The thing about waiting for a hurricane is that there is not much to do but sit and search the skies for indications. One thinks of the greatest hurricane scene in American literature: "The wind came back with triple fury, and put out the light for the last time. They sat in company with the others in other shanties, their eyes straining against crude walls and their souls asking if He meant to measure their puny might against His. They seemed to be staring at the dark, but their eyes were watching God." [Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston, 1937, Chapter 18.]
I have filled my bathtub, so that we will have water for the flush toilet if the power goes out. Susie and I brought many of her plants in from the porch, but she is soft-hearted, and when the hummingbirds began fluttering about looking for the missing feeder, she relented and put it back up. Here in Chapel Hill we are on the outer Western fringe of the storm area, so the only threat is that heavy rain will bring down trees in already soaked earth, triggering power outages. I bought some food we can grill, should we be unable to use the gas stove.
To amuse myself, I idly went back over all the writing I have done for my blog since I began posting my Autobiography fourteen months ago. Leaving aside the commentaries on the passing scene, and also setting to one side things I had already written [such as Volume One of the Autobiography, journal articles and speeches, and the unpublished book on deterrence theory from the early 60's], I calculate that in those fourteen months I have written 360,000 words of new material -- Autobiography, tutorials, and so forth. That is the equivalent of four short books, a lot even for me. I have enjoyed the writing enormously, and though some of it has been taxing, taking all in all, it hardly seems to have been a great effort. The hardest part of it all has been wrestling with the computer problems that crop up from time to time.
After mulling it over in my mind, I have decided to undertake a tutorial on the Philosophy of David Hume, even though the core of what I have to say is contained in the journal article I published in 1960 and wrote in the summer of 1956 [when I was twenty-two!] Because that piece was intended for a professional journal, it omitted all of the background and supplementary commentary that readers of this blog might find interesting and useful. In addition, I shall include in the tutorial a discussion of Hume's other great work, the Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, on which I have never written anything. A word of explanation: Hume considered his two Enquiries his most important works, and many commentators have concurred, but I am very much more partial to the Treatise, which, as I have many times said, is in my judgment the greatest work of philosophy ever written in the English language. [Its only competitor, I would say, is Leviathan by Hobbes.]
I had another idea, which I may yet attempt after the Hume tutorial is ended, viz., an informal discussion of a number of books from different disciplines of which I am especially fond, and which may be not well known to modern readers. But that is for the future.
One cautionary note: in just ten days, Susie and I go to Paris for a short two-week stay. If I have not completed the Hume tutorial when it is time to leave, I will try to continue it from rue Maitre Albert, but the charms of the fifth arrondissement may deduce me away from the life of the mind. We shall see.