Saturday, June 05, 2004

Invisible Fire

Browsing the May Scientific American just now, I learned a cool new fact (or a hot new fact, I suppose): Hydrogen fires are invisible. If there is a possibility of hydrogen fire, NASA recommends checking to see if it is burning by putting out a broom and seeing if the straw bursts into flame; otherwise it's difficult to tell it's burning.

"The Donkey"

I have been reading Chesterton's The Ballad of the White Horse, which, since I've been posting a lot of poems, put me in mind of my favorite Chesterton poem:

The Donkey

When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born.

With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil's walking parody
On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.

The moral we should take from it, of course, is not to judge by appearances. It reminds me of the saying by George MacDonald: "Truth is truth, even when spoken by Balaam's ass."

When Hell is Life

I'm just about to do some work on a dissertation chapter, and I've been reading this section in Andrew Pyle's Malebranche:

In the final analysis I think we have to accept that this [i.e., Malebranche's odd account of the linkage between the mother's brain and the brain of the fetus] is one of those occasions on which Malebranche abandons philosophical rationalism for dogmatic theology. He is looking for an explanation of the transmission of original sin, and thinks that this widely accepted theory of the maternal imagination provides it. If the growing foetus shares its mother's thoughts and passions, it partakes in her fallen state. It is indeed an enfant de colere, born to sin and - without the sacrament of baptism - bound for the flames of hell.

Now, it's true that Malebranche's motivations are theological here, and that the result isn't successful at all. But the last sentence betrays, I think, a misunderstanding of what original sin is. Original sin isn't actual sin, so Catholic doctrine is usually that it doesn't merit positive punishment; it is, however, a state of disorder in which a person is lacking what would merit the positive reward of meeting God 'face-to-face' in heaven. That is, original sin is punished - it falls under God's wrath - in the sense that those who die with original sin (assuming God yields no special mercy to them, which Catholic doctrine does not rule out, assuming that they are not cleansed of original sin by martyrdom like the Holy Innocents killed by Herod, and assuming they are not cleansed of original sin in response to their parent's desire to baptize them or to the prayers of the Church) will never have the Beatific Vision, and therefore never have perfect, supernatural happiness. They are not 'bound for the flames of hell'.

What this means is this. We've all gone through life, and we've had good times and we've had bad times. Some of our good times have been really good, and in those good times we have been genuinely happy. However, our happiness in those good times is limited, imperfect, and purely natural. The punishment of infants is that they can never be happier than you or I have ever been or (assuming God doesn't give us special graces) ever will be in this life. That is all. The hell of those who die with only original sin is to live our sort of life forever, and never have anything better. We keep forgetting that 'hell' (i.e., 'hades' or 'sheol') just means 'place of the shades of the dead', and so we incorrectly treat 'hell' as if it always meant 'hell of the damned' whenever it is used.

Dante in his Inferno extends this to the great philosophers and poets who weren't Christian. To see the truth is the highest happiness, and they have all done so to the highest degree human nature alone can. This is all they will ever be able to achieve. The same principle is at work: the philosophers and poets are in the hell of limbo, not the hell of the damned. This hell of limbo is not a particularly bad situation in which to find oneself; the highest part of it is called 'the limbo of the Patriarchs' since the Jewish Patriarchs (Abraham, Moses, the Prophets) waited there for the coming of Christ. What distinguishes the limbo of the Patriarchs from the limbo of the children is just that the Patriarchs, because they foreshadowed Christ, did not have absence of glory but only delay of glory as their punishment for original sin. Limbo isn't glorious either, but one could do much worse.

Aquinas discusses this all in his commentary on the Sentences, and it was summarized after his death in the 69th question of the Supplement to the Third Part of the Summa Theologiae. Nor can I think of anything in Malebranche that would suggest that he departs from this standard view. Pyle (like, alas, too many Malebranche scholars too often) is not really taking the trouble to understand Malebranche's perspective, but is content with occasionally scoring cheap (and apparently inaccurate) rhetorical points off of him.

A Constitutional Quibble

Bill Clinton has been added to CNN's possible VP list for Kerry; says CNN, "While federal law prohibits a person from seeking a third presidential term, the Constitution does not specify whether or not a former commander in chief can become vice president."

I think this is merely absurd. The Constitution (12th Amendment) explicitly says, "But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States." Clinton is ineligible (22nd amendment) because he can't be elected to the office of the President: "No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice." The confusion arises from thinking that 'eligible' means something different from 'able to be elected'. 'Election' means 'choosing', 'eligible' means 'able to be chosen', and 'elected' means 'chosen'. The 12th amendment therefore means, "No one who can't be chosen President can be chosen Vice-President" and the 22nd means "No one can be chosen President more than twice." The latter means that Clinton can't be chosen to be President; this means, quite literally, he is ineligible.

Comments, Anyone?

I should note (because it has been brought to my attention) that people have to be added to a list to comment in this blog. If you're interested, let me know by e-mail, and I'll add your name to the list.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Perhaps Critics Should Study Up on Human Nature First?

Since I posted on Stuttaford's (reasonably good) critical review of Troy previously, I decided to look at what others are saying. Stuttaford's is, I think, the best I've seen. Some of them are very bad, e.g.:

Jonathan Foreman, New York Post Online:

In particular, Eric Bana in the key role of Hector, Achilles' fearsome but sympathetic Trojan antagonist, lacks the necessary looks and screen presence. And while Diane Kruger's Helen is pretty, you really need an actress to project great beauty of the kind that would make a prince violate the hospitality of his hosts and provoke the Bronze Age equivalent of a world war.
It's OK to create a political explanation for the Greek expedition, making punishment for Helen's abduction a convenient cover story for Agamemnon's imperial ambitions. But without honor as a primary concern, Achilles' fury at Agamemnon for taking away his lawful prize, the priestess Briseis, doesn't really make any sense.

Is there anything so silly as these statements? What the last sentence of the first paragraph in effect boils down to is this: "You really need an actress to be beautiful enough that a man of otherwise good sense would have an affair and run off with her, regardless of consequences." And the last sentence of the second paragraph would imply that the only source of fury someone might have at his slavegirl being stolen from him is "honor". No wonder movie critics have such a reputation for being wrong....

I Know the Feeling....

Soon I'll be teaching again. And under what conditions? Impossible conditions. I need three years and students who can take up their studies in a leisurely fashion. And what do I have? A semester or at most two semesters and students who are rushed and are in a hurry. And there are no short-cuts, no devices.

(O. K. Bouwsma, O. K. Bouwsma's Commonplace Book, p. 137)

Exciting Life

I was thinking of what this blog would look like if it actually dealt with my life rather than just with thoughts I've had:

Worked on Dissertation. Didn't get very far.

Worked on Dissertation. Good progress. Good Smallville episode.

Tried working on dissertation, managed to correct a few footnotes. Need new socks.

Bought new socks, then went home and spent the day catching up on reading.

Finished up paperwork which had been building up forever.

Grabbed the wrong kind of socks Thursday, so had to go back to get the right kind.

This is all fictional, but it's fiction that's all too true to life.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Speaking of Rudyard Kipling....

Thinking of Kipling made me go searching for his poems again. My two favorite Kipling poems are "The Gods of the Copybook Headings" and this one:

The Vampire

A fool there was and he made his prayer
(Even as you and I!)
To a rag and a bone and a hank of hair
(We called her the woman who did not care),
But the fool he called her his lady fair
(Even as you and I!)

Oh the years we waste and the tears we waste
And the work of our head and hand,
Belong to the woman who did not know
(And now we know that she never could know)
And did not understand.

A fool there was and his goods he spent
(Even as you and I!)
Honor and faith and a sure intent
But a fool must follow his natural bent
(And it wasn't the least what the lady meant),
(Even as you and I!)

Oh the toil we lost and the spoil we lost
And the excellent things we planned,
Belong to the woman who didn't know why
(And now we know she never knew why)
And did not understand.

The fool we stripped to his foolish hide
(Even as you and I!)
Which she might have seen when she threw him aside --
(But it isn't on record the lady tried)
So some of him lived but the most of him died --
(Even as you and I!)

And it isn't the shame and it isn't the blame
That stings like a white hot brand.
It's coming to know that she never knew why
(Seeing at last she could never know why)
And never could understand.

It has the word-gallop Kipling does best.

'Omer Stole It

Courtesy of Rudyard Kipling, a reminder of what really is behind the Iliad:

When 'Omer smote his bloomin' lyre,
He'd 'eard men sing by land and sea;
An' what he thought 'e might require,
'E went an' took -- the same as me.

The market girls and fishermen,
The shepherds and the sailors, too,
They 'eard old songs turn up again,
But kep' it quiet -- same as you.

They knew 'e stole; 'e knew they knowed.
They didn't tell, nor make a fuss,
But winked at 'Omer down the road,
An' 'e winked back -- the same as us.

(Preface to the "Barrack-Room Ballads")

Sketch of an Argument against Determinism

The argument would be rather complicated, with several sub-arguments, but the basic steps would be something like this:

1) A sub-argument that there is a natural inference from the way our choices seem to us (i.e., that they seem to be choices from among real alternative possibilities) to rejection of determinism in the case of choice. By 'natural inference' I mean an inference that is reasonable (although it could conceivably be proven wrong).
2) A sub-argument that we cannot make sense of choice without appeal to real alternative possibilities.
3) An argument based on (2) that acceptance of determinism requires holding that there is a fundamental and irresolvable contradiction in the way the world seems to us (between the perspective of choice and the deterministic perspective).
4) An argument based on (3) that the determinist has to privilege, without any good reason to do so, one perspective (sort of evidence) over another, even to argue for determinism at all.
5) An argument that the defender of the view that we have free choice is not committed to the irresolvable contradiction in (3) and therefore does not have to engage in the arbitrary privileging of one kind of evidence over another that is noted in (4).
6) A sub-argument that, even on its own terms, determinism is inadequately grounded in evidence given the strength of its claims, because 1) given the evidence of the way our choices seem to us, the empirical evidence required far exceeds anything that has ever been offered; 2) which has indirect confirmation in the fact that the arguments determinists historically have used to persuade people to their position are sophistical (this would actually be very easy); 3) and which is the most likely conclusion given certain sorts of infinite-regress-or-else-no-explanation problems that arise on deterministic suppositions.

A similar line of thought could be used to defend freedom of the intellect as well as freedom of the will, i.e., the fact that we are free in reasoning, deliberating, and deciding as well as in choosing.

Round and Round We Go

Yesterday Julie and I performed a dialogue in PHL 210 on the question of whether Descartes is guilty of circular reasoning in the Third Meditation. This is an old objection, going back to the very beginning. Both Julie and I agree that it's inaccurate, but Julie thinks there is a higher-level structural flaw in the argument, while I do not. This is ultimately due to different interpretations of the basic intent of the Meditations. I've put the dialogue up on the class website. Julie wrote most of it, although I contributed elements. It should be kept in mind that neither character exactly fits either of us, but by the end of the dialogue Rene approximates my view and Marin approximates Julie's. (In class, however, I performed Marin's part and Julie performed Rene's).

Wisdom from Whewell

The object of a liberal education is to develop the whole mental system of man, and thus to bring it into consistency with itself;--to make his speculative inferences coincide with his practical convictions;--to enable him to render a reason for the belief that is in him, and not to leave him in the condition of Solomon's sluggard, who is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason.

(William Whewell, "Thoughts on the Study of Mathematics," On the Principles of English University Education, p. 139.)

Why Browning is Unintelligible and Best

(This has to be read aloud to appreciate the effect.)

Much having been before to purpose spoken,
The opposite to say I shall not shamed be:
For how should one, to enemies, -- in semblance,
Friends, -- enmity proposing, -- sorrow's net-frame
Enclose, a height superior to outleaping?
To me, indeed, this struggle of old -- not mindless
Of an old victory -- came: with time, I grant you!
I stand where I have struck, things once accomplished:
And so have done, -- and this deny I shall not, --
As that his fate was nor to fly nor ward off.
A wrap-round with no outlet, as for fishes,
I fence about him -- the rich woe of the garment:
I strike him twice, and in a double "Ah-me!"
He let his limbs go -- there! And to him, fallen,
The third blow add I, giving -- of Below-ground
Zeus, guardian of the dead -- the votive favour.
Thus in the mind of him he rages, falling,
And blowing forth a brisk blood-spatter, strikes me
With the dark drop of slaughterous dew -- rejoicing
No less than, at the god-given dewy-comfort,
The sown-stuff in its birth-throes from the calyx.
Since so these things are, -- Argives, my revered here, --
Ye may rejoice -- if ye rejoice: but I -- boast!
If it were fit on corpse to pour libation,
That would be right -- right over and above, too!
The cup of evils in the house he, having
Filled with such curses, himself coming drinks of.

Speaking of Troy....

In part because not long ago I was reading Paul Roche's translations of Euripides (I had already his translations of Sophocles), I have been thinking of eventually, far down the road, writing a verse novel on the story of the Curse on the House of Atreus. I've been thinking it would go something like this:

1. Iphigenia at Aulis: Agamemnon sacrifices his oldest daughter to appease Artemis, in order to make it possible for the fleet to set out for Troy. Artemis shows her acceptance by (apparently) turning the girl into a white deer as she is slain.
2. Trojan Women: Lots of Cassandra; and this is a great place to lay out the general 'gods'-eye-view'.
3. Agamemnon: Agamemnon returns home with Cassandra as his slave-girl; Clytemnestra kills him 1) because she has been having an affair the ten years he was gone; 2) because she is jealous of Cassandra.
4. The Libation Bearers: Electra and Orestes, children of Clytemnestra, kill their mother to avenge their father. The emphasis will be on Electra, though.
5. Orestes: Pursued by the Furies, Orestes is brought before the tribunal of the gods at the Areopagus and (narrowly) is acquitted, on the condition that he visit a particular country and return from there to his homeland with a statue of Artemis.
6. Iphigenia among the Taurians: Performing his task, Orestes comes among the Taurians, who sacrifice all foreigners to Artemis. As it happens, when Artemis accepted the sacrifice of Iphigenia, she did not turn the girl into a white deer, but replaced her with a white deer before she was actually sacrificed, and whisked her off to this barbarian land to be her priestess. Iphigenia and Orestes find out about each other, and she helps him escape with the image.

The basic idea in the cycle would be that the curse on the line, started by Tantalus, continued by such eminent wrongdoers as Pelops, Thyestes, Niobe, and Atreus, can only be broken by a Sacred Victim (Iphigenia) who must (as it were) die to break the curse on herself and (as it were) come back to life to break the curse on the surviving members of the House, Orestes and Electra. My one hangup in all this preliminary stuff is Menelaus, who needs to come to a bad end somewhere, and I'm not sure how. Euripides has him still surviving in his Iphigenia among the Taurians, but the Curse has to get him somewhere along the line, and I can't make him fit into the Redemption at all. Orestes has to stand trial, perform penance, and be saved by Iphigenia to be redeemed, and Electra's fate rises and falls with his. But Menelaus does nothing, and must be destroyed by the curse....

I've decided that my favorite translation of Greek tragedy is Browning's The Agamemnon of Aeschylus. Absolutely unreadable, unless you already know what it's saying; but the language is ravishing. Such is my amateur opinion, anyway....

Defending Troy

Andrew Stuttaford, at National Review Online, has a highly critical review of Troy. While my intention here is to defend the movie, I must confess that I agree with much of his criticism. In two sentences he manages to capture much of the problem with the film:

Homer's Troy took ten years to fall, Petersen's collapses in about three weeks, taking most of the ancient epic with it. There's no Cassandra, for example, and there are no gods.

To put the Trojan War in a single movie was without doubt an error of artistic judgment. There is a reason why all the great playwrights wrote, not about the War, but about little episodes in it, e.g., Iphigenia at Aulis, or the Madness of Ajax, or the Trojan Women. This was for the very good reason that they are the stories; the War is just the frame. Cassandra is my favorite character, and I missed her dreadfully. Stuttaford is exactly right that the elimination of the gods from the story was a terrible mistake. When I was walking home from the theater, I thought of how I would have done the movie, and in the version in my head the gods played a massive role. (Indeed, if I had made the movie, I would probably have gone the opposite direction, and given the gods a greater role than in Homer, since I've always felt that the Trojan War should be seen as almost a sort of incidental devastation caused by the divine curse on the House of Atreus.) Much more could have been forgiven if Wolfgang Petersen hadn't been so silly on this point.

I can even add two criticisms Stuttaford doesn't make, which I think are very serious. Aristotle criticized Euripides' Menelaus for being needlessly evil, and I would make the same criticism, more forcefully, against Petersen's Agamemnon. Agamemnon was as much a brute as anyone in the Argive army, but he was not a power-mad empire-builder. The Greeks were bound together by a pact to protect Helen, not by Agamemnon's welding them into a nation. Even keeping the same storyline, Agamemnon could have been portrayed far more benevolently without any damage to the movie. My second criticism is, I think, more serious. The Trojan War was a man's war; the women play a significant role in it, but they are caught up in it against their will. No willing suspension of disbelief can bring me to accept that the women of Troy would be so calm about Helen. Why should their husbands and sons die so Helen can have an adulterous affair? This is why in Greek tragedies, whenever the women talk about Helen, they do not shirk from calling her the worst names they can find. One finds none of this in Troy, and this is a serious flaw.

Nonetheless, as I said starting out, I aim to defend the movie. All these criticisms can be true and yet the movie still be a good movie. Good movies are generally bad literature. There is no doubt that Petersen's film would make a horrible replacement for the Iliad. That it suffers from literary faults, however, if often rather irrelevant. A novel that followed the script of Breakfast at Tiffany's would be somewhere beneath the quality of the sort of romance novels you see being sold in grocery stores. This is because, contrary to what seems to be a common belief, a movie cannot have a strong plot. It can barely have a plot at all. When we think of movies that have good 'plots' what we are really thinking of is what we can call the Serial Spectacle of the movie. A motion picture is more like a parade than literary work, in part because it is so much more visual. The 'plot' is really a string of representative scenes held together by associations (linking them together directly or by way of auxiliary scenes) and a general idea of how they should be ordered. When the representative scenes are good; when the associations are complex and rich enough to give us the feel of there being more to the story; and when the order is not disruptive to viewing--then the movie is good. It is this that makes Ben-Hur or The Ten Commandments good movies. Ben-Hur, the movie, cuts out an immense amount of what makes Ben-Hur a good novel, but it has right feel for Spectacle, and for putting Spectacles together in the right way. Now, Troy is not on the level of Ben-Hur; but it is not so very bad as far as it goes. Aspects of it could have been done better; Troy was not as impressive a city as it could have been. But many of the representative scenes were well chosen: Paris with Helen, Hector with Andromache, the sailing of the Greek fleet, the fight between Hector and Achilles, Priam's plea for Hector's body, and so forth. Naturally, most of these were obvious choices; but the ambition of the movie led it to have at hand a good selection of obvious choices, and there's nothing wrong with that. The cast, as Stuttaford himself allows, did a reasonably good job; Sean Bean isn't quite what I'd imagine Odysseus to be, but then I am far more of the Trojan Party than most, and see Odysseus as a sneak who deserves respect only because Athena likes him. Some of the scenes between Hector and Andromache were excellent, and we would be lucky (given Hollywood, I'm sure it would be a matter of pure luck) if this were more common.

I am as distressed as Stuttaford is (at least, as I imagine he is) that there will be an entire generation of people who will believe the Trojan War lasted three weeks, that Menelaus and Agamemnon were killed in battle, that Achilles was in the Trojan Horse, that Paris and Hector were the only two sons of Priam, and that 'Hecuba' is just a funny name they hadn't heard before. But criticism of the rewriting of the plot is redundant; the bulk of it is due simply to the decision to portray the Trojan War in less than three hours. How does one go about giving at least a vague idea of the War in such a short time? There isn't anything to do but rewrite a great deal. Characters have to be cut out, timelines have to be distorted in every direction, and you have to decide seriously whether you want to show Andromache watching the Greeks throw her baby from the walls. And, while the rewriting was very Hollywood, it wasn't so bad as Stuttaford suggests. It's possible that it still attempted to do too much: at times Paris, Hector, and Achilles struggle a bit for center stage. But I think there is no doubt that this is a movie that gives many people the right basic impression, namely, that the Trojan War is worth their interest and time. My defense is a limited defense, but it is adequate for its work: Troy may not be a great movie, but it isn't a bad one either; it is a good movie.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

And You Thought It Was Just a Pretty Name....

George Berkeley in 1744 published a peculiar and fascinating philosophical work called Siris. He derived the name 'siris' from the Greek word meaning 'chain'. It is one of philosophy's great play-on-words, because in Siris we find two chains.

The first is a loose chain of reflections. Siris does not present a rigorous argument; it is a speculative work, not an argumentative one. This is not to say that there is no argumentation at all in Siris. The reflections occasionally present arguments for this or that, and the whole work can actually be considered a form of argumentation (which is slightly different from being an argument in the strict sense). The primary purpose of the work is not to constrain belief, but to inspire thought. In this respect it has affinities with his 1735 work, The Querist, which, while on a different topic (economics), was also primarily devoted to the inspiring of thought rather than the presentation of a rigorous argument. It did this by simply asking a long series of questions (hence the title, The Querist), most of which are rhetorical. Here is a sample:

QUERY 1 Whether there ever was, is, or will be, an industrious nation poor, or an idle rich?

2 Whether a people can be called poor, where the common sort are well fed, clothed, and lodged?

3 Whether the drift and aim of every wise State should not be, to encourage industry in its members? And whether those who employ neither heads nor hands for the common benefit deserve not to be expelled like drones out of a well-governed State?

4 Whether the four elements, and man's labour therein, be not the true source of wealth?

5 Whether money be not only so far useful, as it stirreth up industry, enabling men mutually to participate the fruits of each other's labour?

This genre derives, I suspect, from Sir Isaac Newton, who presented a set of queries in his Optics. Since Newton was interested in experiments rather than abstract reasoning, his queries are primarily ideas for research projects, but it is easy to see how the form could have been adapted. (If anyone has come across a more likely pedigree, let me know.) The querist genre has many useful advantages. It is flexible, since it allows the author considerable control over the discussion while allowing the reader considerable control over the precise details of the arguments. In effect, it breaks the reasoning down into a dialogue between author and reader by presenting just the starting points of thought. Another aspect of its flexibility is that it can be used to present both very tentative ideas and obvious common-sense conclusions, an effect of the continual use of questions. If some genres of writing are very good for presenting well-formed arguments (e.g., the standard philosophical essay), the querist genre is very good for presenting initiating ideas. As I noted above, it is more for inspiring thought than constraining belief.

With Siris Berkeley is doing much the same thing as he had already done in The Querist, but here he has chosen to use reflections rather than queries. This sacrifices some of the flexibility of the querist genre, but it gives Berkeley more control over the thought, and so is better suited for presenting topics that might be too complicated for presentation in simple querist form. This is precisely what Siris needs, for its topics are complicated. This brings us to the second chain.

The second chain is from tar-water to the Trinity. Siris covers the entire universe. By a surprisingly cogent line of reasoning moves from tar as a folk medicine through the causes of its efficacy to the basic causal principles order the universe, to God as the cause of this order, finally terminating in suggestive thoughts about philosophical approximations to the Trinity. As Berkeley describes the course of reasoning in his poem "On Tar":

Vain images possess the sensual mind,
To real agents and true causes blind.
But soon as intellect's bright sun displays
O'er the benighted orb his fulgent rays,
Delusive phantoms fly before the light,
Nature and truth lie open at the sight:
Causes connect with effects supply
A golden chain, whose radiant links on high
Fix'd to the sovereign throne from thence depend
And reach e'en down to tar the nether end.

It is, without doubt, an extraordinary, astonishing, and unique work.

I have decided to name my weblog 'Siris' for a number reasons. The first is that I have, like many who have been exposed to him, a profound affection for Berkeley's thought, even when I think he is completely wrong, and like the eccentric brilliance of Siris itself, my favorite out of all his works. The second is that I like the ambition of Berkeley's Siris: if I am going to have a blog, it will be one that's not afraid to cover everything philosophical from tar-water to the Trinity. The third is that the name seems appropriate given that I'll probably be posting a great deal related to my work in early modern philosophy, of which Berkeley is an eminent example. Besides, it just sounds easy on the ear.

As to those who like shorter postings, don't worry; they won't all be as long as this one!