21.11.08

Global Philosophy

It turns out it's World Philosophy Day. I discovered this through the BBC, my source of most news.

It also turns out that David Bain lectures in Philosophy at the University of Glasgow. I can't comment on his jersey, but he provided these 4 philosophical brain teasers for the Beeb.

What I want to know is who decides what we celebrate each day of the year. ("I want to know" is rhetorical here; I don't want to know quite enough to be bothered googling it.)

It was World Teachers' Day not that long ago. My only colleague and I congratulated each other on being teachers. And that was it. Not a single card from the kids we teach. No flowers. No "Happy World Teachers' Day Mr Hattrell". We didn't even mention it to them.

I don't quite get the point of a dedicated day for teachers/philosophers/etc. What's it supposed to achieve? It's a bit like mothers' day and fathers' day. Maybe Hallmark will start producing "Happy Philosophy Day" cards! And who really believes that in every country of the world, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, these World [fill in the blank] Days are actually observed?

Now, as an earnest subscriber to the New Internationalist, I realise it's the International Year of Sanitation but who knew it was World Toilet Day on Wednesday (the 19th November)?

The NRDC (don't worry, I don't know what it stands for either) put out a press release about it, on the day, presumably one of many organisations who tried to spread the word. It must have got buried among other items, certainly not making into the "most emailed news stories" on my favourite news provider's website.

But apparently, “more than half of all girls who drop out of primary school in developing countries do so because they lack separate toilets and access to clean water.”

So that was one day I perhaps should have known about. Probably more worthy of global consideration than World Teachers' Day and even World Talk-Like-A-Pirate Day. And perhaps worth thinking about on World Philosophy Day. I'll just have to get one of those "Sorry I'm late" cards for it.

9.11.08

A Better Future...

Possibly.

Though I very much doubt it.

I woke up at 2 a.m. last night to find myself in Sebastian's room. I'd fallen asleep next to him when I was putting him to bed. That's how tired I am at the moment! I got up, crept into the study and checked the computer.

The little coloured icons on the auto-updating website had been shuffling around in a vaguely parliamentary formation since 7 o'clock and had finally settled. There were an awful lot of blue ones. A few more clicks revealed the precise details. I won't bore you with them. (They're here if you're interested.) But even the Labour Party representative for the West Coast had lost to his National Party opponent.

The 8 green icons were good news. That and Winston's demise. But two extra Greens aren't going to have much influence on policy, I'm afraid, despite their best intentions and their genuine concern with the future of our children and the planet we live on.

John Key promised a better future measured by the weight of our back pockets. Reducing taxes doesn't seen particularly visionary to me but it must be what people want. I'm just hoping that it's going to be a case of "plus ca change..."