Saturday, 30 March 2019

'Somewhere a dog barked' trope on

‘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
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

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.
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.