Subway Sceptic

In amongst the standard issue ‘New York stylie’ graffiti I walked past yesterday was a quality thought. ‘Question everything’. This struck me as rather profound for a coastal Cornwall underpass. But who inspired the phantom sprayer? Was it:

1) The Sex Pistols – a call for ‘Anarchy in the UK’.
2) David Hume – there are absolute limits to what we can know.
3) Pyrrho – hold back on your judgements for a less troubled existence

I reckon a mix of 1) and 3). Two fingers to authority and a nod to the inalienable right to your own freedom to escape society’s preconceptions.

I read Wilhelm von Humbolt quoted by John Stuart Mill in his seminal ‘On Liberty’ yesterday:

From the union of ‘freedom’ and ‘a variety of situations’ arise ‘individual vigour and manifold diversity’ in society.

Mill himself goes on to say:

Human nature is not a machine to be built after a model and set to do exactly the work prescribed for it, but a tree which requires to grow and develop itself on all sides according to the tendency of the inward forces which make it a living thing.

Graffiti is vandalism. And if we buy this weeks analysis that the cause of the UK’s ills is gangsta rap and consensual policing then the callow youth who sprayed his question (lots of assumptions here…) deserves his head cracking with a ‘zero tolerance’ truncheon.

But ‘epoché’. After Pyrrho, this week ‘I hold back’. I’ll suspend judgement and ignore Hesiod. Some questions are worth asking – and some liberties worth defending.

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2 Responses to Subway Sceptic

  1. A friend in contemplation says:

    I’ve been reading about Pyrrho since you lobbed me a casual inference of my unknowing application of some of his principles. He’s not wrong, as long as suspension of judgement does not tip into passivity or pure blandness.

    On another track, anything which helps you to move on from your current yen for more truncheons and young offender barges can’t be all bad.

  2. John Worne says:

    Touché Aramis, your épée has evidently been sharpened in my absence. I’ll have to clean the sea salt off mine for my return to ensure it is sharp enough to trim those pesky nasal hairs.

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