Dear rambling blog entry,

This weekend, I have been mostly, reading

Engleby, by Sebastian Faulks,

accordingly my head feels a little tight, probably because with increased age and decrepitude, my eyes are getting a little wonky. I'm certainly overdue to get my eyes tested, and I'm quietly confident that it will entail a change of prescription. Bifocal bottle bottoms - I think that is the technical term.
Anyway, it is not exactly kitchen sink drama, it does read rather like Evelyn Waugh called upon to portray the working classes, with decidedly limited success. Not entirely sure I could do much better, but I remember enough of the seventies to list huge numbers of annoying discrepancies in the book. However if you do just discount the idea that it is intended to accurately portray an era you lived through, it is an entertaining read. It is not obvious where it is going, it did rather look like it would do a John Le Carre Perfect Spy sort of thing, but that fizzled out. The protaginist is not exactly likeable, nor particularly unlikeable. I'll probably write a real review when I get the book finished. Not like the proper reviewers who can write a review without even reading the book.

While I've been busy with the obvious stuff the past few weekends, I have been remiss in failing to blog in sufficient volume.

Starting to get geared up for Christmas, work has been getting pretty busy, also doing some odds and ends of things too.

I was at a conference last week, and it got me thinking how much academics seem to fall into a particular type. They seem to see the world in terms of theories and references. A name forms a short-hand for a set of theories. Of course reality exists out there, but for the academic it is mediated through the lens of theory. It would be wrong to be too critical of the academic, because we all mediate our view of reality through our own particular lens. I realise in myself that I seek to construct a narrative explanation for things. I will then attempt to arrange the evidence to conform to that narrative. However I feel myself seeking to quietly omit the evidence that does not conform to the narrative, reality is forced into a mean little strait-jacket to conform to my optimistic, or pessimistic frame of mind.

The narrative then becomes a strait-jacket, failing to inform understanding, merely marshalling like facts together.

Perhaps there is some way to force a greater neutrality, an ambivalance, allowing the evidence to speak for itself.

We tend to create false dichotomies. Things are this, or they are not. Reality forced down into binary choices.

I am rather drawn to the wisdom of children, just playing about with things.