A Northern Intellectual
Do you choose who you are? Anyone who reads these blogs will know that I identify as a Lancastrian, football and cricket loving, middle-of-the-road Anglican; physicist, philosophical dualist, centrist politically with a liberal core but respect for tradition; the last Victorian and the first baby boomer, a Bob Dylan fan who loves the imagery of language and appropriation/assimilation in art, more an integrator than a differentiator while expecting nothing to have an ultimately logical answer; with engineers and businessmen who find their world both necessary and meaningless; in other words, I identify with the power of paradox. Is it what’s happened to me in life that’s left me like this or was I like it from the start?
I still have the accent of my home territory, despite having lived only twenty of my seventy-two years there. Many northerners in the south lose theirs. I’m not aware of having made any conscious effort to keep it, but there again I do like having it. I could as easily gone on the humanities side but nobody who has been fortunate enough to read Physics can ever regret it. I pursued a business career, successfully until it inevitably ended in failure, a result either of my roundedness or my quirkiness. I’ve written a novel, a family saga, which I was happy with, though bounded in my place and time, which tried to show characters who took everything with them.
None of my identifiers are unique. The number of people who share all of them, temporal and philosophical, probably number of order 10,000, maybe a millionth of the world’s population. There’s no point pretending I have the only valid perspective of the world. So it’s important to understand and not judge others. I must put myself in their shoes, something which today’s orthodoxy is close to useless at. Maybe it has been ever thus.
So I’ll continue to see myself as a northern intellectual, looking over from the house next door, a bit like the Manchester Guardian before it chose to lose its accent. I feel I have no other choice that I’m prepared to make. I think I was born this way.