If We Were Having Coffee…

If we were having coffee, I’d wonder what you were doing in my kitchen at 8am on a Sunday morning. I think someone else might be expecting you.

I’m pretty sure someone mentioned cake. I can offer you apple pie for breakfast; and just help yourself to coffee. I’m on my third mug so I’m not that far off being conversational.

What’s the weather doing this morning?

If we were sitting in a café we would quite naturally fill the quiet space with people-watching. Not intrusively or voyeuristically. Just in a watching-the-world-go-by kind of way. I already know the back stories of the people who live here so there’s nothing left for me to invent. I can’t help but wonder what sort of history an imagined onlooker would superimpose onto a greying, hippie-haired, middle-aged woman who wears a woollen scarf indoors in August and photographs the bubbles in her coffee. It’s not even the weirdest thing I’ve done so far this morning.

The perfect pair of jeans doesn’t exist. It’s impossible to find just the right width of bootcut with just the right rise of waist. I only mention it because I’m wearing in a new pair. This is the closest cut to the ideal that I’ve found. So I bought six identical pairs.

More pie?

At some point our conversation would swing around to the news or the media.

The events of the wider world tend to pass me by for the most part. I purposely avoid much of the news because it distresses me to the point of crying. The rest comes at me through the Features & Analysis section of the BBC app, or through WordPress or Facebook.

It was through a social media group that I picked up the story of the evolutionary biologist confusing himself with a moral philosopher. I’m sure you know who I mean. It all started on Twitter. His non-apology speaks volumes about his ego. He actually believes that he is intellectually untouchable – but arrogance is no measure of what one can reasonably expect to get away with.

What time of day did that tweet go out? Was he drunk? He has since stated that he has sympathy for the emotional point of those who took offense but qualifies rescinds that sympathy with the further insult that those emotional responses are in “error” as far as the ethical debate is concerned because they are not logical. The simple truth is that logic is not an impenetrable metaphysic in the sphere of morality. People are not robots. Utilitarianism is academically interesting but not functionally flawless. And how exactly does a consequentialist justify putting such a statement out there so carelessly – understanding in full conscience that those very words will cause psychological and emotional harm, thereby reducing the sum total of happiness? By claiming to be wilfully misunderstood and denying any personal responsibility. Obviously.

It’s difficult for me not to connect this story with the sad news of the actor who committed suicide this month. The link might not be immediately obvious and may even seem tenuous but it should demonstrate to a vain and insensitive scientist the degree to which our emotions in actuality affect our moral responses. Camus made the point clearly and succinctly when he said,

I have never seen anyone die for the ontological argument.

More coffee?

Coffee 2