Dear Iris. If you knew you had one more year to live, what would you focus on? I’m trying to imagine what you would think about and do more of – and what you would do less of and let go. Thank you in anticipation

Philosopher's reply

Dear Sue

One year left. Everything a rush, not done properly. The noise of the world. But beyond ‘the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never visited’. (CS Lewis)

So, time in Florence, with Michelangelo’s broken Pietà & Donatello’s Penitent Magdalene, in London, with the Virgin of the Rocks. Op132, Op111 Schubert, Bach’s chaconne. ‘The proper & unique & perpetual object of thought is that which does not exist.’ Valery, quoted by S.W. & I.M. But it is there… ‘we seek that which is already found… the creator’s grace praecedentem tempore et natura (Geoffrey Hill). Cease seeking. Forgive + be forgiven.

Anthony O’Hear

Ich bin der welt abhanden gekommen…

Philosopher's profile

Anthony O'Hear

University of Buckingham, UK

Iris Murdoch's philosophy is in the philosophical great tradition, the opposite of academic rotatory motion. All her philosophical writing centres on the question of how we should live, how we should see and how we should act. There is nothing ever less than robust in her work, intellectually and stylistically. She despises shoddy, easy thinking, as like Apollo in her favourite painting, she strips away illusion, fantasy and the indulgence of the soft fat ego.

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