Letters, Saturday, January 3, 2015

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Find answers to life in philosophy

A GROUP of relatives have been Christmas shopping and are standing in the bus queue looking forward to going home.

 One relative leaves the queue for a few minutes and is horrified to watch helplessly as the other relations are crushed to death by a lorry.

 A family is having a lovely holiday abroad until one of the children vanishes without trace.

 Some of our fellow human beings take delight in beheading journalists and aid workers, whose sole purpose is to do good.

 Other people burst into a school to massacre the children and teachers.

 A tsunami strikes the other side of the world and thousands are swept out to sea and drowned.

 A typhoon hits another country and just as the people are getting back on their feet a second typhoon decides to pay them a visit.

 If you find life on earth hard to understand, please realise that you are not alone and that you can find consolation in philosophy.

 One of my favourite philosophers is Albert Camus. He said that human existence is absurd. This absurdity arises out of our attempt to make sense of a senseless world.

 I am quite satisfied with Camus’s view, although I suspect some will find it unpalatable and that it might make them angry.

 A few Sunderland people attend a flourishing philosophy group, which exist in Newcastle. At this group I once said that Sunderland is not a proper city because there is so little interest shown in philosophy in Sunderland.

John Watson,


Not against law

WE believe that the following news is of interest to allotment gardeners and parish councillors.

 It has come to our notice that a Mr David Johnson is emailing local councils across Britain, accusing them of “breaking the law” by using traditional measurements such as rods and poles to describe gardening allotments.

 More than 150 councils have been contacted so far, Mr Johnson does not disclose that he is not a local resident.

 These emails commence under the Freedom of Information Act, asking for allotment prices, but then switch context and use deadlines under the FOI Act to force a change to metric units.

 Some councils have removed rods and poles as a result of these emails.

 We want to assure councils and allotment holders that Mr Johnson is wrong.

 No legislation has been passed to outlaw traditional units for allotments.

 When drafting metric regulations in the mid-1990s, the government exempted “transactions by specification”, of which allotment contracts are an example.

 Rods, poles, perches, yards and lugs have existed for hundreds of years in Britain, and we hope that councils and allotment holders continue to use them for centuries to come.

John Gardner,


British Weights and Measures Association,

Eastney Road,