Saturday, August 12, 2006


Conversations overheard:

1: a child and her mother at a pelican crossing:

Mother: Come on, the traffic has stopped. We can cross the road now.

Child: No we can’t, mummy. The green man isn’t flashing yet. You have to wait for the green man. He tells you that it’s safe to cross the road.

2: two friends over coffee

Man: I think my problem is that I go for women who need a father-figure.

Woman: That’s my problem as well, except that I am that woman!

Man: I wonder why?

Woman: Perhaps you need to be needed. You need someone to depend on you because that gives you power.

Man: Which I suppose makes me a sadist. After all, if my power over a woman is derived from her vulnerability and my ability to protect her, it is in my own interests to perpetuate her vulnerability. In fact, I suppose I might even create situations which put her at risk, in order that I can save her.

Woman: I think we’ve just diagnosed you as being a very bad man indeed.

Man: And you’re all the more of a fool for falling for it!

David Hume (from A Treatise on Human Nature):

"We have no other notion of cause and effect, but that of certain objects, which have been always conjoin'd [sic] together, and which in all past instances have been found inseparable. We cannot penetrate into the reason of the conjunction. We only observe the thing itself, and always find that from the constant conjunction the objects acquire an union in the imagination."

Of all these analyses of cause-and-effect, I think I would go for the child’s. She has discerned (at an unusually early age: she was no more than five) the implications of signification, a subject which the others discount at their peril.


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