Plotinus bites back

I’m sitting here on the 3rd floor of work surrounded by students in silence. I am typing quietly. I am invigilating entrance tests, and it is not buckets of fun, surprisingly enough, despite the curious cross-section of life that enters these hallowed (ish) portals. I brought a big heap of work for this week’s impending deadline, and of course ein Database ist kaputt, which leaves me googling my name and visiting property websites for no good reason. On the plus side, the room has windows onto the corridor, and a boy with a full-on pudding-bowl haircut just walked past.

I think I’m the only one of me on the internet. By which I mean, if I google with speech marks I can only find references to me, whereas if I leave them out, I get a whole slew of people with my weird, random surname that I never knew existed. I presumed, clearly naively that I was special. In a way, I am.

I have been to the town with my namesake. It’s a wee suburb of Burnley, and as you’d expect, it’s pretty rank. But I’ve been. I don’t know if the people that I find on google are from there. I guess it’s unlikely. The man in the petrol station almost refused to give us directions, not being able to understand why we’d even want to go there, which is fairly telling.

It makes you wonder, does it not? Obviously, we all have separate fingerprints and DNA and the like, but are we unique? I’m the only me, according to the creeping internet world of Google (heading to take over your entire life one day soon), which is quite nice. If I wasn’t I’d likely get a little confused. As it is I struggle by knowing that I’m a one off and that I matter to ooh, several people at least.

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

PlotinusNo man is an island, it’s true, as per John Donne. Forgive my expanding on a slightly tenuous theme here, I have time to kill. Apparently Donne was a ‘metaphysical poet’, and was interested in neo-Platonic ideals that (as I understand it) temporal beauty is a reflection of eternal beauty, and while the rest of it is kind of bunk, it’s a nice idea. Maybe people reflect God in some ways, though very unlikely many ways. It’d be nice to aim at it, at least. So, I’m no island, I’m not totally separated from any being whether it be physical or metaphysical, natural or supernatural. Weird science.


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