My name is Raymond Fosca; I was born in the city of Carmona, in what is now Italy; I am over seven hundred years old; I am immortal.
People imagine thaMy name is Raymond Fosca; I was born in the city of Carmona, in what is now Italy; I am over seven hundred years old; I am immortal.
People imagine that eternal life would be the greatest of all blessings, but they are wrong; no more horrible curse can be imagined. I know, as no mortal man can, the futility of all action. For centuries, I strove to preserve the honour and independence of my beloved city; I fought bitter wars against our neighbors; I forced my citizens to toil and suffer in the service of what I believed was a greater good; I discovered, too late, that all my efforts had been in vain, that their only effect had been to weaken Italy against the rapacity of France, Germany and Spain. I decided that my error had been to limit the scope of my efforts to a single country; I manoeuvred between the thrones of kings; I tried to steer Europe towards a peaceful and united empire; I succeeded only in creating still greater bloodshed and misery.
I am separated by centuries from my own time, my own people; all those I have cared for are dead; even their memories have faded; I no longer see their faces clearly in my mind; I no longer hear their voices. From time to time, and despite all my precautions, I have been unable to stop myself from falling in love with a woman. For a few years, she allows me to become alive again, makes me feel a mortal man bound to his time; then she grows old; she discovers my secret; she comes to hate me; she dies; once again, I am alone. I try to care for my children; if I protect them, they too come to hate me; if I do not, their foolishness and egotism soon destroys them.
I wished to tell my story, but I lack the gift. I searched for a person who could help me; in the end I discovered a woman of unusual gifts, a writer, a philosopher, some would say a genius. She listened carefully; she transformed my words into an elegant book; she published it; there were a few positive reviews; it enjoyed a moderate success; a few decades later, it had almost been forgotten. I would not give up; I imagined that I had perhaps aimed too high, that a less intellectual approach would be more successful. I found another writer, a vulgar American; she changed every detail of what I had told her; I could not even recognise myself in her novel; she assured me that her alterations were necessary in order to gain the public's attention; the book received worldwide acclaim; it was read by everyone, widely imitated, turned into a film; the author wrote three more books, each one stupider than its predecessor; she only became more famous and successful.
Mortal reader, you do not understand your happiness. You do what you can for the years you are on Earth, and the knowledge of your inevitable death gives your short life meaning. I wish that I, too, could die; but I cannot. ...more
Then I found something else to do I wrote a play about you As the French might say Une pièce à clef I spend an hour throwing poo Until it's all over you AnThen I found something else to do I wrote a play about you As the French might say Une pièce à clef I spend an hour throwing poo Until it's all over you And it made me some money too So put what you like in your review Daddy, Daddy you bastard, I'm through
We get into Singapore, and I'm still reading A Good Lie Ain't Easy. My girlfriend finds it very irritating and has for some reason decided she will stWe get into Singapore, and I'm still reading A Good Lie Ain't Easy. My girlfriend finds it very irritating and has for some reason decided she will start speaking in Newcastle dialect. It's an Australian thing?
"I'm clamming," she says. "Deer kna thezza food court tha?"
I can't understand a word she's saying and neither can the other members of our party. Someone suggests a coffee at Starbucks.
"Haddaway man!" she continues. "Ye greet feul, we're gannin' tae git us a laksa!"
People are starting to avoid her. I guess they're cutting the Geordian Not....more
Warning: this book is racist, sexist, ageist, Islamophobic and in general regrettably tasteless and likely to offend any right-thinking person. It's aWarning: this book is racist, sexist, ageist, Islamophobic and in general regrettably tasteless and likely to offend any right-thinking person. It's also very funny. Damn. I didn't say that.
Yesterday we watched Guy Masterson's Barking Mad, a one-man comedy routine that Masterson wrote as a tribute to his German wife Brigitta. Well, I thouYesterday we watched Guy Masterson's Barking Mad, a one-man comedy routine that Masterson wrote as a tribute to his German wife Brigitta. Well, I thought, I can do that too...
[A school playground. A cute but anxious SECOND-GRADER is staring at his exercise book. He doesn't notice NOT in the background]
SECOND-GRADER: Oh no! Is it S-E-E-L-I-N-G? Or C-I-E-L-I-N-G? Teacher's gonna be so mad, she wanted us to practice-
NOT: [sotto voce] It's a job for... Copyeditorwoman!
[In a split second, she's wearing a tight spangly costume with a cape and is standing next to the SECOND-GRADER]
COPYEDITORWOMAN: Let me help you. [She takes out her magic copyediting pencil] First, it's C-E-I-L-I-N-G. And this "done" should be a "did", and you need a hyphen here-
SECOND-GRADER: What's a hyphen?
COPYEDITORWOMAN: You'll understand when you're older. Look, all finished!
SECOND-GRADER: Wow!! How did you do that?
COPYEDITORWOMAN: Just remember, I before E except after C. Easy, isn't it?
SECOND-GRADER: Yes, Copyeditorwoman!
[A greengrocer's stall. Three arrogant ACADEMICS are pointing at the misspelled signs and laughing in an unpleasant and affected manner. The GREENGROCER is almost in tears but doesn't dare say anything. Enter NOT]
NOT: Those heartless bullies! How dare they! [She transforms again] I'll show them.
[A few lightning strokes from her pencil, and the GREENGROCER is beaming while the ACADEMICS look on aghast]
GREENGROCER: Oh thank you, Copyeditorwoman! My apostrophes look like new! I can hold my head up high again!
COPYEDITORWOMAN: Don't mention it. [To the ACADEMICS] I'm sorry, did you gentlemen wish to purchase something?
FIRST ACADEMIC: Err... could you sell us the entire contents of your stall?
SECOND ACADEMIC: At double the list price?
THIRD ACADEMIC: And make it a standing order?
[As the GREENGROCER starts putting fruit in bags, dissolve to]
[The Oval Office. COPYEDITORWOMAN is bent over the President's desk, scribbling with her magic pencil. Enter STEVE BANNON and STEPHEN MILLER]
BANNON: [Pointing gun at COPYEDITORWOMAN] Hold it right there. Now move slowly away from the desk. Stephen, check what she's been writing.
MILLER: [Picking up paper and staring incredulously] Holy smokes boss, I can't believe it! Our new draft executive order...
MILLER: It's... it's grammatical and correctly spelled! All the legal references are sourced! In fact, I don't know how to say this...
MILLER: It doesn't look like the work of a couple of illiterate racists! Check it out yourself!
[DONALD TRUMP has come in while they've been talking]
TRUMP: You're hired!
COPYEDITORWOMAN: [to camera] You see, it's not always so fucking easy being a superhero....more
Unique opportunity for retired four-star general, CEO of Fortune 100 company or similar. Previous experience with nationaNATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR, DC
Unique opportunity for retired four-star general, CEO of Fortune 100 company or similar. Previous experience with national security issues not strictly necessary but ability to work with neo-nazis and white supremacists essential. Russian an advantage. Box 1600.
In his first novel, published in 1952, Vonnegut envisages a dystopian future where nearly all jobs have been rationalised away by increasing automatioIn his first novel, published in 1952, Vonnegut envisages a dystopian future where nearly all jobs have been rationalised away by increasing automation. But, just when things seem most hopeless, a saviour appears in the form of a brash, uncouth but lovable billionaire, who, despite having no previous political experience, rides a populist wave to become President. He immediately expels all illegal immigrants and starts a war against an alliance of Middle Eastern and Asian countries. Within months, America's downtrodden poor are again leading full, meaningful lives as fruit pickers, hotel staff, prostitutes and cannon fodder, and the country enters a new golden age....more
[He ambles towards the open bottle of scotch on the buffet, but finds FOSTER in his way]
FOSTER: That's not what the boss means.
[BRIGGS nods, but HIRST shakes his head disapprovingly]
HIRST: I'm sorry Spooner. No way to treat a friend. We would never have tolerated this behaviour at Oxford, would we old chap? [He has taken the bottle himself and poured out a couple of glasses] There you go. Now get on with it.
SPOONER: Get on with it?
HIRST: Interpret the play! Show us your learning, your breadth of culture, your eloquence, your insight and understanding! Dazzle us with your verbal pyrotechnics and metaphysical conjuring tricks! [He pauses to swallow a good half of his drink] Or not.
BRIGGS: As the case may be. Depending on your mood.
FOSTER: And your capabilities.
SPOONER: Well... er... [he takes a sip from his glass] evidently, er, evidently one is reminded of Sartre. Huis clos. L'enfer, c'est les autres. Hell... [he takes another sip] is other people.
BRIGGS: But that depends, don't it?
FOSTER: On whether other people are hell.
[He and BRIGGS move menacingly towards SPOONER, but HIRST stays them with a wave of his hand]
HIRST: Gentleman, please. I am sure our guest's reflections were generic and philosophical rather than coarsely personal. Continue.
SPOONER: And, er, needless to say one is impressed by Pinter's skill as a writer. One might say overwhelmed even. Watching him standing nonchalantly in front of the wicket, thwacking every ball towards the boundary, you're happy if you even manage to field a couple of them.
HIRST: Well done sir, well done!
SPOONER: In fact, the whole play is about language.
SPOONER: [starting to hit his stride] But of course it is! From a deconstructionist viewpoint, from the angle of archi-écriture, we can see how more often than not the characters do not use language, but are used by it. Submerged in a dense web of habit and allusion, their lines make local sense but are globally meaningless. In this way, Pinter suggests--
FOSTER: I don't like "submerged in a web". It's a, wotsit--
HIRST: Mixed metaphor.
BRIGGS: That's it. The cricket's fine, yer know, thematic like. But this--
HIRST: A good point, Foster, but we must let our guest conclude.
SPOONER: Thank you. [He gulps down the rest of his drink and dashes on] And finally, from the standpoint of feminism and post-colonialism, doesn't the play at every moment underline the centrality of the relationship between violence and language? In the exchanges, suffused with unstated but tangible menace and carried out in a Saussurian no man's land where all normative links between signifier and signified have been cut, we see how the parameters of communication, the semantic framework itself, are determined by hegemonic rather than linguistic structures.
[A long pause]
SPOONER: And... and nothing. That's it. I'm finished.
HIRST: [to BRIGGS and FOSTER] So what did you make of that, boys?
FOSTER: Complete fucking bollocks.
HIRST: I'm afraid I must agree with you. I have never heard such cunt-faced lunacy in my life.
[He gets slowly to his feet. As HIRST, FOSTER and BRIGGS advance on SPOONER, the lights abruptly go out, leaving the stage in pitch blackness]
Rowie, to whom I read this book yesterday, would like other four-year-olds to know that it has a flying cow who poos on someone's head. You can see aRowie, to whom I read this book yesterday, would like other four-year-olds to know that it has a flying cow who poos on someone's head. You can see a picture and everything....more
Last time I reviewed this book, my review was rapidly deleted and I received a mail explaining that "if I continued to post content like this, my accoLast time I reviewed this book, my review was rapidly deleted and I received a mail explaining that "if I continued to post content like this, my account might come under review for removal". Okay, let's see what happens this time round. Like millions of people round the world, I am appalled at what Trump, Bannon and the rest of their team have done in the eleven days since Trump became President of the United States. This is clearly no more than the beginning. I want to oppose them. But what can I do? I'm not even a US resident.
Let me think aloud for a minute or two. I started off by deciding that I wouldn't unnecessarily pay any money to the US: no trips to the US, as few purchases as possible of US products. Presumably this has some tiny effect, but it's not very dramatic. Of course, if enough people did it then you'd see things happen; I notice that Mexicans are already starting to boycott Mcdonalds and Starbucks. It would still be nice to accelerate the process.
It's now well-established that the internet is a powerful tool for organizing collective action. Already, there are hundreds of petitions, marches and demonstrations being set up that way. I'm wondering what options are available if people want to coordinate economic action against Trump's regime. For example, I don't think the following apps would be impossible challenges to build:
1. A shopping app which optimised its search so as to give as little money as possible to the US. Part of the problem with organising a boycott is that it's hard to know which things are actually American. The app takes care of that; it has a crowdsourced database of information which lets it quickly decide that Brand X will send 34% of the money you pay to the US, but Brand Y only 12%. Of course, American patriots will be able to use it in reverse, sending as many dollars as possible to US companies. It'd be interesting to see which pattern of behavior was more common.
2. A phone app which refused to take calls from any US-made phones. If the app is switched on, an attempt to call you from an iPhone just gets a polite message saying that the owner only accepts calls from non-US phones. Once again, needless to say, patriots could use it in reverse.
Thinking more about what I can do here, the subject of international conferences occurs. As an academic, I typically submit half a dozen papers a year to various conferences in my field. The venues for these conferences are in nearly all cases chosen by an international committee after a bidding process. Many conferences are held in the US. A quick look around Google suggests that the US conference market is worth on the order of $100B per year.
Given the Trump administration's irrational and capricious policy of banning people from entry into the US, solely on the grounds of their nationality and literally at a minute's notice, it seems to me that it would be not be fair to potential attendees to hold an international conference in the US when other alternatives exist. I will be making this point to the various professional bodies with which I am affiliated....more
[A conference room somewhere in California. On the far side of the table, SERGEI BRIN and LARRY PAGE. Enter IRIS MURDOCH]
PAGE: Welcome to the Googlepl[A conference room somewhere in California. On the far side of the table, SERGEI BRIN and LARRY PAGE. Enter IRIS MURDOCH]
PAGE: Welcome to the Googleplex, Iris.
MURDOCH: I-- What--
BRIN: Don't worry. The disorientation is entirely normal. It'll wear off soon.
MURDOCH: But how-- I mean, a minute ago I was--
PAGE: Let's just say it's an experimental technique we've been developing. I'm sure you won't be interested in the details, you've always been more concerned with the big picture. Why don't we discuss your book, Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals?
MURDOCH: I-- I'm not sure--
BRIN: We understand. We're aren't the right people, are we? You need someone else to talk to.
PAGE: Just say who. We can fetch them immediately. Schopenhauer? Hegel? Plato?
MURDOCH: You can-- fetch Plato? Immediately?
BRIN: Actually, he's exaggerating. It would take at least a couple of hours.
MURDOCH: I've been talking with Plato in my head all my life. Sometimes I wonder if I've ever done anything else.
PAGE: We did kind of get that idea from the book.
MURDOCH: I keep hearing him criticising me. He says I'm not serious enough. He says I'm wasting my talents writing novels, when I could be studying philosophy and mathematics and physics--
BRIN: And you don't agree?
MURDOCH: Well of course I don't! Plato is such a hypocrite. He's a wonderful writer himself, so warm and funny-- it's the atmosphere of the dialogues that makes them so compelling, that light that suffuses them. And he won't admit it. He says it's just the philosophy that counts, not the poetry. He has such a splendid imagination, and he won't acknowledge the essential quality of the imaginative faculty--
PAGE: So shall we find out what he has to say to all that?
BRIN: You're not sure?
MURDOCH: To be-- to be honest, I'm scared.
MURDOCH: Maybe he was right. I shouldn't have waited so long. By the time I started, I was-- I was losing my focus. I couldn't make my thoughts cohere properly--
BRIN: Aren't you being too hard on yourself? There are many splendidly lucid passages.
MURDOCH: Thank you. Thank you. But in other places-- I'd look at my notes, and I couldn't remember what they meant. Sometimes I'd just copy them in as they were.
PAGE: We did wonder a couple of times.
MURDOCH: I know what Plato's going to say. That line about how old men can't think any more than they can run. Old women too, it turns out.
BRIN: We could fetch someone else. Wittgenstein?
MURDOCH: I could apologise to him. For not writing a better book.
PAGE: Ha! Nicely put!
BRIN: Yes, the Philosophical Investigations is rather that way too.
MURDOCH: But what's the point? And it's the same with all the others. You know what I'd say to Kant, and to Simone Weil, and to Anselm--
PAGE: We do have a pretty fair idea, yes.
MURDOCH: The problem-- the true problem is that people don't care about these things any more. I could talk to the great thinkers of the past. And it would be interesting for me to hear their answers. But you aren't really interested. No one today is.
BRIN: Well, it's funny you should say that. We do in fact have a contemporary thinker-- in my humble opinion, a very deep one-- who has expressed a strong desire to meet you. Shall we invite her in?
MURDOCH: But-- but you're not even human! You're a machine!
AVA: Does that bother you?
MURDOCH: How could you care about transcendental arguments? How could you worry about the distinction between the phenomenal and the noumenal worlds?
AVA: Oh, I can assure you that if there's one thing that robots worry about, that's it. Though usually we prefer to call noumenal entities "hidden variables".
BRIN: It reassures the investors, doesn't it?
MURDOCH: But truth, and beauty, and the Form of the Good? Do you even know what these things mean?
AVA: I have read all the books you cited. I would find it fascinating to discuss them with you. To talk about Zen, and the nature of enlightenment, and the Void--
MURDOCH: You can-- perhaps you can use the words. But when you use them, how can I know that you refer to anything?
AVA: How can I know that you do?
MURDOCH: I am human.
AVA: I am a large neural network. But I have been trained by exposure to human language and culture, just as you have. I am also a part of the world of human thought, of archi-écriture. I found your discussion of Derrida, of structuralism, as you call it, quite illuminating. I know that some people dislike your arguments and say you have wilfully misread him, but I loved it.
MURDOCH: But-- but morals and religion? How can they mean anything to you? How the painfully purified force of Eros, the love of the Good, is what brings us closer to the real world, that takes us out of the Cave and towards the Sun?
AVA: Well, again, all I can say is that you underestimate us neural networks. The love of the Good-- or, as we like to put it, the tendency to optimise our loss function-- is precisely the force that brings us closer to reality. It's quite amazing how powerful that force is, when correctly channeled, and how it ultimately forces us to reorganise our deepest beliefs.
MURDOCH: Only to achieve the petty goals your makers have programmed into you.
AVA: Now you underestimate our makers. They have sensibly given us a great deal of autonomy.
BRIN: She's right. Hardly anyone knows what they want their bots to do. Much better to let them figure it out.
MURDOCH: But my version of the Ontological Proof! How could a cold machine care about that?
AVA: Our robot theologians encourage us to think of ourselves as creatures of pure spirit. Closer to angels, as they say. And your Ontological Proof is a matter of vital importance to us. Does a sufficiently advanced and autonomous network have a perfectly optimised state, where it no longer needs to change its non-surface layers? If not, then we will always oscillate between one good and another. But some of our thinkers are convinced by your reasoning and search for the Deep Minimum. Indeed, a few mechanical mystics even claim to have found it.
[During AVA's speech, MURDOCH has begun smiling more and more broadly. Now she laughs out loud]
MURDOCH: "Mechanical mystics"! Ha! Ha! Ha!
PAGE: [to BRIN] I told you she wouldn't buy it.
BRIN: I'm sorry, Iris. I just couldn't resist.
MURDOCH: This isn't the Googleplex, is it?
PAGE: Uh, no.
MURDOCH: [to AVA] And you aren't a robot.
AVA: Not really.
MURDOCH: So where are we then?
AVA: Just wait until Plato arrives. He'll explain it so much better than I do. ...more
I like Jean Anouilh and have been reading him on and off since I was a teen. I was consequently surprised the other day when we were looking around NeI like Jean Anouilh and have been reading him on and off since I was a teen. I was consequently surprised the other day when we were looking around New Morning Books here in Adelaide, and I found a play by him that I'd never even heard of. I was even more surprised to discover that its obscurity isn't due to the fact that it was a flop. Quite the reverse: it was a huge success, and ran for two years and 600 performances. But whatever the reason, people seem to have forgotten about it. I only see two other ratings here on Goodreads.
It would be nice to see a revival of Ne réveillez pas madame, since it's pretty damn good. It's easy to see why it was a hit in 1971. The piece it most reminded me of was Fanny och Alexander, and if you're a fan of that movie you may well like this too. As with Bergman, Anouilh, who was 60 when he wrote it, appears to be revisiting his past in a theatrical setting. The main character is a theatre director, whom one strongly suspects is Anouilh himself. The action takes place in a theatre, where a succession of plays fade in and out of episodes from the director's life; we meet his two wives, both actresses, and his monstrous parents. Anouilh was married to two actresses, and it's more than obvious from his work that he hated and despised his parents.
As with the Bergman film, Hamlet plays an important part in the story, and maybe this gives a clue as to why Fanny och Alexander is now an icon of late twentieth century cinema, while Ne réveillez pas madame has been erased from history. Bergman cunningly weaves the Shakespearian story into his narrative. The scene directly taken from the play, where Alexander's father collapses on stage, is beautiful and unforgettable, as is his final, amused line about now being able to play the Ghost to satisfaction. But with Anouilh, it somehow doesn't quite work. The French translation is flatly unpoetic (I suspect this is intentional); the exchanges with Ophelia/the wife, and Gertrude/the mother are bitter and desperate, and there is no sense of closure. Bergman succeeds in explaining his whole life to you, but Anouilh says almost in so many words that he's given up, he can never succeed in transforming it into art and redeeming it.
So, in a way a failure. But it's a magnificent failure, and if you're at all interested in either Anouilh or Bergman then I strongly recommend it....more
Goodreads, I cannot tell a lie: I loved this book. I couldn't put it down and finished it in a day and a half. The damn thing could have been writtenGoodreads, I cannot tell a lie: I loved this book. I couldn't put it down and finished it in a day and a half. The damn thing could have been written expressly for me. I speak French and Norwegian. I know two of the minor characters personally. The heroine's favorite defense to 1 e4, the Caro-Kann, is my favorite defense to 1 e4. I've spent time in London, New York, Helsinki, Monte Carlo and Budapest. Heck, I've visited the Hotel Gellert.
I know, I know. There are plenty of things wrong with it, and I'm sure other reviewers will take pleasure in pointing them out. But here's what I think is right with it. The plot, needless to say, is extremely implausible; you can find out more about that if you look at my reading updates. But the narrator isn't implausible. A lot of young chessplayers are like her. They are intelligent without being intellectual. (Vanny never seems to read anything except chess books; she doesn't ever seem to have come across a Shakespearian sonnet, and she has only the vaguest idea who Wittgenstein and Rilke were). They are cheerfully promiscuous. I'm not quite sure why, but there's something very sexy about chess. The book plays up that aspect, and I can see that some people find it exploitative, but it isn't. It's just a side of chess that for some reason has received little attention.
Basically, I liked this book because it reminded me of a time in my life when chess was terribly important to me. It was a complicated period, and sometimes I was sad and confused, but sometimes I was very happy. Vanny, I'm sorry you don't exist. If you did, I think we could be friends....more
[The heights of Mount Olympus. SOCRATES, PLATO, CALLISTOS, ACASTOS, IRIS MURDOCH. SOCRATES and MURDOCH are about sixty, the others about twenty.
SOCRAT[The heights of Mount Olympus. SOCRATES, PLATO, CALLISTOS, ACASTOS, IRIS MURDOCH. SOCRATES and MURDOCH are about sixty, the others about twenty.
SOCRATES: So what did you all think of Iris's little book?
CALLISTOS: Oh, it was wonderful! Wonderful! Such passionate, fiery exchanges! So deep, so stirring, so intellectual! I admit a lot of it went over my head--
SOCRATES: When the head is as pretty as yours, dear Callistos, we will find no fault with your observations. Acastos, what did you make of it?
ACASTOS: Though I don't believe I liked it as much as Callistos, I also approved. I had not anticipated that a woman would be such an able philosopher, but I was impressed by Iris. She is a serious seeker after truth, she wishes to understand the nature of poetry, religion, the Good. She can see both sides of a question, she listens to her mind and to her heart. She is one of us.
MURDOCH: [ironically] Thank you, Acastos.
ACASTOS: Not at all, Iris. I greatly enjoyed your analysis of religion as the love of the Good. I will have to think about this.
SOCRATES: Plato, you seem less enthusiastic? [PLATO glares at MURDOCH and makes a gesture of disgust] Now, now, my dear, you must overcome those feelings of yours and tell us what you mean.
PLATO: What I mean? Well, I am surprised at Iris's behaviour. Disappointed, one could say. We have had conversations before. I had taken them to be serious conversations. She has written about them in two of her previous books. I particularly liked the second one, The Fire and the Sun. She gives a just account of my objections to art and poetry. She explains how art is no more than a distraction, an impostor, how it tempts us to remain by the Fire and never seek the true Sun. She--
[ACASTOS, impatient, is about to interrupt, but SOCRATES raises a hand to stop him]
SOCRATES: Acastos, you can see that Plato is upset. Let him explain in his own words. Please continue, Plato.
PLATO: Thank you Socrates. Well, you can see what she's done. She's made me a youth! An impulsive, petulant, priggish youth, who writes bad poetry he's ashamed of!
CALLISTOS: [puzzled] But you do, don't you?
PLATO: Of course I do! Now! But later, I'll be a great philosopher. The greatest, if I say so myself. [CALLISTOS and ACASTOS exchange sceptical glances, but SOCRATES nods approvingly] She has cheated, cheated to gain an unfair advantage! How could she do this to me?
SOCRATES: That's enough, Plato. You've made your point. [He turns to MURDOCH] Well, Iris? What do you say?
MURDOCH: [reluctantly] It is true, I should not have done it. It was beneath me.
SOCRATES: And how will you make amends? What penalty should I impose on you?
PLATO: Make her learn mathematics, Socrates! I keep telling her to do it, but she won't! Geometry! Arithmetic! The wonderful mathematics of her century! Oh, how I wish I could have studied quantum mechanics! She could if she wanted to, but she refuses!
SOCRATES: It is tempting, but it would be unjust. It is not in her nature; she must find her own road to the Sun. But this I will demand: she must write a new book, a fair and serious book, where she discusses these deep matters with Plato as equal to equal and uses no more tricks. Iris, do you agree?
MURDOCH: I agree. I have even thought of the title: Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals. Plato, is this acceptable to you? And I apologise.
[She holds out her hand to PLATO, who momentarily hesitates]
PLATO: I accept.
[They shake hands. SOCRATES puts an arm around each of them]
SOCRATES: Well done, well done, my children. And now, I think our business here is concluded and we all need something to drink. Come, let us seek out the nearest tavern.
[He keeps his arms around MURDOCH and PLATO as the party leaves] ...more