David Cooper on Finding the Music Again

David E. Cooper’s recent piece for the Philosopher’s Magazine is a good reminder about the need for work that is integral to one’s life:

It was a bright morning in the summer of 1978, but my mood, as I entered my study to pick up on the previous day’s work, did not match the weather. There, stuck in my sun-lit typewriter, was the latest symbol-packed page of a book I had been writing for some months. The subject was the foundations of modal logic – the logic of notions like necessity and possibility. The work had not been progressing well. I had no natural facility with symbols, found the literature dry and difficult, and so far had come up with nothing especially original to say. But it was not this depressing awareness that the going was hard and the progress slow that triggered the sudden and vivid experience that was soon to follow.

As I sat down in front of the typewriter, gearing myself to the task ahead, my eye wandered to some other objects in my study and in the garden outside the study window – to a clarinet propped up against a music stand, to a shelf full of art books, and to a pair of walking boots at the entrance to a shed. And then it came to me. “Why on earth am I writing this book!? read more here