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Pleasures of the solitary life

May 12, 2020

I spent today at home wearing no trousers.

It was very pleasant just pottering around in my t-shirt and underpants. If society doesn’t return to normal soon, I may make this my regular attire.

I’m aware that this is only one step from the state of mind of the chap in my mum’s retirement home who decided (if anything so advanced can be said to be happening in his state of pleasant confusion) that even underpants were not necessary.

(That’s not him above: it’s Donald Swann, author of the musical number I link to below.)

At the moment though I’m putting off nudism until I can afford to live somewhere which isn’t so overlooked and to have some household staff who will protect me from sudden visitations by disapproving persons.


My  medieval society has cancelled its May Revel which is sad. We were going to take over a house in Suffolk  for a weekend of medieval arts, sciences and martial exercise. I now have to organise the election of a new monarch (or the re-election of the old one: we get a choice) without the ritual of hustings with the two candidates.

And one of the things that got cancelled with the Revel was the University Debate in which we sit around and pontificate about topics that appeal to me: because I’m the Rector of the University and that’s one of my major pleasures. I say I’m the Rector but actually my persona in the Society is and he’s a Cardinal Archbishop. So take what is written below as written by him.

Just yesterday I came up with what I think would have been an excellent topic for debate:

Is love always wise?

In common parlance, we would say no. We have sayings about the folly of lovers, about loving ‘not wisely but too well’.

But in Christianity (and not only there) love is recommended absolutely. Without it we cannot know God.

But then it says that God’s wisdom is folly in the eyes of the world. (1 Corinthians 3:19 EDITED TO ADD: No, drat it! Lindy is right (again) and I should have said 1 Corinthinans 1:25 ” For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” Something like that anyway…. I may have another quotation floating in my brain.).

But on the gripping hand if we conceive as divine love as too different from human love we move into the temptations of the mystics who seek internal ecstasies without manifesting love towards the actual people who surround them. The love the Apostle John speaks of in his letter is the actual practical, mundane, earthly and earthy love that we feel for our brothers and sisters, not an abstract or purely spiritual thing.

At least that’s what I would have led with if I had been allowed to get my theological ya-yahs out this year.

As for myself in my proper persona: I have always accentuated wisdom and now look at me: a man on his own wearing no trousers.

“I was a wise man: and now I am sorry. The wisdom of winter is madness in May.” 

  1. Chorlton Voice permalink

    I think you have 1 Corinthians the wrong way round. The wisdom of the world is folly in God’s sight, not God’s wisom is folly to the world. And the wisdom of the world seems to be that “it’s the economy, stupid”.
    “Love one another” seems to me the clearest and most succinct instruction in the Bible after the 10 commandments; seems pretty sensible to me if a little hard to manage. Easier when one doesn’t see many people and can’t be exercised by others’ lack of care – easy to be led into crtical thoughts and away from love as Screwtape knew very well.

  2. You’re right of course (at least the first part) and I have corrected the main post accordingly.

    But I fear that though “Love one another” is simple, simple is always hard to do right. All too easily it becomes a matter of guilt that one doesn’t love another unreservedly and you get nonsense like Auden’s line “We must love one another or die.” Folly in two ways since love cannot exist upon compulsion and it’s perfectly possible to lover one another and die anyway.

    • Chorlton Voice permalink

      Maybe he means die to oneself. Metaphor of some kind? Lose our route to Eterrnal Life? I’ve just done three back to back Microsoft team meetings with teenaged boys trying to learn English and my brain isn’t operating as well as it might…

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