[Amended from Original]
Matters are slowly taking shape. Rekindling earlier ideas in recent work has given birth to thought concerning tensions between the public and the private, the ethics of privacy and of conscience. To look at Marvell and Privacy seems perfect. There is plenty in the whole idea of Privacy.
I wonder if there evolved a language of privacy and of conscience. What about the notion of public as well, which is surely more complicated than the opposite of private? Defining privacy needs a lot of care, and no surprise that an edited collection of essays on ‘Privacy’ involve relevant chapters by a sociologist, a philosopher, a psychologist and experts in law. Words connected with privacy involve solitude, secrecy, autonomy, anonymity, censorship and confidentiality. It also reads interestingly in Milton’s Samson Agonistes: ‘That grounded maxim so rife and celebrated in the mouths of wisest men; that to the public good private respects must yield.’ Privacy relates closely to the modern day, with the ‘information age’, as it may now be termed, becoming the closest revolution in the wide distribution of available news and information since the formation of cheap print in the seventeenth century.
Last Wednesday, upon a hunch, I travelled up to Edinburgh to see Dr. Fox during his office hour. What a wonderful man. Courteous, elegant, unassuming, very interested and extremely helpful. I narrated the process of this year, and how this current crop of ideas had come to fruition, and asked a few small questions from which quite a lot materialised. I explained my hope to engrain a PhD topic out of the current project; as if to prepare the bigger picture, and for this year to write a smaller one. To this, he aspired confidence; he recommended that the ideas were definitely advanced enough to form the basis of an institutional application. Yes, such a gracious, charming man, who invited me to contact him again if ever I needed further help. I could not help, in the nature of my respect for him and his help, if he would sign my essay print-out. Dear man, he was modestly embarrassed, and delighted to. While normal people go for celebs, I relish academic paraphernalia.