8 June 2013

Nothing much new! First thing 20 minute workout (100 sup pull-ups, 100 steps, sup free dance), nice congee, fabulous Egg. Lunch was Tomato Chicken Surprise on rice followed by a Snickers and a whole box of Hershey’s Special Dark Balls trying to gain weight (succeeding).

I love chocolate!

As always trying to understand Kant in-depth.

Will probably be able to go to Lamma Island tomorrow and, with a mate, visit my flat to (1) get PF Strawson’s book The Bounds of Sense which is used in my MIT Open Courseware class in Kant’s Critique, (2) test my limits: can I walk from the ferry to my flat? Is it realistic to look forward to discharge later this month?

And, how has my stay changed me? Will I be willing, able, to Mosey around as I did before La Debacle? Depression would be a killer so I prefer hypothymia (a sort of positive mania in which the “manic” ideation is mostly under control and doesn’t harm loved ones…I hope that describes me).

My impression of the Strawson commentary on Kant (The Bounds of Sense), which I started to read some time ago but which has been languishing on my shelf is that like many “analytic” and “ordinary language” philosophers, Strawson’s criterion is the solution to a Soduku puzzle and not Truth, which in Adorno’s commentary is (1) continually in play and (2) connected with human flourishing.

To Adorno, a tautology (say ~p v p) is not a Truth, it’s just (zzz) true. He never lost hope that, pace the final Wittgenstein of the Tractatus, philosophy might not connect with human flourishing, and that Truth isn’t static.

I can agree with Adorno. It was a fashion statement when I was an undergraduate, to mock degrees in philosophy. But my degree (more properly my studies) have been of surprising help in dealing with a fatal disease…to take a simple example, I don’t interpret “survival rates of three months to five plus years” as entailing that I cannot be a statistical outlier. My analysis of the “Turner Classic Movie” reaction to a diagnosis (get drunk because you only have six months to live) was among other things a philosophical analysis, based on the fact that doctors, as scientists, deal in contingencies.

Whereas the mathematician, especially the Hilbertian formalist, fears death as did John von Neumann, the end of the ability to play formalistically (Sodoku-like) with symbols.

The expression of delight on Andrew Wiles’ face when in the BBC documentary about Wiles’ proof of Fermat’s claim that for n>2, there are no solutions to x**n+y**n=z**n means he did more than just win a game, he had discovered something about our world. Likewise when I patched Fortran and it ground through the cards containing a “factorial” calculation, printing the correct result, was a high point because my work produced a much needed tool, that way back when I was a long-haired kid would enable faculty to program our computer in other than assembler.

Treasure these moments (math or computer problem solved, chocolate eaten, grandchildren born) because Joy is never guaranteed, unlike say comfort or release from pain.

The message of Adorno’s last aphorism from Minima Moralia: this world is great but not THAT great and leaving it is painful inverse to the not-greatness. We leave its pain and limitation, “probability”. There’s no point in regrets which won’t be felt, in all probability, after death. Je ne regret rein.

The point is to appreciate the taste of chocolate now not worry about its loss. The afterlife, after all, might consist of swimming in chocolate although I rather doubt it.

He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy

He who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sunrise

– William Blake


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