Monday, 27 October 2008

Drunk on the Wine of the Beloved

"Wash the tarnished copper of your life from your hands;
To be Love's alchemist, you should be working with gold."

"Even though, to pious, drinking wine is a sin,
Don't judge me; I use it as a bleach to wash the color of hypocrisy away."

Two excerpts of two poems by Hafez from "Drunk on the Wine of the Beloved", translated by Thomas Rain Crowe. The first is from "School of Truth", and the second is from "I've Said It Before and I'll Say It Again."

I was reading through my diary and found these two fragments, which I thought pair well together.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Fontainebleu Hotel Corp. v. 45 25 (spelled out), Inc.

Judges are hilarious:
In this case Eden Roc hotel in Miami sued Fontainebleu hotel for building additional floors which (supposedly) blocked air and light from its beach, thereby cannibalizing business (in malice). The ensuing decision, which overruled a temporary injunction on further construction is one of the funniest I've ever read. Among the materials presented included...wait for it..."studies on the simple mathematics of the sun."
Enjoy this excerpt:

We see no reason for departing from this universal rule. If, as contended on behalf of plaintiff, public policy demands that a landowner in the Miami Beach area refrain from constructing buildings on his premises that will cast a shadow on the adjoining premises, an amendment of its comprehensive planning and zoning ordinance, applicable to [**7] the public as a whole, is the means by which such purpose should be achieved. (No opinion is expressed here as to the validity of such an ordinance, if one should be enacted pursuant to the requirements of law. Cf. City of Miami Beach v. State ex rel. Fontainebleau Hotel Corp., Fla.App.1959, 108 So.2d 614, 619; certiorari denied, Fla.1959, 111 So.2d 437.) But to change the universal rule - and the custom followed in this state since its inception - that adjoining landowners have an equal right under the law to build to the line of their respective tracts and to such a height as is desired by them (in in absence, of course, of building restrictions or regulations) amounts, in our opinion, to judicial legislation. As stated in Musumeci v. Leonardo, supra [77 R.I. 255, 75 A.2d 177], "So use your own as not to injure another's property is, indeed, a sound and salutary principle for the promotion of justice, but it may not and should not be applied so as gratuitously to confer upon an adjacent property owner incorporeal rights incidental to his ownership of land which the law does not sanction."

Friday, 10 October 2008

The Next Economist Cover

Wall Street is still having fun #2 - I got an email from a friend in private equity with this attachment. Looking at the email thread, looks like a lot of bankers and other finance nerds are forwarding this around. Good fun, bad market! I myself am looking into a career as a philosophy professor, who would have thought. 

Blue Balls

I'm glad someone is still having a good time at Wall Street. Or maybe he or she means that the bull's balls have turned blue because the market is squeezing them so tight - I'll be corny and call that a "bear hug." 

Tuesday, 7 October 2008


I have a new idea, and I came up with it while sauntering across a rather deserted patch of grass in the cold, also thinking about the intellectual busy-ness with which I mounted my cycle with little sleep and little food, rode at full speed for 15 minutes, then dismounted and ran for 10 minutes to make sure that I got to tutorial on time. Mostly it was because I didn't want to upset my tutor, but partly also because I wanted to learn. It was a great time. 

Rationality - My opinion is that rationality is a social construction. Reason is simply one of many methods by which to analyze the world around us and to undertake decisions. Because rationality is constructed, I believe that in its use as a method of analysis, it is fundamentally subordinate to emotion, which is innate (to human beings and perhaps to all living things). The philosophical greats, from Socrates to Locke and their drinking buddies, overemphasized the use of reason. Locke even went so far as to say that human beings are born with some concept of rationality. That is simply not true. We are born with emotion, raw and unbridled. It is this emotion, this gut instinct, this intuition, by which we should analyze and come to decisions. I think that society ought to stop wondering what the most 'reasonable' action is, but should rather do what feels 'right'. 

There may be some questions to what I have said:
-How do you define reason / rationality, and what are their differences?
-Why do you seem to be using reason to make a rational argument against the supremacy of rationality?
-By 'right' do you imply that human beings have fully inherent and fully developed emotional mechanisms for analyzing the world and coming to decisions?

To these questions, I respond: read that paragraph, understand the idea, and think about how you feel about that idea.