I believe that with my background, the assets that I bring to the table through my life experiences are very valuable to the town. I think having someone of my qualifications is important for a council to have whether it's me of someone with a background of mine.
I don't deliberately select my friends because of their background. If I enjoy someone's company, then that's all that counts. I have many different friends who aren't from the same background as me and we get on really well -- it's brilliant.
I want to make it clear before we begin that I think your purpose is to learn and mine is to help you to learn, or to make you learn, though I doubt either of you has to be made. I have very little interest in writing out progress reports on you, or sticking to form charts, or anything else that interferes with our basic purposes. If there is anything you want to learn and have the necessary background to handle, I'll be ready to help you whether or not it is something that formally falls among the things I'm supposed to teach you. If you don't have the background, I'll help you get it. In return, I want you to do something for me. It's been many years since I was last a tutor, so I expect you to point out to me when I fail to observe some ritual that Mr. Quince holds essential. Fair enough?
Fulfilled desires, like pleasures (even of the intrinsic kind), are states of achievement rather than default states. For instance, one has to work at satiating oneself, while hunger comes naturally. After one has eaten or taken liquid, bowel and bladder discomfort ensues quite naturally and we have to seek relief. One has to seek out pleasurable sensations, in the absence of which blandness comes naturally. The upshot of this is that we must continually work at keeping suffering (including tedium) at bay, and we can do so only imperfectly. Dissatisfaction does and must pervade life. There are moments, perhaps even periods, of satisfaction, but they occur against a background of dissatisfied striving. Pollyannaism may cause most people to blur out this background, but it remains there.
I entered Princeton University as a graduate student in 1959, when the Department of Mathematics was housed in the old Fine Hall. This legendary facility was marvellous in stimulating interaction among the graduate students and between the graduate students and the faculty. The faculty offered few formal courses, and essentially none of them were at the beginning graduate level. Instead the students were expected to learn the necessary background material by reading books and papers and by organising seminars among themselves. It was a stimulating environment but not an easy one for a student like me, who had come with only a spotty background. Fortunately I had an excellent group of classmates, and in retrospect I think the "Princeton method" of that period was quite effective.
She had come to that state where the horror of the universe and its smallness are both visible at the same time-the twilight of the double vision in which so many elderly people are involved. If this world is not to our taste, well, at all events, there is Heaven, Hell, Annihilation-one or other of those large things, that huge scenic background of stars, fires, blue or black air. All heroic endeavour, and all that is known as art, assumes that there is such a background, just as all practical endeavour, when the world is to our taste, assumes that the world is all. But in the twilight of the double vision, a spiritual muddledom is set up for which no high-sounding words can be found; we can neither act nor refrain from action, we can neither ignore nor respect Infinity.