Wednesday, November 16, 2011

2011 Streak Day 293 (Sunday Oct 23rd): On memory and truth

2011 Streak Day 293 (Sunday Oct 23rd): Cycle 19.8 miles, Time 1hr 25min, Weather lightly overcast to start but it lifted to become a really nice autumn day

There were alpacas. I haven’t passed the alpacas for a long time so there needs to be a picture of them grazing (though because they are quite a way away they look more like odd shaped sheep). nevertheless you can see how at home they look in the English countryside.
It was a pleasant ride with the built in concept of a leisurely sunday morning. I took a book with me and ended up drinking coffee and reading  memories of Samuel Beckett. There was one section that brought home how unreliable any one witness is to an event. (Being there doesn’t necessarily mean you know what happened).  For a short time the young Beckett was a lecturer at Trinity College Dublin, and many years after the event his students were asked their recollections of his teaching. He did not enjoy his time there and thought of himself as a failure so it is unsurprising that many of the students didn’t rate him highly but the pictures painted differed wildly. Some people described not only his lectures but him as being boring whilst others were inspired by the quality and originality of his thinking, recognising the brilliance of his mind,  even if his presentation style was reserved and inhibited.
My guess is that he did not make any compromises, or try to reach out. Those who were not very interested in the subject would not have been offered much and would have been bored. Others, for whom the subject was alive, would have found insights enough to trigger their imagination.
But I would not have recognised it was the same man from all the accounts. As I said you cannot take any witness statement at face value. We all do our best to report the truth but we all have our prejudices, a mental framework that forms what we see. 
In these blog posts I do my best to be truthful about what I see and think but I know I am no more reliable than anybody else. However all I ask you to believe from today’s ride is that there were alpacas and it was a nice day. Both of those statements are verifiable, other observations you can take or leave according to your taste.

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