“One must not sleep…”

In his book, [amazon_link id=”0810113619″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Discovering Existence with Husserl[/amazon_link], Emmanuel Levinas writes “one must not sleep, one must philosophise.” I’ve long been a little sceptical of this. Many times I have thought, whilst being held hostage by some philosopher or other until late in the night, that quite the reverse is true: in other words, at times one must not philosophise, but instead one must sleep.

Nevertheless, I’m heading down to London tomorrow for an insomniac night of philosophy called My Night with Philosophers, at the Institut français in South Kensington. The event is free, plenty of coffee is promised, and there are some truly excellent speakers laid on. But because I’m not quite as hard-core as Levinas, and I think that on balance both philosophy and sleep are good things, I’ve bought an open ticket home, just in case I flag and want to hop on the last train. However, from where I am sitting just at the moment, it all looks so damnably interesting that I’m tempted to stay the whole course. Read more

Propaganda, Home and Away

This weekend is the Diamond Jubilee weekend here in the UK. What this means is that our head of state, Queen Elizabeth II, has now sat on her throne (we still have thrones in this quaint little nation of ours) for sixty years. And so extra holidays have been proclaimed, people are hanging out flags, and the Queen herself is planning to begin her celebrations of this extended weekend by going to the Epsom Derby—one presumes to take a flutter on the horses.

There are various other kinds of celebrations extending all the way to Tuesday: street parties, beacons being lit across the country, flotillas, concerts… And there is no denying that many people seem very, very happy about the whole affair. Just down the road from us, somebody has gone to the trouble of painting a union jack to cover the entirety of the wall in front of their house. That’s how happy some people are.

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