11. 6 November 1985
Many thanks for your Sunday letter. It makes me feel my age. I can now deal only in clear and distinct concepts such as the knight's move in chess, and can't manage even those (as the deletion demonstrates) all that well. Chess problems present problems; crossword puzzles puzzle me. All the rest is a faint thin piping heard from over the hill, and quite often round the bend as well. I can't read a 'thought' like Whale's "an animal made in the image of God and therefore not an animal at all" without reaching for my harpoon-gun. Who ever heard such degrading drivel? What are we to make of a concept x such that an entity has only to be x to be, also, what it is not, and further, simultaneously, not to be what it is, in a general nonconformist ecstasy of being and not being, as required? Or try analogues such as 'a jelly moulded in the shape of a teddy bear and therefore not a jelly at all' praise be. In a civilized and truly god-fearing society, anyone who used 'therefore' in such a (non)sense would be arrested and taken away in a plain van and on their way to the cells people would throw stones at them.
Love as ever, E.