“Point of view” from Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie was, and is, an extremely successful writer. Few would argue that she had a certain amount of insight into the behaviour of humanity, even if it was the behaviour of a particular class of people.
I was surprised to come across the following passage in her autobiography:
Point of view. The point of view of a child. We all knew it once but we’ve travelled so far away from it that it’s difficult to get back there again. I remember seeing my own grandson Mathew when he must have been, I suppose, about two and a half. He did not know I was there. I was watching him from the top of the stairs. He walked very carefully down the stairs. He was muttering to himself, saying: ‘This is Mathew going down stairs. This is Mathew. Mathew is going down stairs. This is Mathew going down stairs.’
I wonder if we all start life thinking of ourselves, as soon as we can think of ourselves at all, as a separate person, as it were, from the one observing. Did I say to myself once, ‘This is Agatha in her party sash going down to the dining-room.’ It is as though the body in which we have found our spirit lodged is at first strange to us. An entity, we know its name, we are on terms with it, but are not as yet identified fully with it. We are Agatha going for a walk, Mathew going down stairs. We see ourselves rather than _feel_ ourselves.
And then one day the next stage of life happens. Suddenly it is no longer ‘This is Mathew going down stairs.’ Suddenly it has become _I_ am going down stairs. The achievement of ‘I’ is the first step in the progress of a personal life.
(Christie, Agatha; An Autobiography, Collins, 1977, isbn 0-00-0-216012-9 p65 )
I am surprised, because of the insight I think it shows. I won’t attempt to relate it to any of the theories of child development or the human psyche, I think that would be to miss the point. Christie says:
  • “The achievement of ‘I’ is the first step in the progress of a personal life.”
and I think she has a point.
I wonder if the next steps are:
  • “Becoming aware of ‘I’ and assessing its behaviour and it’s effect on others”
  • “Taking conscious steps to influence how ‘I’ think and behave.”
It’s amazing where one can find insights! Maybe regaining the “child” point of view has even more point than I thought?

“Communication is a problem to be answered”

and I’m sure 10cc were right, even if they didn’t mean communications between computers!

Noreen bought a new laptop yesterday. Ironically enough, it was purchased because the old one had a faulty wireless adapter and had a problem somewhere in the comms software stack. Being old, it seemed like it was better value to replace it (and get all her data streamed across) than spend more money on a 4 year old machine.
Connecting it to the router was no problem (enter the “key” and that was it). Connecting to eMail was no problem either (having all the details in a “little black book” helps. And if anyone wonders, isn’t black, it isn’t a book, and I’m not going to tell you what it is, where it is or what else it contains!). I noticed that the wireless connection “dropped” once, but put it down to gremlins. Connecting to the existing wireless printer proved much more of a problem. The instructions say that I may have a problem with the firewall. Well, that may be so, but I disabled it for the installation. I also noticed that the wireless connection is “dropping” quite a lot.
Yesterday evening, Noreen and the girls were using the internet on the new machine. Everything works well, when it works which isn’t all the time. The signal strength is reported as varying from “Good” down to “Poor”. Other things (like this laptop) connected to the same router have no problems. I guess it’s back to Anthony, the fellow who supplied the laptop, on Tuesday, after the break.

Setting up eMail accounts – capchas

I’ve just finished helping my wife set up some eMail accounts. Well, I did one and she did two after I had shown her. Such a simple task, but a little tedious. I’m glad I don’t have to do loads of them. And of course, it’s made that bit more tricky by having a “capcha” in the middle to prevent bots from creating loads of accounts automatically. I understand the need for them, but I do find them irritating. My character recognition doesn’t always agree with the machines!

Cleaning, exam marking and contemplation

The two tasks today have been spring-cleaning and marking exams.

Spring cleaning is something that we do traditionally at this time of the year. It’s a chore, but it can be fun. It’s important to realise that things are scruffy and that clearing them up is a good thing.
Marking exams was just one of those things which needs to be done. It earns an honest shilling and I’m good at it (though I do get bored).
And contemplation… it’s a beautiful day. I think I will go for a longish walk this evening. I’ve also realised that some pent-up anger I was feeling towards some people really served no useful purpose. Unfortunately, it was being angry about something else that made me realise this. Anger is such a useless emotion (except perhaps when it leads to immediate action). I’m not saying I’ve got rid of the feelings, but I think I am on the way to disposing of them.