is a force for Enlightenment. What the All Seeing Eye won’t wink at if you are a member, the which he is. Certainly they wouldn’t want Professor John Finnis among them.

My distinguished former colleague, brilliant jurist, reactionary Catholic ideologue, and career homophobe, John Finnis, is once again attracting the attention of Oxford’s law students.
from:
Finnis and Academic Freedon

The students that got up the petition against Finnis had their hearts in the right place even if their proposals were partly unlawful. Leave it to me says Green. When Finnis finally retires we’ll get an enlightened person in. All things being equal give it to the Mason.

Monday, 4 March 2019

She Says

I have so many phobias it’s hard to keep up with them all. One I have been open about and shared with you all is the use of ‘she’ as the unmarked pronoun in contemporary philosophy writing.
she who must be obeyed

The intent is good if fatuous and it is of course meant to encourage female agency which is odd given that in English the marked pronoun is ‘she’. When you first encounter a reference to ‘she’ down the page you go back to see to whom the ‘she’ refers. Oh! Whoever doing whatever. ‘He’ is now the referred to writer, thinker and so on. More decerebrate flailing and the product of monolingual ignorance.

Generally there is consistence even unto the invidious. I noted an exception this morning reading the generally unpersuasive Aeon essay by Neil Levy:
no platforming justifiable

He writes:
Importantly, higher-order evidence is extremely difficult to rebut. If my university gives a platform to a climate-change skeptic, it provides higher-order evidence in favour of her view. That higher-order evidence is not rebutted by the university inviting another speaker later to ‘balance’ her, or if she is subject to a devastating response from the floor. We can rebut her claim that global warming isn’t occurring, but we cannot rebut her claim that the invitation certifies my expertise.

Further down he writes:
. We rebut higher-order evidence using approaches that many open-speech arguments deplore, because they don’t address first-order evidence. An ad hominem attack (he’s funded by the oil industry; he’s a racist) or attacks on the credibility of those who provided him with a platform do not address his arguments, but they are often appropriate responses to higher-order evidence.

The ‘ad hominem’ refers to the fallacious strategy of descrying the credentials of the person making the argument. It does not refer to a particular man with whom the pronoun must agree unless you take on what you have sought to avoid.

About Levy’s essay:
I always thought one of the benefits of a university education was the certain proof that standing on a podium and expatiating did not of itself add lustre to the status of the speaker however advanced their degrees.

Thursday, 28 February 2019

Advaita Vedanta's theory of the Mind going out to the Object


Many odd philosophical theories are more instructive about the core issues than those which align with our common sense beliefs. Berkeley’s immaterialism is an example. Understand that and the rationality of empiricism will seem specious. An analogue within the classical canon of Indian Philosophy is Advaita Vedanta’s theory of perception generally discussed within the context of the six valid means of knowledge or pramanas.

It’s quite complicated because in the Indian way each element in the theory is itself a subject of discussion and subdivision. Therein lies the danger of distraction that lures the fine forensic mind of the advaitin away from the central insights. It is significant that Shankaracarya does not indulge himself in the fine slicing and dicing that is so attractive to a certain kind of thinker. What then is his central observation, his protophaenomenon? It is the aporiai of realism. How can we know the object out there as it is?

In Shankara’s preamble to the Brahma-Sutra-Bhasya he uses this aporiai as a departure point for the superimposition theory of avidya (ignorance/maya)but it also might be held that it is foundational for a theory of perception as such with the ‘out there as it is’ status of the object as the knot which has to be unpicked. If the object is ‘in here’ or ‘in’ my mind then the alienation of the representational presents itself. The advaitin move is to assert that the mind goes out to the object and takes its form. This sounds like sheer voodoo unless we bear in mind that in Advaita the mind is regarded as inert or as material that only becomes conscious when it is pervaded by pure consciousness. The human mind is the complex of brain/body being conscious. Mind is matter, a monism which avoids the causal problem of the interaction of mind and matter in Western thought. In perception we have a physical interaction which is pervaded by consciousness and becomes knowledge. It, as I understand it, then becomes perceptual knowledge through the power of superimposition on the consciousness of the subject. It becomes ‘owned’ by the individual subject.

The organs that go out and take the form of the object are not to be confused with the actual physical organs of sight, touch etc. They are in Shankara’s words in his commentary on the Brh.Up. II.iv.11- but modes of the objects in order to perceive them. They are, so to speak, empty modalities that become informed by the object.

That in broad outline is the advaitin theory of perception. To investigate the full complexity of Manas, Buddhi, Citta, Antahkarana, and Indriyas refer to the The Six Ways of Knowing by D. M. Datta:
The Six Ways

Monday, 25 February 2019

My Beautiful House


As I was saying – live in someone else’s house for a while and your own will seem strange to you. Philosophers don’t like moving house. Where will they keep all the little knick knacks and keep sakes and the snow globes that keep their papers down. It’s so upsetting. Changing your mind is a chancy business but sometimes your house burns down and you have to move. Saving that catastrophe can we move out for a while and savour the different order of business? When we read novels we accept a voluntary precipitation into another sphere of being and it’s often good for us. I don’t mean the trifling scenarios of science fiction that conform to our prejudices but the mondo bizarro of Roskolnikov or K. The knife is passed across us and we fall into the torpor of the gazelle under the lion. Our sister is weighed against a grasping hag. Now is the time to be cold as ice, implacable.

Philosophers are like picky children. They don’t like the yoghurt with bits in it. Panpsychism is nonsense they mutter, there is no philosophy in the Upanishads and they kick the legs of the table. Well, I’ve got news for you, there’s a lot of hungry….

Entertain the very different. Find the thinker’s protophaenomenon and spin out like an excogitating mental spider the web of his thought.

The naturalist, who cannot or will not see, that one fact is often worth a thousand , as including them all in itself, and that it first makes all the others facts ; who has not the head to comprehend, the soul to reverence, a central experiment or observation ( what the Greeks would perhaps have called a protophaenomenon ) ; will never receive an auspicious answer from the oracle of nature.
(from Essays on Method by Coleridge)

Go East young philosopher where the spice of the utterly odd is to be found. When you come home again you may find yourself Once in a Lifetime:

You may ask yourself, what is that beautiful house?
You may ask yourself, where does that highway lead to?
You may ask yourself, am I right, am I wrong?
You may say to yourself, my god, what have I done?

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

The Letters of Horace Walpole



I am having a fine morning of old technology. The primary contact with a more sedate era is a beautiful edition of Walpole’s letters published by George Newnes in his Thin Paper Classics Series, bound in limp lambskin, 6.5 in.x4in. .75in. Thick, gilt top edge, endpapers by Garth Jones. pp.849

My portable typewriter is an Olivetti Lettera DL. A beautiful machine in brushed aluminium framing black leather look plastic. Light, robust, elegant.

My fountain pen is a Lamy Logo with their black ink. I’m not sure about this one. It,s taking a while to get used to and it,s too long with the cap posted.

My notebook is Leuchtturm 1971, a nice gift.

As I read I have my tablet to one side to look up the cast of characters as they appear. The Ency. Brit. bought at enormous expense is in the attic . (I pulled out the volume with a bio of Lady Mary and found much less information in it than Wikipedia)

Horace Walpole (1717-1797) was the son of the Prime Minister. The book opens with letters to Richard West, a Cambridge chum, a lunger poet that died young. They are light, airy, gossipy. He remarks of Lady Mary Wortley Montague:

Did I tell you Lady Mary Wortley is here? She laughs at my Lady Walpole, scolds my Lady Pomfret, and is laughed at by the whole town. Her dress, her avarice, and her impudence must amaze any one that never heard her name. She wears a foul mob, that does not cover her greasy black locks, that hang loose, never combed or curled; an old mazarine blue wrapper, that gapes open and discovers a canvass petticoat. Her face swelled violently on one side with the remains of a-, partly covered with a plaster, and partlv with white paint, which for cheapness she has bought so coarse, that you would not use it to wash a chimney.-In three words I will give you her picture as we drew it in the Sortes Virgilianae- Insanam vatem aepicies.
(from Florence, Sept.25, 1740. N.S. on the Grand Tour)

At this time she was in hot pursuit of Francesco Algoretti. Or had she caught up with him? She did not spare his youth, he being a mere 28 and she 51. The whitewash was a early form of cosmetic pollyfilla to disguise the cratering of smallpox which ruined her beauty. She promoted the practice of vaccination a la Turke.

Walpole has a natural easy flowing style. You hear his voice and imagine his raised eyebrows. There is no attempt at close description of the sights.

Dear West, One hates writing descriptions that are to be found in every book of travels; but we have seen something to-day that I am sure you never read of, and perhaps never heard of. Have you ever heard of a subterraneous town? a whole Roman town, with all its edifices, remaining under ground? Don't fancy the inhabitants buried it there to save it from the Goths: they were buried with it themselves; which is a caution we are not told that they ever took. You remember in Titus's time there were several cities destroyed by an eruption of Vesuvius, attended with an earthquake. Well, this was one of them, not very considerable, and then called Herculaneum. Above it has since been built Portici, about three miles from Naples, where the King has a villa. This under-ground city is perhaps one of the noblest curiosities that ever has been discovered. It was found out by chance, about a year and half ago. They began digging, they found statues; they dug, further, they found more. Since that they have made a very considerable progress, and find continually. You may walk the compass of a mile; but by the misfortune of the modern town being overhead, they are obliged to proceed with great caution, lest they destroy both one and t'other.
(from Naples, June 14, 1740 N.S.)

His complaint that the antiquities are being neglected is still heard in our time. They have so many of them. It’s a yard to pick up or more correctly, not pick up.

I am very glad that I see Rome while it yet exists: before a great number of years are elapsed, I question whether it will be worth seeing. Between the ignorance and poverty of the present Romans, every thing is neglected and falling to decay;
(from Rome, April 16,1740 N.S.)



Thursday, 14 February 2019

Dear Faustina by Rhoda Broughton (1897)


Faustina Bateson is a cuckoo in the nest of the Vane family. Through her friendship with the widowed Mrs.Vane she has insinuated herself into their affairs and even wishes to participate in the conclave of the family following the startling announcement that their mother is going to go full time into her political activism. This is a shocking contravention of Victorian mores. Her husband is only six months dead. Althea Vane the second eldest daughter is under the spell of Faustina. The other four children are decidedly not.

(Edward)’Our mother has, at all events, the merit of dotting her is and crossing her t’s.’
As he speaks he wheels round, and discovers the fact, before unsuspected by him, of the presence of Miss Bateson. The displeased surprise which that discovery engenders in his already gloomy young eye must be patent enough to its object.

Edward is the new head of the family only at the stage of sitting his Greats at Oxford. Claire is next – engaged to be married. Then Althea followed by Tom who is at Eton and Fanny the youngest who will go with Claire to her married home. The description of Mother Vane in the library before her abdication speech indicates the authors views:

The library is a good sized room—for London a large one—dark with the books that climb the walls to the ceiling, with the dusk of the eighteenth century wainscot and doors, and with the habitual sombreness of a back look-out. The books are for the most part old—obviously the accumulations of respectable generations—but the litter that covers the large writing-table is as obviously new : reports, schedules, books of reference, type-written letters, Socialist journals. At this table is seated a lady, who, as soon as her ear tells her by the cessation of any rustling or footsteps that her audience are arrived, and awaiting her, rises, and, turning slowly round, faces them. Were it not for a slight condescension in the matter of petticoats, it would not be obvious to a stranger that it is not a slender man who is preparing to address the little group, so austerely masculine is the just-gray-touched thick short hair parted on one side, the coat, the tie, the waistcoat. This widow might at a pinch, and behind a table which would conceal the degradation of the female skirt, well pass for a little widower. 

The sexual invert tending towards pervert theme is well marked in the novel. Assurances of fidelity go far beyond the girlish gush of innocence. Faustina has moved Althea into her flat in Chelsea and is on her way to a meeting. Althea is staying to type up some letters:
’ Now that you have given me the heads, told me the sense in which you wish these letters answered, I can get through them perfectly well by myself I am really growing quite expert with the typewriter. How long do you expect to be away ?'
‘ You may be quite sure as short a time as I possibly can ‘—using the tone with which in old days that contemptible survival, a man in love, was wont to part from his mistress.’

The vanguard of the “shrieking sisterhood” are depicted as androgynous :

Althea s eyes rove helplessly over the unknown crowd—both over those ladies whose gallant feathers and careful red heads show them to be mere butterfly spectators of the fray, and those others whose wildly cropped grizzled hair and super-manly coats and waistcoats point them out as the nucleus and core—the female ' Old Guard,' as it were—of the army of advance.

Faustina has had a string of acolytes previous to Althea all of whom proved unwilling to give their all to the great work. Will her latest convert revert? A precipitating event is her displacement by Cressida, an airheaded scion of the aristocracy, whom Faustina wants to go on ‘rescue’ work amongst the prostitutes of the Haymarket. Even John Drake an associate of Faustina’s is outraged by this. ‘Twill be the ruin of her. Edward, Althea’s brother is a friend of Cressida’s. If this foolish ‘gel’ goes on that mission she will be disgraced.

This is a satiric novel with the strong contrasts which the genre demands. Due to its challenge to suffragette sanctification and New Woman ideology it is regarded as reactionary by those who would at the same time see Broughton as a feminist. Genius tends to be unclassifiable. It is a finely focussed and well written book, of its time and verging on our own, betimes.

(from archive.org Dear Faustina

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Kotsko, Activate the Shield: Aye, Aye Sir.


Adam Kotsko deplores the interference of AIPAC in American politics which I heartily agree with.
like other nations
He also repudiates the anti-Semitism slur which accompanies any criticism of Israel. And then he brings in George Soros who is a famous open and proud meddler and claims that tropes, creepy ones, money bags manipulator kinds, are anti-Semitic. Well he spreads his money about in the promotion of aims that Kotsko would approve of. Activate the shield.

In Ireland the Standards in Public Office (SIPO) forced the Abortion Rights Campaign to return $24,999 to the Open Society Foundation. An order to another abortion campaigner Amnesty International to return $166,000 was not complied with because they did not agree with the law about interference in internal affairs through massive donations. Eventually they were let keep the money. Winning confers rectitude. Now what will they do. Return to prisoners of conscience and tortured dissidents - same old, same old.

Friday, 8 February 2019

Animal Faith


Shankaracarya declares the natural and spontaneous faith of animals in objective reality.

Moreover, there is no difference (of the learned) from the animals (in regard to empirical behaviour). Just as animals and others turn away from sound etc. when these appear unfavourable after their ears etc. come into contact with them, and they move towards these when they are favourable; and just by noticing a man approaching them with a raised stick, they begin to run away thinking, “This one wants to hurt me”, and they approach another carrying green grass in his hands, similarly even the wise are repelled by the presence of strong, uproarious people with evil looks and upraised swords, and are attracted by men of opposite nature. Therefore the behaviour of men with regard to the means and objects of knowledge is similar to that of animals.
(from the Preamble to Brahma-Sutra-Bhasya)

As soon as I would put out my hand with an apple in it the pony in the field would come running over. Must I put Descartes before that horse?


Wednesday, 6 February 2019

The Game and the Candle by Rhoda Broughton (1897)


Rhoda Broughton (1840 - 1920) was one of the queens of the circulating library and I first learnt of her from that chronicler of the common George Orwell in his Keep the Aspidistra Flying, a misery tale of book shop assistant Gordon Comstock. Broughton’s book is by far the better with this proviso - keep her away from scenery. An ink from Harbin which I affect Rose Cyclamen would be suitable for her outpourings.


This is a good opening that gets a grip on you as firm as the staying of the era.

The ruling passion is strong in death, and therefore it is no wonder that Henry Etheredge, who through a life of fifty-six years has always postponed other people's pleasure and convenience to his own, should on his last day but one go on holding his wife s hand long after the posture it entailed upon her had become one of irksome fatigue. 

The wife is twenty five years old, the husband fifty six and they have been married for eight years. She married him when she was seventeen and a half. He is a very wealthy man and some sort of major figure in Science and Literature, unspecified. His morbid grip which due to her bent posture over his bed is giving her severe back strain is but an emblem of his posthumous over reach.
He has something to say to her which will decide her fate after his death but first he lets her know that five years previously he had overheard a conversation in the garden during the night when he wandered out sleepless.

' I became aware that you and your companion were parting as lovers’
She does not start now—braced for the worst.
But we were parting !'
Her tone is scarcely one of apology; certainly not one of conscious guilt.
So I gathered.
'And from that day—five years and a month ago—to this, we have neither met nor written.'
There is no eagerness of asseveration in her words, no fevered hurry to convince ; only the statement of an undoubted and undoubtable fact.
‘I am aware of it.’

However that may be, there is a mutual assurance of respect:

' I have always respected you very much!'
The tribute sounds in her own ears almost an insult in its cold baldness, and his answer matches it.
'Thank you. I have always found you very civil and obliging.'

There has been no consummation in that relationship but simply to have heard the conversation makes him threaten to cut her out of his will unless she renounces a marriage to this man after his death. She cannot oblige for she still burns in her heart of hearts though she has not heard from him since that fateful night by the fountain in the circular garden.

So he dies and is buried and the will is read. She is replaced as residuary legatee by Etheredge’s older sister but she still has her settlement of £1000 a year, quite enough to install herself in a cottage in Richmond with only three servants to look after her and a year of widow’s weeds with a long black weeper and a widow’s cap. Richmond by the park she hopes will be a quite time for her to hope that her lover will seek her out. She has chosen this location, location because her friend Clarendon the deceased’s secretary's family resides there The two sisters Maybella and Flora eke out their exigous income and try to keep up with polite society. Broughton details very well the strategems of genteel poverty exercised by the ‘all right’ pair.

They are well-favoured young women, the younger one most so; and their armourplated figures, whaleboned into fashionable slimness, and carefully restrained fringes, make them fully deserve the encomium, which to them would seem the highest possible, of 'looking all right’.

Jane Etheredge knows their situation:

She knows, on their brother's authority, how narrow have been their means; and a pitying speculation as to how much of pinch and effort lies under their successfully achieved appearance of well-to-do all-rightness crosses her mind.
' It is not only rent and taxes, but everything to eat is so dear,' adds the younger sister. ‘One has to pay extravagantly for every sprig of parsley.'
It is the first time that the herb in question has presented itself to Mrs. Etheredge's mind as a serious article of commerce ; and at her look of bewilderment, as she says, ' But surely one can get through life without much parsley,' they all laugh. 

The sisters are champion moochers admiring into possession many items. Broughton is witty and gentle about them, her brisk acerbity for which she was renowned landing on others in the novel. Do you mind coincidences? There’s not many and by the end there’s resolution. A greatly neglected and under-appreciated writer. I have gone straight on to Dear Faustina (1897) a novel which satirises the suffragette movement. It must be a matter of grievous distress to liberals that conservatives write better and hold up better without the staying of bien pensant support then or now.
Rhoda Regina.

Find it at the game and the candle

(a clean epub by the way)