Delight Springs

Monday, August 12, 2013

Really should get back to school

It's Younger Daughter's High School orientation day. The Dad shuttle's back on line, leaving the station momentarily.  Endless summer's over.

My old bedside bell, out of service these past 3+ months while I rose to the bidding of daily personal impulse and not "the mechanical nudgings of some servitor," still works well. Too well in fact, today. But I'll get used to it again. Coffee timer helps.

I've been revisiting William James's wonderful letters. They're what first hooked me on his pragmatism, years ago. Their author's delightful epistolary persona is still my model of civilized interpersonal communication. It's why I can't allow myself to write a sloppy or unpunctuated email, and why I bend over backward to defend a philosophical view through whose gaps too much daylight shines. The temperament of the man dwarfs the deficiencies of his doctrine. One day maybe I'll publish a collection of the letters I'd like to have exchanged with WJ in a possible universe, were "specious" time not such a spurious impediment to the meeting of minds.

 James was anticipating retirement in 1907. What a more civilized academic calendar it was at Harvard then, when the Fall term still began only in late September. (Ah, now I get that Rod Stewart "Maggie May" line!) James told a correspondent,
I confess that the thought is sweet to me of being able to hear the College bell ring without any tendency to "move" in consequence, and of seeing the last Thursday in September go by, and remaining in the country careless of what becomes of its youth. It's the harness and the hours that are so galling! I expect to shed truths in dazzling profusion on the world for many years.
Alas, he had only about three years left to shed his truths. He really knew, and often admitted, that what needs shedding more is the philosopher's compulsive urge to spout Truth, pin Reality, and "settle the universe's hash" forever. Nothing ever concludes, until (unless?) everything does.

But new school years? There's the bell. I'm coming. We won't be late.

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