Silent as light

The Antiquary: “is preoccupied on every level by the relation between past and present.”

Mary Midgley: “These doctrines are often bizarrely over-confident and over-simple”

George Orwell in Why I Write: “… one can write nothing readable unless one constantly struggles to efface one’s own personality”

Raymond Tallis in Summers of Discontent “There are several things to be noted about emotions. The first is they fill the world with meaning”

Kenneth Calman in Makars and Mediciners:  “It is perhaps here that the role of literature and the arts generally can have an advantage, by the author exposing poor health choices and behaviour patterns, in ways which are more powerful and effective than that of the medical teacher or professor. The writer’s imagination and expression can change things. The word can be powerful.”

Nathan Filer in The Shock of the Fall: “I think that’s what I am doing now. I am writing myself into my own story and I am telling it from within”

Andrew Greig: “He knows fankle from bourach.”

Raymond Tallis in Defence of Wonder “When we are in love we see the ordinary things about another person for what they are: not in the slightest bit ordinary.”

Gilbert K. Chesterton: “The world will never starve for want of wonders; but only for want of wonder

“She makes sunlight dim” (Sian)

Thomas Tranströmer to his lifelong friend Robert Bly: “In this climate it`s all or nothing. Anybody not 100% for is “self-evidently” 100% against. Have I given you a little picture of the climate? All you can do is Follow your own crooked conscience, wait for the moment of truth and hope you won’t need to be ashamed one day of how you lived through these years.”

Raymond Tallis: [Philosophy is a return] into that nearest, which we invariably rush past, which surprises us anew each time we get sight of it”

Tomas Tranströmer: “Balansnummer is ‘balancing act.’ The poem is partly a protest-poem against the prevailing mood in Swedish intellectual life. What I say is that finding the truth, being honest etc. is a difficult individualistic act of balance, you have to put off the rhetoric, all slogans and moustaches and prejudices and . . .”

Stephen Bann, MIDWAY: Letters from Ian Hamilton Finlay: “I recall saying once to Finlay that the special feature of the letter as a literary genre was that one never went back on the first draft to produce a fair copy.”

Nathan Filer in The shock of the Fall: “I have approximately 7.4 x 1027 atoms in my body”

Ian Hamilton Finlay: “Sometimes my wee best seems just not good enough”

Richard Holloway in Leaving Alexandria: “The toughest lesson life teaches is the difference between who you wanted to be and who you actually are. And it can take a whole life to teach it”

Robert Louis Stevenson: “Letter to a young gentleman who proposes to embrace the career of Art”

A. S. Byatt in Possession: “He put little slips of paper in the entries that made up his fragile narrative or non-narrative”

Adam Nicolson in Sea Room: “I’m wedded to this plunging-off form of thought, and to the acceptance of muddle which it implies”

Mukul Kesavan in Looking Through Glass: “Like all chroniclers of the relatively recent past, history ran out against the present”

Julian Barnes in The Noise of Time: “He bought a large scrapbook and pasted ‘Muddle Instead of Music’ onto the first page.”

Ronald Ross: “Science is the differential calculus of the mind, Art is the integral calculus; they may be beautiful apart, but are great only when combined.”

Walter Scott in The Antiquary (in Oldbuck’s room) “Amid this medley, it was no easier to find one’s way”

Margaret McCartney in The Patient Paradox: “The conclusion that variability is bad is distant from the much simpler observation that patients are all different.”

Robert Crawford in Young Eliot: “Leafiness suited him”

Alexander McCall Smith in Chance Developments: “His one and only book, ‘The Future Lies in the Past’, eventually published”

Patrick Deeley in The Hurley Maker’s Son: “I sensed the sun, beaming from a place that was higher than the world”

Penelope Fitzgerald in The Bookshop: “The sky brightened from one horizon to the other”

Hanya Yanagihara in A Little Life: “You made art because it was the only thing you’d ever been good at, the only thing, really, you thought about between shorter bursts of thinking about the things everyone thought about.”

John Berger in Here is where we meet: “To find any sense in life it was pointless to search in the places where people were instructed to look.”

Edmund De Waal in The White Road: “He writes a letter about how things are made, but it is actually about compassion.”

Alice Hoffman in Faithful: “No one could count all the stars. There are far too many.”

Madeleine Thien in Do Not Say We Have Nothing: “So familiar to me, like an entire language, a world, I had forgotten”

John Steinbeck in Of Mice and Men: “Both men glanced up, for the rectangle of sunshine in the doorway was cut off”

Unfinished, Beautiful. Everything.

Recently I visited Carstairs mausoleum. It was erected by Dr William Fullerton in 1784 and placed at the end of a vista from the house. At one time the route to the Mausoleum was lined by mighty Beech trees but these have not survived the centuries and now the mausoleum is isolated and lost in a large field.

In 1782, two of Dr Fullerton’s children died, Betty and Thomas, then two years later his beloved wife Isabel died.

Below the entrance portico an inscribed tablet has fallen:
“SIBI ET SUIS EXTRUI CURAVIT CRUILIELMUS FULLERTON DE CARESTAIRS AD 1784.”

“In AD 1784 William Fullerton of Carstairs arranged for this to be erected for his and his own”

Dr Fullerton lived on for a further twenty years. After he died his son-in-law demolished the family mansion and rebuilt the rather monstrous Gothic pile that survives to this day.

Music credits:
Richard Hawley - "I remember you" and "Half the world" from the 
album Mid-Air

The borrowed words:
come from "Grief is the thing with feathers" by Max Porter and 
"The Black Mirror" by Raymond Tallis

Predicaments and consolations

This film follows from a recent visit to Castlehill Colliery, Fife.

This film is for John Sneddon, one of several men who died at this mine.

Music credits:
'The 14th' and 'Breakdown' by Steven Lindsay from the album 
"Exit Music"

The borrowed words:
are from John Berger and 'here is where we meet'

‘The sky is making a new proposition to the earth’

This was a kind of experimental film where I combined an old audio track (narrator and choir) with some of John Berger’s words from “Here is where we meet”. I was perhaps trying to follow John Berger’s statement that he “risks to write nonsense these days”

The audio track is from this film by me: Oor auldest relative (made 2 years ago)

The words are by John Berger from “Here is where we meet” (just recently read by Peter)

This was filmed at Stirling castle in the old cemetery and features the Martyrs monuments.

So what might this film be about?
Well I have no religious faith so it is not about that. 
Perhaps it is about learning over time? 
Perhaps it is about the meeting of Philosophy with Science? 
Perhaps it is about wounds and how we react to them? 
Perhaps it is about how poetry can convey briefly what other 
disciplines of thought may struggle with? 
Or perhaps it is about all of these and more? 
Though, rest assured this film does not offer an overall Philosophy!