Rain rain – when you go away…

The wettest holiday ever – well nearly; that was in Biarritz a decade and a bit ago. Still two glorious sunny days in Cornwall fooled us into thinking it was summer… It then rained unremittingly, both there; and then on our French campsite this week. 

Yesterday we called it a day; fighting the family holiday ‘sunk cost fallacy’. This was best captured in an overheard quote, during my own childhood, which became our family standard: 

“We’ve paid for it, so you will enjoy it.”

But we did ok. We all mucked in: cycling in the teeming rain, wedging into a crowded crèperie, feasting on rotisserie chickens, washing pots and pans and squelching through bogs to the bogs. 

But, facing another uninterrupted day of pouring rain, ‘practical reasonableness’ kicked in. Aquinas would have been proud…

We checked out our options, discussed it en famille and concluded, as they say en français: “on se casse” – we’re off. And a mere seventeen hours later: four solid London brick walls, a proper roof and a warm comfy 3am bed…

Family holidays can be memorable for all sorts of reasons. Rain ensured this wasn’t a classic. But sticking together through the soakings, meant, it was a good one all the same.

Aquinas – a life’s work

 

Some years ago on holiday, we stayed in a French house which had a multi-volume set of philosophy books. Of all the great philosophers of history only Aristotle and Aquinas merited three entire volumes; which was reassuring – I was already reading on Aquinas when we arrived.

Whilst this standing in philosophy is well merited (in my humble opinion), I’ve found Aquinas’s particular method of logical argument, makes his original texts a bit of a struggle.

But, as I dug out from the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy – for an especial friend – Aquinas’s prescription for the good life is disarmingly straightforward:

The basic human goods:

(i) life, 

(ii) “marriage between man and woman and bringing up of children [coniunctio maris et feminae et educatio liberorum]” (not at all reducible to “procreation”), 

(iii) knowledge, 

(iv) living in fellowship (societas and amicitia) with others, 

(v) practical reasonableness (bonum rationis), and 

(vi) knowing and relating appropriately to the transcendent cause of all being, value, normativity and efficacious action.

You might argue with one or two of them, but it’s not a bad recipe… 

There’s plenty of ‘practical reasonableness’ about Aquinas.