Notes from the Library

Tory victory

All my lessons were cancelled today and so I ended up spending about 18 hours refreshing the Guardian live blog and election results page, occasionally going off to get some lesson planning done. And now at last they have the 326 sits for a totally unquestionable Commons majority. The country is going to burn. There is no-one to stop the vast majority of what they intend to do.

I have felt today an actual interest in something outside of myself and the people immediately around me: I really care about this. I didn’t expect to: I haven’t followed the election campaign at all and actually failed to vote because my postal vote arrived on polling day (next time I’ll be sure to vote by proxy). My cousin told me that there’s more to Britain than the welfare state. For me, there really isn’t that much more to Britain outside of whats left of the welfare state, qua country, that I have a positive emotional reaction to.

I don’t know how I can turn this interest into action just yet. But I do feel a change of perspective today. My own personal career and future just became a lot less important to me. This is a step forward. Now it’s time to disconnect from the 24-hour news once more, and try to get on with doing something worthwhile.

Edit 2029Z: Polly Toynbee sums it up:

Every time Labour fails, the key issue is not their ejected MPs nor the great Westminster game, but the hardship imposed on the low-paid and hard-pressed. Every Tory government makes the rich richer and the poor poorer, draining public services dry.

Ignore Cameron’s urbane manner, he is driven by a deep anti-state ideology that will leave the welfare state and the public realm unrecognisable in five years. That is what Labour’s failure means.

A fine line between a cult and a fear

In thinking about studying philosophy again at Arizona, I feel like I’m to walk a fine line between succombing to the academic cult in my own head that my entire self-worth depends on my academic success there, and the fear of success that will have me not engage properly because I’m afraid I might like it.

An offer from Arizona

I spent the first two weeks of this month trying to decide between offers to study a one-year master’s at the University of St. Andrew’s in Scotland, and to study a two-year master’s at University College London. Both are research-oriented, both would cost a big chunk of my savings. I managed to factor out almost everything that differs about the two prospects, and I decided in the end to choose to go to London. This came down to my emotional reaction to spending a year in a small Scottish village versus spending two years in vibrant London, despite not having any money while there. And then the University of Arizona, a significantly higher ranked philosophy department than either UCL or St. Andrew’s, made me a last-minute offer to go study there, fully funded with a salary on a teaching fellowship, giving me just 48 hours to respond.

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After a year in Korea

I recently wrote a series of blog posts commenting on contemporary Korean society after a year living here, and I was disappointed by the way about half of them came out. Further, I didn’t write down my current assessment of my year in Korea for my own self and life. I intend to do that briefly here.

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Visiting the UK in January 2015

I had a very stereotypical post-gap year experience on visiting home for two and a half weeks this month: I felt like nothing there had changed in the slightest and they couldn’t possibly understand all the changes I’d been through!!!11 Well not quite. I felt as though nothing at home had changed, and any respects in which I might have changed vanished, and I was back to being a half-child again, living with my mother and step-father in between university terms, occasionally visiting my father’s house out of guilt and then just abusing him. Living in Korea has of course made me much more adult, but all my adulthood vanished on returning home.

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