within one person
or among many, few things
are so hazardous
and unpredictable as
the conflict of ideas

I dreamed I was suddenly seized with the realisation that I must join up to the army or navy and contribute to the war: that way, I would get paid, and be able to contribute to the family budget back home. With no loss of continuity, I then had an equally big opposite realisation, namely that I was a pacifist and must become a ‘conscientious objector’. I guess the consistent thing between both these opposite realisations is that I’m realising there’s a war on! The poem is OK as far as it goes, but it fails to capture my sense of wonderment at the way non-physical reality manages to evade our collective radar. And yet it’s right under our noses, because ideas are constantly with us and ideas are non-physical things. And what is going on when ideas jostle one another and compete and conflict? What else are our lives all about? How is it possible we pay so little attention to asking ‘What is an idea?’


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