Lyndon Hood - ideas man, Lower Hutt

Thursday, August 19, 2004

It seems my flat is a complex organisation. I've received an envelope addressed to "Lyndon Hood, Department of Communications and Journalism".

I'm not sure who's responsible for attributing a hierarchical business model to my Lower Hutt abode. If it wasn't a technical or administrative error at the University of Otago (who sent the letter) it may have been something my parents did when, no doubt tiring of being sent my copy of the Otago Graduate magazine, told my alma mater what my actual address is.

At any rate, the actual letter was sent to me in my capacity as an Alumnus and Graduate in Philosophy*, rather than as Senior Vice-President in Charge of Communications and Journalism. The Department is conducting a planning review, and the letter asked among other things the interesting question of whether my course has any use to me.

Since one of my first PHIL papers was beginner's Epistemology (the study of knowledge per se) it's tempting to just assert that I don't know.

Some of you may have detected the philosophical influence in some of my previous posts. Though I can't say that "writing more elitist weblogs" was a top priority during my undergraduate years.

A Philosophy major constitutes evidence that I'm in favour of rational thought, but it's difficult for me to say how much of my logical and analytical habits are due to training and how much is down to being a smart bastard to begin with. If, for example, I find that it gobsmacking that some New Zealand juries don't seem to understand what constitutes murder despite having it clearly explained to them, is it because I'm trained in observing fine conceptual distinctions, or is it because I'm a natural pedant?

I don't think I'm heading for a sensible answer here. Which allows me to cite arch-cynic Ambrose Bierce. You may recall that quoting The Devil's Dictionary was what lecturers and similar used to do before The Far Side was invented. Actually, I was thinking yesterday of including Bierce on my any-three-people-ever dinner party list. But then I though he probably wouldn't be very good company. Anyway:

Truth, n. An ingenious compound of desirability and appearance. Discovery of truth is the sole purpose of philosophy, which is the most ancient occupation of the human mind and has a fair prospect of existing with increasing activity to the end of time.

*In my BA I majored in Philosophy and Theatre Studies, later doing a DipGrad at Design Studies. Jeremy Elwood did the same degree majors as me. He used to say that he was unemployed but at least he knew why.