A note about Parmenides, Serverino and Kingsley and some photos of Fulbourn and Fulbourn Fen

Reading Parmenides under a crab-apple tree on Fulbourn Fen
Back in November 2016 I found myself deeply and unexpectedly engaged in an exploration of Parmenides. The first reason for this was due to becoming better acquainted with the poetry of Gary Whited and the poet himself via a mutual philosopher friend, Ed Mooney. Gary has spent a lifetime with Parmenides and is, himself, working on a translation of Parmenides fragmentary surviving poem, a draft of which he kindly shared with me. The second reason was the publication, for the first time in English, of the Italian philosopher, Emanuele Severino’s groundbreaking book called “The Essence of Nihilism” — a book which contains key foundational ideas of what has come to be called his neo-Parmenidean philosophy. I confess to have been profoundly (and persuasively) struck— and somewhat discombobulated — by what I discovered in both Parmenides thought and Severino’s interpretation of it. But experience has taught me that when I'm so powerfully struck by some new idea/world-view/philosophy or other (new to myself that is) it’s best just to sit quietly with it for a long time, meditating upon its meaning and consequences before even thinking about bringing it into public view. During the time since November 2016 I’ve also taken the opportunity to explore Peter Kingsley’s two interesting and challenging books on the subject “In the Dark Places of Wisdom” (2001) and “Reality” (2003). It was the second of these, along with Gary’s translation of Parmenides, that I was reading in the shade of a beautiful blossom covered crab-apple tree on Fulbourn Fen this afternoon — see the photo at the head of this post and a couple more in the selection below.

Well, it’s been over a year-and-a-half now since my first proper encounter with Parmenides (I'd first rather cursorily read him back in the late 1980s) and, if anything, I find I am becoming more and more deeply struck by and willing properly to explore what it seems he was attempting to help us experience first hand — namely that everything is one. Quite naturally it’s a theme about which a Unitarian minister such as myself is going to be very predisposed towards but Parmenides’ aim is to help someone like me experience that insight in a way that goes radically beyond the usual, merely intellectual, rational affirmation of the unity of all things that someone like me (very much a child of the eighteenth-century rational Enlightenment) has been used to making — and that’s the real difficulty and challenge. Now I’m simply not yet at all sure how exactly this is going to play out in my own work as a minister but I know it will in some important fashion; so I won’t say anything more here except to say that this post is, therefore, simply a statement of intent along the lines of “watch this space” . . .

Anyway, it was another beautiful spring day today and I wanted (and, in fact, needed) to read Parmenides and Kingsley somewhere out of the city and amongst trees, spring flowers, birds and blossom so I took myself off to a favourite haunt of mine, Fulbourn Fen. On the way I stopped off to walk around the churchyard of St Vigor's in the village of Fulbourn before spending a good couple of hours on the fen itself mostly under those lovely apple trees. I came back via the Roman Road and took the final photograph of Cambridge from the top of the Gog Magogs before spinning my way home on my trusty Dursley-Pedersen.

All photos taken with a Fuji X100F. 
Just click on a photo to enlarge it.    
  
St Vigor's graveyard, Fulbourn

St Vigor's graveyard, Fulbourn

St Vigor's graveyard, Fulbourn

St Vigor's graveyard, Fulbourn

St Vigor's graveyard, Fulbourn

St Vigor's graveyard, Fulbourn

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The woods by Fulbourn Fen

The crab-apple trees on Fulbourn Fen

Crab-apple blossom on Fulbourn Fen

The crab-apple trees on Fulbourn Fen

A view from Fulbourn Fen

Hawthorn blossom on Fulbourn Fen

Hawthorn blossom on Fulbourn Fen

View from Fulbourn across to Fleam Dyke

Footpath signs on Fulbourn Fen

Track running along the edge of Fulbourn Fen

Looking down onto Cambridge from the top of the God Magog Hills

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