31 May 2013: Sturm Und Drang at Brekky Time

Screen Shot 2013-05-31 at 11.54.28 AM

I say, Major Sock It To Mee, this man is wasting away and he needs a bloody Egg. I see bloody chickens in your garden and from chickens we get eggs, right? Surely one can be spared.

“The stait of man dois change and vary,
Now sound, now seik, now blith, now sary,
Now dansand mery, now like to dee:
Timor mortis conturbat me.

“The state of man does change and vary,
Now sound, now sick, now blithe, now sorry,
Now dancing merry, now like to die:
The fear of death doth terrify me!

– William Dunbar, Lament for the Makarys

First-thing workout was twenty minutes: 63 step aerobics (50 leading with strong right leg: only managed 13 with weakened left leg), 50 supine pull-ups, supine dance. No pain or need for painkiller after workout (but this changed later, see below).

Breakfast was screwy and a bit of the old Westerner-drives-Orientals-crazy-and-they-him as seen in the Bridge over the River Kwai. This because I have to be checked out and checked back in when I go to Queen Mary, and this caused the dietary software to reset me back to prison food: congee only and no egg. I pitched a fit as if I were a Pommie officer in a Japanese prison camp saying that I was only 61 KG (135 pounds) in weight where recommended weight is 175 pounds and that I needed that bloody egg.

It’s true: I’ve dropped weight shockingly.

So they give me the egg on my mate’s tray, and he’s even skinnier in the way of Guangdong Chinese: so I said no no bloody hell no. Finally, after much more of the same the kitchen produced a cooling hard-boiled egg; but my ritual, of taking the shell off, pouring Maggi sauce on the egg to salt (soy) and season was marred by my muttering about cold bloody eggs and ruination to my serenity when I am mumble mutter engaged in a life and death struggle with cancer and must gain weight.

I just got to see the dietician and now I get edible fruit (apple sauce) and a melon slice in place of the deathly pale-green vegetables which I just cannot eat. I get the bloody egg and three cans of Ensure supplement. No beef or pork, it tastes like paper because it’s not wok-cooked in oil yet served shredded; fish and chicken much moister.

But this means that any time I am checked out and checked back in for an outside treat or an outpatient visit to Queen Mary Hospital, I will have to get the nurses to verify that my dietary requirements haven’t been erased on the computer. Turning into my father, I rage and storm, but for the first time in my life I know WHY I am raging, I have a GOAL, which today was that blasted egg.

Had first “breakout” painkiller since Wed chemo owing to the stress. Still in pain and fatigue after lunch, decided to wash some underwear in the loo rather than have second physio workout. Decided, also, to continue chocolate tasting in the evening in order to increase the weight gain. The Circle-K does’t have true gourmet chocolate (Lindt, etc.) but it has “Hershey’s Special Dark” and the classics (Snickers and M&Ms).

But this incident fails utterly to change the fact that I am definitely and in many ways in remission, more each day owing to a cutting edge chemo therapy, once or twice-daily workouts, a return to Catholicism as a progressive and not a neo-conservative gesture, and the goal of seeing my blasted lovely grand-daughters Tessa America and Esme Sesame at long last. I should get them prezzies (presents) now and mail them: big colorful books. They are almost of an age to understand prezzies from fond relatives from far away, like the Wuggly Ump or Grampa.

Kant Grind Continues

This morning completed third of a planned seven close-reads of the Analytic of Concepts.

“To think of an object and to cognize an object are [thus] not one and the same.”

– Critique (Guyer/Wood p254)

“We cannot think of a line without drawing it in thought.”

Confusing, for drawing a line might be based on geometric construction exercises in school, where you learned that a line is that which the straight-edge ruler without metrics indicates accurately when two points have already been drawn: an assumed starting point drawn as a straight X, an assumed end point indicated by the compass’s curved, intersecting lines.

This exercise misses something I’ve noticed in computer graphics: when you draw a line on a screen it always takes up at least one pixel-space. A straight line takes up one pixel; a diagonal more than that. Therefore, when you determine the area of a triangle you must decide whether these physical lines are part of the triangle, and include their small contribution to width or height accordingly.

And this reveals the difference between the “idea” of the line (which contains no width: w=0) and any drawn line, in which the width, to be visible, has to be non-zero. I am not yet able to give a Kantian account of this.

This is a minor part of the discovery of the “fractal” world inside computers pioneered by Mandelbrot in the 1960s: the space of computer graphics not quite Euclidean, not quite continuous. Accordingly we haven’t thought of a line, today, unless we’ve programmed its drawing in a computer and recorded its accurate width despite the fact that Euclidean lines have no width.

Of course, Kant means by “drawing” the line the ability, when trying to think of a line, to remember school exercises just as I mean the same thing…school exercises where the student learns that infinitesimals exist but cannot be drawn any more than we can find the smallest real number.

However, neither natural science nor even mathematics can stop Kant as a philosopher, only philosophy. Let Philistines chortle when Kant claims as “synthetic apriori” the proposition that our space is Euclidean: it may or may not be without affecting the truth of Kant, because whether it is is an empirical fact.

My goal, apart from Yeats’ “lonely impulse of delight”

…A lonely impulse of delight
Drove to this tumult above the clouds…

WB Keats, An Irish Airman Foresees His Death, excerpted

in close reading original philosophical classics? To continue to improve as a tutor in philosophy and law here in Hong Kong. I discovered that by reading standard texts on criminal and constitutional British law I could tutor students in it (as opposed to teaching it) while “real” lawyers told me I was more qualified than they, forced as they were as employees to focus on only that part of the law as affecting their employers, and they’d forget their basics. They become like the lawyer in Dickens’ Bleak House who never reads anything except case materials in Jarndyce:

“Mlud,” says Mr. Tangle. Mr. Tangle knows more of Jarndyce and Jarndyce than anybody. He is famous for it—supposed never to have read anything else since he left school.”

WB Yeats’ poem “A Irish Airman Foresees His Death”, in full:

I KNOW that I shall meet my fate
Somewhere among the clouds above;
Those that I fight I do not hate
Those that I guard I do not love;
My country is Kiltartan Cross,
My countrymen Kiltartan’s poor,
No likely end could bring them loss
Or leave them happier than before.
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
Nor public man, nor cheering crowds,
A lonely impulse of delight
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death.

Change Record

2 June 2013 Change record added
2 June 2013 Spelling error fixed

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