Inspiration

is a dish best served unexpectedly

is best when it comes from unlikely sources. Two examples from today.

1. I saw The Road last night (good, depressing post-apocalyptic film) and was googling Cormac McCarthy today, and came across an interview with him done by the Wall Street Journal. He relates an anecdote about the physicist Paul Dirac who, in response to Richard Feynman’s revision of quantum electrodynamics, declared it too ugly to be true, despite its logicalness; turns out Dirac was wrong. Also turns out that this is a perfect example to help me illustrate a point I made in a paper I wrote a few years ago about Hilary Putnam, basically agreeing that a certain amount of imaginative identification with a discourse and its evaluative stances was essential to doing science (i.e. being able to appreciate the beauty of a theorem or hypothesis), but disagreeing that this constituted objectivity in any sense beyond what intersubjectivity, and that a standard such as “beautiful” did not stand on its own, and was to some degree derivative of other criteria.

2. I stumbled across an old notebook in which I had written some quotations from a book by C.S. Lewis (probably The Abolition of Man) which will be perfect for an essay I’m currently writing on the late British psychoanalyst D.W. Winnicott and creativity. Not so much an argument, as a turn of phrase—something of which Lewis was a master.

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