Cloudy, cloudy

1 March 2006 at 09:17 Leave a comment

This is the only bit of poetry I have ever managed to memorize,
Richard Wilbur’s Epistemology:

I.
Kick at the rock, Sam Johnson, break your bones:
But cloudy, cloudy is the stuff of stones.

There’s more to it that I didn’t manage to hold onto, but how fun was it while (finally) enjoying Boswell’s Life of Samuel Johnson to find the context:

After we came out of church, we stood
talking for some time together of Bishop Berke-
ley’s ingenious sophistry to prove the non-exist-
ence of matter, and that everything in the uni-
verse is merely ideal. I observed that though
we are satisfied his doctrine is not true, it is
impossible to refute it. I shall never forget the
alacrity with which Johnson answered, striking
his foot with a mighty force against a large stone,
till he rebounded from it, “I refute it thus!”

If you want to dig into the philosophy, read this excellent discussion by Katherine Hunt.

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Entry filed under: Dr. Samuel Johnson, reading.

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T. Anderson Painter

I am a misanthrope. No one ever believes me, but this seems to prove my point.

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