Kafka’s Very Hungry Beetle

February 21, 2017

Franz Kafka’s Very Hungry Beetle

By Peter Thompson (with apologies to Eric Carle)


For my sister Greta


In the light of the moon a little man lay in his bed

On Monday morning the warm sun came up and – pop!- instead of a man there was a very hungry beetle.

He wondered what was wrong with him and started to look for some food.

On Tuesday his little sister was very upset and she brought him some milk with little pieces of bread, but he was still hungry

On Wednesday his sister brought him a selection of things: half-rotten vegetables and bones from the evening meal, but he was still hungry.

On Thursday, after her work, his sister brought him some mouldy old cheese that he had rejected before but that he now liked very much. He ate through it happily, but he was still hungry.

On Friday his sister brought him some old bread with butter and salt on it, but he was still hungry.

On Saturday his sister brought him some raisins, some almonds, some more cheese, another piece of dry bread, a bowl of water, some old white sauce, but he was still hungry.

The next day was Sunday again and he tried to eat through a nice, fresh, green leaf but it made him feel sick.

Now he wasn’t hungry any more and rather than being a very hungry beetle he felt as though he was wasting away. His sister didn’t come with any more food.

He withdrew into himself, into a small house or a cocoon and there he died. The cleaning lady threw him in the bin.

But now at last his sister was free and before anyone noticed she pushed her way out of the flat into the sunshine and fresh air where she became a beautiful butterfly!



Labour, the NHS Crisis and Brexit

February 12, 2017

Labour could solve its problems over Article 50 by saying that they will only vote it through the Houses of Parliament if the government comes up with the £350 million a week for the NHS that were promised during the referendum campaign. One good turn deserves another.

Trump state visit

January 30, 2017

If Trump does come on a state visit I hope he is given a very, very, warm welcome….

Trump, Erdogan and Brexit

January 29, 2017

This is what happens when you elect saloon bar experts to positions of executive power. The chaos and counter-productiovity is the natural outcome of rhetorical policy making. The consequences of Brexit mean that the UK will have to keep quiet about the policies of all manner of regimes as the Prime Minister goes around the world trying to strike bilateral trade deals with people like Trump and Erdogan. It shows exactly why leaving the EU will not hand power back to the UK but give it into the hands of tin-pot dictators everywhere.


January 22, 2017

Yesterday I suddenly got nearly a thousand views of my piece on Quantum Mechanics from a few years ago. I wonder why? Was it quoted somewhere?

Belief and Beyond

January 21, 2017

This was the gig:


Hello Again

January 21, 2017

I have been very bad at keeping this blog going. My early retirement in 2015 has proved to be quite a struggle. It is interesting how we become wedded to a particular view of our own role in the world as well as to a view of the world. I have had to do lots of rethinking, lots of recalibrating everything to do with my life and what I hope to do over the coming months is to talk about some of that recalibration in both philosophical but also personal terms.  I have the feeling that for the first time in my life I have become an adult and although that will probably be proved to be untrue as I write and lay out some of my thinking, it is at least a starting point.

The reason that I thought there would be a good idea to get this going again is that I spoke this evening at a pre-concert meeting at the Royal Festival Hall in London on Ernst Bloch and his philosophical take on the works of Beethoven and in particular Fidelio.  I used to be a professional musician and in many ways it was the musical element of Ernst Bloch’s philosophy that drew me to him.

In the context of Beethoven’s Fidelio his chapter “The Philosophy of Music” in the Spirit of Utopia as well as his comments on Beethoven’s Fidelio in the Principle of Hope (in the decades between those two works you can see how his thought develops) is an excellent analysis of the way in which the human animal is driven by feelings of hope which are older than and give rise to all sorts of cultural phenomena. We are animals of excess. We made love rather than just copulate. We dance rather than just walk. We sing rather than just speak. We make music rather than simply just be. It was Nietzsche who said that without music life would be a mistake and sitting at the concert tonight certainly  brought that quote powerfully to mind.

It is late now and nobody will read this anyway until I get my stats back up for this blog but I thought I would at least make a start and hope that my good intentions do not pave the way to hell. Or if they do, then at least I hope it is good fun down there.