Today, I went to Jerusalem – well, to the Jerusalem Chamber in Westminster Abbey (hey!, if the muddle is good enough for Henry 4th, it’ll do for me!) I went to hear a Highly Respected Professor, whom I am glad to call a friend, give a paper on Levinas, Murdoch and the Sublime. And I understood about 75%, which is pretty good.
It was a fascinating time, and it was lovely to be with people who were interested in these ideas and listen to the paper, the conversation, and grasp odd moments of “oh, I get that!”
Outside, there was a demonstration going on, to do with a big conference on Syria. It was across the road and nothing to do with the building we were in, but the noise of the chants was very clear – and appeared to have no impact on our discussion.
It’s not an uncommon experience in London; it is a big, noisy city with all sorts of things going on next to each other which, for the sake of survival, have to be edited out of awareness.
I don’t know what I think about it yet – the effects of Lake Coughalot are still making themselves felt in the slowness of my thinking. But the contrast, the up-againstness of the two events seems to me to matter. We don’t live in isolation. The ideas we were considering matter – but they only matter insofar as they have an impact on the issues of war, peace, freedom to live together, creativity in discovering that life….
I don’t know! But as well as the ideas themselves that I began to glimpse today, there is this; if these ideas don’t matter when the guns are firing, then do they matter at all? And if they do matter in the face of the guns – what do I do about it?