The Worrisome Business Of Logical Consistency


Sunshine Every Day

The year was perhaps 1938. I was 7 years old then, living in a New York City apartment with my mother, my father and my baby sister. The location was a plebian building with the august address of 35 Hamilton Place in Washington Heights. The upper west side of  Manhattan. Bordering Harlem. We lived on the third floor – apartment 303, I think.

The apartment was small. I shared a bedroom with my three year old sister. Her name was Faith but, because I called her Sistie, so did the world.

In this room I would go into a reverie with my toys. Building blocks. Model cars. My favorites were small, caste metal airplane replicas. The airplane body was perhaps three inches long. Pinned between my fingers, and held aloft at eye level above the apartment floor, wings outspread, it moved majestically through the air. A purring engine sound passed my lips as I guided the airplane on its path. But my eyes saw no guiding fingers. The fingers were invisible to me. For me the airplane was soaring unaided through clouds, miles above the ground. And as I watched it from outside, I was also inside the airplane experiencing the thrill of flying. The plenipotency of God is in the mind of a child.

My mother came into the room. “Why are you playing inside on such a beautiful day? It’s a sunny day. Why don’t you play outside in the sunshine?” she said.

Hearing this, I saw no element of reason in her words. Isn’t there sunshine most days? There would be sunshine days aplenty for going outside. That was my opinion.

I hadn’t taken much notice of the quality of days. If it rained, that too was a sunshine day – and especially if it snowed.

But my mother well knew the quality of days.

The Worrisome Business of Logical Consistency

One day at the age of four I was home with my mother. She was doing chores.

I complained that she should play with me. She explained that washing our clothes, cooking our food, shopping for our needs – the things that had to be done so that I could play all day – did not just happen by themselves; they needed her to do them. She wasn’t able to play with me all the time. She couldn’t be in two places at once.

I saw the logic. But I preferred not to know it. I turned away – angry that she should burden me with the worrisome business of rational consistency, angry that she should place such a burden on my shoulders as the logic of reality.