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Tuesday, November 16, 2010


The following excerpt is lifted from a thesis I wrote as part of my third PHD. At the time (1998) I was living in Athens and submitting papers extramurally to the Aristotelian University of Peripatetic Contemplation, Atlantis. (Formerly the Platonic University of Socratic Dialogue). It involves a field experiment I conducted with locals from the inland village of Ano Souli which hypothesised that 'Neither rhyme nor reason can be explained either in rhyme or by reason.' 

...The stifling session neared its conclusion. The sun maintained an intense heat even as it rapidly lowered. Answers had been difficult to extract and my theory was no closer to being proved or disproved. A zephyr passed and gave cause to the parched ground on which we stood to puff clouds of choking dust. The tiny dessicated particles mixed with sweat and spittle to form a dry paste on the faces of us all. I sensed my subjects were agitated and tired of my questions. One last attempt, I optimistically thought. A breakthrough of some sort was required to boost morale for tomorrow's gathering.
"Hands up if you've brought dishonour to the group," I accused in my most dictatorial tone. "Dishonour!" Not one of the accused raised an arm above their head. They shuffled uncomfortably and surveyed the hot earth. "Well, dishonour has been visited upon this village; of that there is not doubt." I was joking, of course. "Now, wave your hands in the air if you just don't care!" I invited in my most convincing children's television presenter voice. "Woot woot!" was the cacophonous response as 24 hands were flung skywards. 
I was perplexed. How could it be that to indicate apathy such an active response was deemed universally appropriate? "Ok, let's call it a day," I proffered, and hoped my odd English vernacular was understood. "We'll reconvene tomorrow." Tomorrow I would ask them to shrug nonchalantly, or twitch an eyebrow if they just didn't care. Would this engender the same woot woots of apathetic approval? I had a hunch that it would not, and the reason was something to do with rhyme...

As you can tell, this was a thesis at the forefront of its discipline. 
I may include larger tracts in my yet to be published autobiography.