Q: Does the clap of a man in the desert make a sound if there is no-one there to hear it?
Allowing a person like me to embark on a Philosophy Degree at the age of 18 is like buying a 12-stepper Threshers vouchers for Christmas.
Yet someone in authority and a pair of innocent parents blessed the endeavour and it has been a painful process for those in my sphere ever since.
(Nevertheless, less painful than if I had not switched to Literate Twaddle English Literature because it is more disturbing listening to someone mess with the Big Questions than massacre the themes of Pride and Prejudice.)
Inevitably, though, unexplored subjects now float around, like so many discarded Facebook threads, and currently it is the one above that I am bending into a pretzel in order to consider whether writing a blog is about self-expression or a shot at reflected vanity.
I can’t remember how to articulate the issues raised by this well-worn philosophical question. I feel as depressed as an old person who realises the balance of brain cells is tipping against their favour towards round-the-clock-ginger-cake-eating.
But, basically, it is a metaphysical one about perception.
Is it our interpretation of events that bring them into reality? Would they exist without us? Would they even matter?
In my internet-free weeks the nonsense in the head of blogless me began to turn inwards and feed upon itself- a cerebral ingrowing toe-nail.
Yet I am aware that once expressed I have no control over how the nonsense will be understood/misunderstood anyway. So why should the communicating of it be so vital?
Is the value of the exercise in the writing itself or in the act of its communication?
To put it another way, would I rather write a masterpiece that lives in the bottom drawer or talk bollocks freely to a village idiot?
How would I feel if I read my masterpiece to the village idiot and afterwards he mooned me?
More pertinently, what if I read my masterpiece to a literary agent and afterwards he mooned me? Would it still be a masterpiece?
Well, here is one answer- seeing as I have taken the trouble to investigate.
I give a sentence more consideration if I think it might be read because a considered thought stands a better chance of making a meaningful connection, even on a trivial level: it is the faster swimming sperm hoping for a willing egg.
I would still have the urge to clap even if no-one was there.
But the thought that my clap might be heard is what moves me to bring my hands together.
And the thought that it might be recognised by another person is why I keep on clapping.
Thank you for passing on your camel.
Thank the University of Edinburgh for letting me give up Philosophy.