15 June 2006

She walks in beauty

Since this is a time of relative scholastic/philosophic paucity, my posts will be more interspersed with personal (i.e., my own life) reflections. So I'm reminded of a Stoppard's Arcadia.

If knowledge isn´t self-knowledge it isn´t doing much, mate. Is the universe expanding? Is it contracting? Is it standing on one leg and singing `When Father Painted the Parlour´? Leave me out. I can expand my universe without you. `She walks in beauty, like the night of cloudless climes and starry skies, and all that´s best of dark and bright meet in her aspect and her eyes.´ There you are, he wrote it after coming home from a party.

Now... there's an history of notable drinker-thinkers; I'm thinking not just of Byron supra, Joyce, Fitzgerald and Ben Jonson; but also of Plato, Hume and Diderot. There's a study that connotes that drinking 17 beers a day is in one aspect healthy. Lately I've been drinking closer to 17 than really is necessary, good medicine notwithstanding. But what all my point is is that the life of the mind is a bookish, solitude one--or is it? I guess I don't think that Byron, upon drinking 15 beers, blowing an eightball of coke and staying out until noon the next day, returned to his chambers to write beautiful poetry. Maybe he did, but there seems to be grounds to doubt it. I believe the answer to this question is for one to find patronage: It's the best of both worlds in that you get to write all day and party all night. Does anyone want to start beleaguered junior philosophers' fund?