I remember that Rouseeau used to drone on about the great library in Alexandria, y’know the world’s ultimate repository of knowledge, lost for millenia: just another one of those great creations of mankind that are meant to be floating around somewhere.
Anyway his version of the story was that when the turks or the ottomans or whoever invaded egypt and captured the city, the great general, let’s call him Pashmina, messaged his boss, the Sultan, asking what to do with the library, it being the end of all ends, magnificent jewel of orient, etc. The sultan (let’s call him Mohair – this story needs a little life), Mohair says, has this library got anything more than the Koran in it? And has it got anything less than the Koran in it?
“Of course” Pashmina goes, “yes, of course it does: It’s gotta have one or the other, basic logic innit, me ol’ cocka sparra.” (Sorry about the cockney accent but in my experience most pashminas are seen in the east end)
‘Ah’ says Mohair
“Ah?” says Pashmina “guv?” (continuity of character – that’s what I admire in a two-thousand year-old turk. Oh, and a respect for personal space.)
“Well, if the library contains anything beyond the Koran, it must be burnt as blasphemous” says Mohair,
“I think I can see where this is going” says Pashmina “do you mind if I pop to the loo while you finish the story?”
“Not at all. And if it contains anything less than the koran…”
“ah…yes..?”, says Pash’s voice, echoing slightly from his position in the porcelain tabernacle
“…there’s no point keeping it: waste is a sin, and paper makes a good fire.”
“right.” Pasmina says, as he emerges from the land of ablutions, tugging tight his drawstring pants “you weren’t one of those kids who used to use magnifying glasses on crickets were you?”
“Off with your head” says Sultan Mohair
“You can’t chop off my head! I’m merely an illustrative tool used by a 21st century layabout to represent the thought processes of a seventeenth century philosophe” Sez Pashmina, fading back into the ether…
The point is, Rousseau said, this is all academic, the sultan was completely wrong, the library should have been preserved for future generations, it belongs in a museum, etc.
But Rousseau said also said that if they’d been talking about the bible, the sultan would have been spot on.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that this is my blog. It’s meant to hold all my thoughts, feelings, etc. (though at this rate I may have to build an extension). Values are malleable, they’re individual, and you and I have gotta accept that there’s no right and wrong in them. I just hope that accepting that, you also manage to enjoy my exegesis a little more than most.
Oh by the way: