Since the RSS feed for this blog now has two followers, I’m going to try to write things here more often. Unfortunately I haven’t done much of interest recently, so you’re going to get some rambling and a link to a very long essay.1
I spent far too much time this week trying to choose a new pair of glasses. I lost mine a few weekends ago, and the prescription in my spare pair is from 2010, which isn’t ideal. I proceeded exactly as every other time I’ve had to buy new glasses. I start out by hoping that this time, finally, I can get some glasses that are truly me. Then I spend a while really paying attention to what different pairs of glasses look like on my face. Much as how when you repeat a single word it loses all meaning, so when you try on lots of pairs of glasses you start to think about how strange it is to have this hunk of glass/metal on your face. Eventually I hate all glasses and plump for the ones that I think are least bad, but am still very dissatisfied. Luckily for me, I know what the next step is; once I wear the glasses for a few days I stop thinking about them at all.
In better news, the unspecified damage I did to my ankle before Christmas finally seems to be healing. I managed two short runs this week (5km each), one on the treadmill, one on the road. I limped a bit, but it didn’t actually hurt so that’s progress of a sort.
On Wednesday I went to see Josie Long’s Something Better show, which I enjoyed very much. I’ve been a fan for a while (the Bookshambles podcast she does with Robin Ince is worth a listen), but I’d never seen her perform live before (to be fair I almost never go to watch comedy). It was a pretty small venue in Cambridge, which I think suits her comedy well. The show is mostly in reaction to Brexit, and while it doesn’t avoid being partisan, it does manage to be constructive in some ways, rather than being just an outlet of leftist rage, so I recommend it quite widely.
I found out this week that the philosopher Derek Parfit died on New Year’s Day. I’d never read any of his stuff (although Reasons and Persons has been on my wishlist forever) so I was pleased that the LRB linked to an old two part essay he wrote for them on existence of the universe: part 1, part 2
I think though that as I get older I have less and less time for this kind of grand theorising. Although these kinds of axiomatic approaches appeal to the maths nerd in me, I try to fight against it. Von Neumann was right when he said that “if people do not believe that mathematics is simple, it is only because they do not realize how complicated life is”.