26 September 2009--It's a long drive from Plockton to Edinburgh, about half the length of the country,
familiar enough--along Loch Duich, past Eilean Donan Castle and the Jac-O-Bite restaurant, up Glenshiel, down Glengarry,
through Fort William, up Glen Coe, across Rannoch Moor, Crianlarich, Callander, Stirling...all the way resolving never
to do it in one go again. Will likely be thinking the same the next time I do it. It takes us almost six hours door-to-door.
Frustrating traffic around Fort William, long queues behind slow drivers--slower than Mr Tattie Heid!
--who refuse to pull over in lay-bys to let traffic clear. Doesn't help, either, that I miss a turn and wander through
several unfamiliar parts of Edinburgh.
Soon enough (well, not soon enough, really) we are having a monstrous burger in the Cambridge Bar, and then a pint in the Oxford Bar, hangout of Inspector Rebus. We cross Princes Street, where a controversial tramway is in the process of being installed, and head up the Mound. Then we're on the Royal Mile, touching David Hume's toe. Hume [Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy] was an 18th-century philosopher who took a decidedly empirical approach to human nature, arguing that there is no objective morality or metaphysic truth, and rejecting superstition (including, by inference, religion, which made him unpopular in some circles). My first impression of Hume's philosophy is that it advocates reason over passion; it seems ironic to me, then, that he seems to state quite clearly that there is no objective reason, save what is guided by passion, or human nature. In any case, he undoubtedly would have been appalled to know that 21st-century philosophy students at the University visit his statue at exam time to touch his toe for luck. Not me...I just touch it because it demands to be touched, dangling over his plinth like that. Probably shouldn't--there are concerns that the toe will shortly wear away. Probably a good way to spread flu, too. Hope I haven't jinxed myself.
We walk down the Mile, past the hideous Scottish Parliament, then around and along to some unfamiliar neighborhoods, pleasantly not quite lost. Then we are near the university, up past Sandy Bell's and the Museum, and down to the Bow Bar. Home at last. The Bow, of course, closes at the very civilized hour of 11:00pm, so we are on our way home at a reasonable hour. Reason being guided by human passion, we shortly find ourselves in the Cumberland Bar for a nightcap. Our empirical observations of the denizens therein confirm that there is indeed no objective morality or metaphysic truth.