Friday, May 22, 2015
My bag is packed, I have had a haircut, a taxi is arranged, and there is really nothing more to be done save wait until tomorrow, so I spent some time exploring my IPhone, with special attention to the apps I never use. I discovered that I have zero birds listed on my life list on my Birds of the World app. GoogleMaps assured me that I am still in Chapel Hill. For the tenth time, I checked the weather in Paris. And then I tapped the iBooks icon. It turns out that I have A Treatise of Human Nature on my phone [I am old enough to find this astonishing.] I called up the text and began reading the Introduction. I feeling of warmth and comfort came over me as I read again the words I first read sixty-four years ago. How measured, how sane, how charmingly familiar they were. I am a Kant scholar of some sort and a Marxist, or so I insist, but David Hume is my favorite philosopher. I do not think I would actually have much enjoyed an evening with Kant or Marx, for all their greatness, but I would give anything to have had the pleasure of an evening with the man whom the French called le bon David. In my mind he is linked with Jane Austen, who lived perhaps a generation later. Of both it would always have been the case that they were the smartest person in any room, and yet both were in their way unassuming and modest, allowing others to underestimate them. Perhaps on the long plane ride I shall pass the time by dipping here and there into Books One, Two, and Three of the Treatise.