Bridges Across Incomprehension and Chaos

There is, I suppose, a world of objects which have a certain form, like this coffee mug. I turn it, and it has no handle. I tilt it, and it has no cavity. But there is something real here which is always a mug with a handle. I suppose. But politics, justice, patriotism - they aren't even like coffee mugs. There's nothing real there separate from our perception of them. So if you try to change them as though there were something there to change, you'll get frustrated, and frustration will finally make you violent. If you know this and proceed with humility, you may perhaps alter people's perception so that they behave a little differently at this axis of behaviour where we locate politics and justice; but if you don't know this, then you're acting on a mistake. Prejudice is the expression of this mistake.

Words [are] innocent, neutral, precise, standing for this, describing that, meaning the other, so if you look after them you can build bridges across incomprehension and chaos. [...] I don't think that writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones in the right order, you can nudge the world a little or make a poem which children will speak for you when you're dead.

Tom Stoppard, The Real Thing

One of these days, I will put the random pieces of prose and verse that I have scribbled throughout the years on this page. But, since I am a busy father and professional, it does not promise to happen for a while, so don't hold your breath. In the meantime, you can enjoy the following small collections of philosophical essays that I wrote around 1997-1998 during my study at the University of New South Wales: