Hole Ousia


Hole Ousia is beyond measurement.

Lennox and Gotthelf, in “Philosophical Issues in Aristotle’s Biology”:

Hole Ousia described - from 'Philosophical issues in Aristotle's biology'

Hans-Georg Gadamer, in “The Enigma of Health” :Gadamer on Hole Ousia

In a poetic form by Peter J. Gordon:

Hole Ousia collage


The Blue Afternoon

I have just read this novel by William Boyd. It reminds me of “In another light” by Andrew Greig.

p1070555 p1070556 p1070557 p1070558 p1070559 p1070560 p1070562 p1070563 p1070564 p1070565 p1070567 p1070568 p1070570 p1070571 p1070572 p1070576p1070577

These are quotes selected by Peter 
from "The Blue Afternoon" by William Boyd

I am a severed head


I recently read an article about Iris Murdoch in the London Review of Books by Colin Burrow. I found it most thoughtful.


Today, many in the profession of medicine associate Iris Murdoch not for her writings but for her development of dementia. I have to be honest this troubles me. I am not alone to be troubled. This is what the Edinburgh author Candia McWilliams said in her memoir, ‘What to look for in Winter’:


When reading the London Book review of Iris Murdoch my thoughts returned to a work by Raymond Tallis, ‘The Kingdom of Infinite Space: A Fantastical voyage around your Head”. In this book Tallis describes a paradox: that consciousness manages to be both embodied and disembodied. This is a book that fills the head with wonder and demonstrates silliness in Cartesian divides.

Dr Felix Post was a psychiatrist who was interested in an area of study known as ‘Pathography’. This is the search for psychiatric disorders in individuals after their death.


I share the same career as Dr Post once practised. A career where Dr Post was a pioneer. However I do not share the determinism that he had to define people, or re-define people, after their death through a singular vantage.

I have worried enough about this approach –pathography– to make a short film about it:


All this is necessary backdrop to Colin Burrow’s balanced article on Iris Murdoch. What follows are some of the passages that struck me [dare I say it] as both an embodied and disembodied head:

001-parodiability-iris-murdoch 003-parodiability-iris-murdoch 004-parodiability-iris-murdoch 005-parodiability-iris-murdoch 006-parodiability-iris-murdoch 007-parodiability-iris-murdoch 007b-parodiability-iris-murdoch 008-parodiability-iris-murdoch 009-parodiability-iris-murdoch 010-parodiability-iris-murdoch
a-severed-head-iris-murdoch 011-parodiability-iris-murdoch 012-parodiability-iris-murdoch 013-parodiability-iris-murdoch 014-parodiability-iris-murdoch 021-parodiability-iris-murdoch the-sea-the-sea-iris-murdoch 015-parodiability-iris-murdoch 016-parodiability-iris-murdoch 017-parodiability-iris-murdoch 018-parodiability-iris-murdoch 019-parodiability-iris-murdoch 022-parodiability-iris-murdoch 025-parodiability-iris-murdoch

Footnote: There is absolutely no doubt that Iris Murdoch developed
a severe dementia syndrome and that this was based upon biological 
changes in her ageing brain.

The questions that this Hole Ousia post asks are several:

(1) Would you want to be remembered for an illness first, 
or first as the brilliant person that you were?

(2) Can we define ourselves entirely through brain functions alone?

(3) What are your views on "Pathography"?

Gauch farm, Cabrach

This is a film about a remote farm in Cabrach, Scotland.

This farm is called “Gauch” (phonetic pronunciation is ‘jaach’)

For centuries this was the homestead of generations of “Peter Gordons”. God Forbid! A family though that is unrelated to me.

I did not give myself the name “Peter Gordon” but it is the only name that remotely captures me. All other classifications fail. They are not even in the distant sky.

One of the sons of Gauch was Robert Gordon of Straloch who was pioneer map-maker of Scotland (17c)

Gauch farm has been empty for decades. The farmhouse was split in two to make way for Aldunie’s farm machinery.

Cut in-half the farmhouse has become a special place for me, where I find freedom from what its current form curiously symbolises: divides.

Such divide has been described as “Caledonian antisyzygy” but this is a guy muckle term that I find sticks in my throat.

How many splits can you think of?

Here are a few that Hole Ousia considers:

  • objective and subjective
  • mind and body
  • science and arts

This film is carried by the track “Distant Sky” recently released by Nick Cave.

The most lovely aspect of Gauch is that it now lets in sunshine and indeed the distant sky.

All footage is my own.