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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

polished pair

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.

I wasn't at all surprised that people were stroking the nose of 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






15 comments:

Sian said...

I'd heard about people stroking Bobby. But not Hume..and I love what your friend had to say on the subject. It changed my way of looking at it..because I'd been reading, thinking who would want to stroke someone's toes?

A great pair

iHanna said...

Love these kinds of "noticings" in your town, seeing things that others might not notice and pairing them up like that. Thanks for sharing the stories.

Lady Ella said...

Lovely, fun and thought-provoking pair. Like the pics!

Fiona@Staring at the Sea said...

What an interesting pairing. I really like the changing colours across Hume's toes, whereas it just looks like a bit of a black is missing on Bobby's nose.

Ruth said...

I'm not sure why anyone would want to stroke a toe ....! There's statue of Margot Fonteyn inside the front door at White Lodge (lower school of The Royal Ballet) and the kids all touch her finger for luck. I fully expected it to drop off one day!

Maggie said...

An interesting story. I think I would definitely want to stroke Bobby's nose.

Patio Postcards said...

Perfect Perfect Perfect - I know about Greyfriar's Bobby, my Gran told us the story & my Mother loved the Disney movie about him. When I saw the David Hume toes, I though oh, why does he have a statue - I know someone in Britain named David Hume & trust me he's no philosopher ... really liked that quote about assuming,logic, decisions, emotions oh what a mix!

Karen said...

Both were unfamiliar stories for me, although I did know that David Hume was a philosopher. I have friends who did rubbings of grave markers when they were in England. Two of their prints were enlarged and framed in their home. Can't imagine doing a toe rubbing.

marshaleith said...

what an interesting pair! I will have to see if this happens to the statues in our city too!

Miriam said...

A beautiful and interesting pair this week Helena. It reminded me of rubbing the feet of the Bronze statue of St. Peter in the Vatican, 'because we could' I do love the revolutionary theory though.

Barbara said...

I always loved the story about Greyfriars Bobby, I remember studying David Hume when I did my OU course.

alexa said...

I like your professor's thinking! and how interesting that your pair is going to be spreading across the globe! I hope you get an honourable mention :).

Missus Wookie said...

I like how your pair noticing will be travelling the globe to introduce people to both stories and Hume's theories too.

Louise H said...

Love that these photos will be used the other side of the globe, AND that you noticed they had both been 'rubbed'. I shall have to look out for that in future x

Sandie said...

I love the story behind these two photos and the fact you have been observant enough to recognise the rubbing. I made a point of visiting Greyfriers Bobby when in Edinburgh. What a great pair, if I revisit Edinburgh I will look for David Hume and remember this post.