Two of the statues in the middle of Edinburgh are showing signs of people rubbing them - its seems to be an increasing habit in many cities. Once an area has been rubbed a few times it changes colour and invites others to rub it and so it continues. The council has blacked over one several times but the rubbing persists.
Greyfriar's Bobby - the statue is a common stop on walking tours and the story is told in guidebooks. The statue is of a dog which remained by the grave of his owner for years after he died and so he is known as a symbol of faithfulness. Plus the statue is sweet and the nose easy to reach.
But I was surprised at the other statue that has been receiving strokes - the toe of David Hume. I don't think most of the people stroking his toe have any idea who he was - they just stroke it because it has been stroked. The plinth only says 'Hume' - no first name and no indication of who he was. I always point out the statue when I'm walking past with visitors and only my former colleagues know who he is. David Hume was an eminent philosopher who worked in Edinburgh. He has been described as the most important philosopher who wrote in English.
Recently I mentioned the 2 stroked statues to a former colleague when I met him for dinner in the middle of town - a professor of Political Philosophy from my old university. He was delighted with the story and he went to take a photo of Hume's stroked toes and said that Hume would appreciate the contrast because one of his 'revolutionary' theories was that we should not assume that all decisions are based on logic and need to also think about the impact of emotion and context.
Given that these 2 photos will no be used in introduction to political theory lectures in Auckland, I thought I should feature them as a pair here too.
Looking forward to all kinds of pairs - whatever the decision making behind them was