Peter Knight's Web Site
Things for me, friends, family... and passers by

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Peter's Notes

NB - this page is old and sleeping, long forgotten and out of date.

Things get added to this page from time to time, and there is no real order.

And always, when I reach the full depth of intellect, there I sense my fundamental misperception. I have come the wrong way. This isn't the way to find the answer!

So this page really doesn't matter. For years I thought that T.E.Lawrence had "Nothing Matters" inscribed over the door to his house. I have thought about that a lot over the years. Only recently I found out that the inscription actually said something just a little bit different. Now I'm troubled about whether that matters. So this is like Notes Towards my meaning of life. This is just how it strikes me. Some of the stuff I think about.  Like always, if you wonder why this page is here, check out the list of excuses!

"The most important lesson in life is to learn from life’s lessons". No, the most important thing is to remember to remember them at the appropriate moment.

On the 1st day God spoke and He said “The purpose of your life is to create your myth and to enact it. This is your workshop and your stage. These are your props and I am the Lord your God. On the second day God created man. Man asked what he’d missed so far and God said “I wasn’t talking to you.” So all we know is the punchline: “God said ‘I wasn’t talking to you’.” 

May be it's all about Appreciating the Human Condition, exploring it. Where better to begin than with the creature?

You're brought up to believe there are lots of clues to help us. Guidebooks, even. Religion. History. Science. Conscience. But they don't come with certificates of reliability. Sometimes they overlap, sometimes they coincide. Sometimes they don't. Ideas of what's right or what's good that I've inherited culturally don't seem to match up with what I see when I consider my (Christian) conscience, even though the culture I have inherited is supposedly a Christian culture. Either I'm reading the guidebook wrong, or the people that taught me how things work were reading it wrong. For example, a lot of the "virtues" I was taught to believe in are not at all, as I see them now, virtues. When I was at school Mr Trott taught us all about "Hurray words" and Boo words". Well, it seems to me that people have been giving things the wrong labels. "From the following list label which ones are hurrays and which ones are boos: strong, win, pretty, first, fearful, weak, patriot." Here's an example. I was brought up to believe that it's important to know the difference between right and wrong. That's what everyone says. But then one of the guidebooks says that our problems stem from the day we discovered the difference between good and evil,  between right and wrong.We were specifically told not to go to that tree!  Nowadays often I think that knowing the difference between right and wrong (or, rather, believing that you know the difference) is a bad thing. From knowledge (or from your belief in your knowledge) comes judgement, and from judgement comes hatred. I saw a program about the holocaust on TV where they interviewed survivors. This woman, who had seen such terrible things, said that what she had learned was that we should hate no-one. Just recently I saw another Holocaust survivor say the same thing: if we continue to hate, Hitler has won. What I see around me is people who believe that they know right from wrong, that they are right, and that other people (the different people) are wrong. And they hate them. What I don't believe is that we are really any good at knowing what's right and wrong. You can never be sure that you're right, or that the other guy is wrong. I think that's a fundamental starting point in the journey towards being able to do all that stuff that Jesus said: turning the other cheek, loving your enemy... it helps if you remember that you aren't really very good at judging who's right and who's wrong. You should never be convinced that you are right. You can't be sure that you're the good guy. May be your enemy is actually the good guy. "God will be your judge!"

May as well tell a bee not to be a bee. And it's no good the camel moaning that God made needles so small! Someone once said that when we receive a gift beyond imagination it is hard to recognise it for what it is. When we receive a gift beyond imagination it is hard to recognise it for what it is.

And always, when I reach the full depth of intellect, there I sense my fundamental misperception. I have come the wrong way. This isn't the way to find the answer! I like that the motto of the University where I got my PhD is "The beginning of wisdom is fear of the Lord" and that the motto of theUniversity where I work is "Thank God for all".

May be, after all, that is what I should have on my gravestone: "Thanks".

They say that life is measured not in years but in moments. Thanks for the moments.

Of all the things that I have lost and will never see again the people are of course the ones that I really miss. And perhaps one place. The place, I might be able to visit again, of course. The people, certainly, are gone.

Hey look! It's Marie!
It's Marie, over there.
What are you talking about? That's some old woman.
Yes, yes, but it's Marie, years from now when she's old. Hey, Marie, over here. How are you?

A few days after Marie died, Kate saw her in the street outside the house. "Hey, look, it's Marie. She's come back. Marie, how are you? What are you doing here?"
"I'm OK. I just wanted to come back for a bit. Is that OK? Can we just go home for a few days and carry on as normal?"
So she came home and we carried on as normal for about three months, before she left again.

When people take their memories out and polish them they wear them away until nothing is left but the memory of remembering. The memory of the thing itself is gone. This is the thin end of the wedge. This is the slippery slope. This is how history begins.

Whatever happened to Pipaluk?

If our memory were sharper, we would sin less.

Who we are and what we do. One transcends the other, but which way around is it?

It was Monday. It was 7 a.m.. Massenet awoke, with relief, to discover that he had not been abducted by aliens. It was raining, but it was the kind of rain that says "Hey, be cool, everything's OK."

"Do you know the meaning of life? What is the purpose of it all?"
"We are."

As soon as he saw the cat in the room he knew that something was wrong. "I've been sucked into playing somebody else's game" he said. But then he remembered that it was he, in the back of a van in Moscow long, long ago, who had been the exotic adventure. When I was growing up it was cool to be cool. Now everything is all shot to hell.

It arrived at 2.15pm.
Nobody was there to photograph it.
It left again at 2.24.
Nobody saw it leave, and nobody knew that it had been there.
My name is Nobody, and I have the photographs.

I've seen the seven wonders of the world.
They're not that great.
I think the guide book got the number wrong.
It should be eight.

No one ever told me that the ocean reached right up to the coast.

Where are the places in the heart where we put the things we cannot look at?

Time is like water, or like the atmosphere. The greater the depth through which we look, the further the light has to travel, the more the colours become subdued, the images blur, the less we know for sure. Memory is replaced gradually by imagination and we don't realise that the change has taken place.



From Otavalo to Riobamba my memories are sparse but painted in highly saturated colours, and they are geographically imprecise, except where ice-capped peaks or sturdy monuments, or a wrought iron gate and a boy in a felt hat declared my state of place unambiguously.