I woke up at 7.30 in the morning to play tennis with Jay at what was meant to be 9, but was pushed back to 9.30. Today was one of the best sessions I've had with him; we were both enjoying a good rhythm and engaged in a couple of long-ish rallies. Things were going so well that, as I set up for a forehand and hit the ball right in the sweet spot with a powerful whack, instead of the usual sound produced by the contact between the ball and the strings, I heard the unmistakeable sharp shriek of a string that had just snapped.
It was very disappointing. Worse still, the nearest place to get it restrung is Hobbs Sport or whatever, right in the middle of town, and it's probably the worst place to go to get one's racquet restrung. They don't have their own stringer which means that they are unable to offer expert advice on what string(s) I should get; they didn't even understand the concept of using two different strings on one racquet the previous time I had my racquet restrung there. To exacerbate matters, their stringer only comes in on Mondays and Wednesdays, and for some reason, I am only able to collect it on Wednesday. The problem is, I want to play tomorrow with Martin, and while he said he'd bring some extra racquets (coincidentally, he also snapped his string today!), it just won't be the same playing without my racquet. Of course, it is better than nothing, but still. I usually put my racquet in the space between a wall and a little chest of drawers, on top of which I have my hair dryer, and after drying my hair tonight, I glanced at that space and felt a sense of panic when I saw that my racquet wasn't there. When I remembered that my string had snapped, I actually felt a bit sad.
I really should have brought one of the two racquets that I have in Singapore here as a spare; that's the whole purpose of having multiple racquets. I just didn't think that the string that I chose here would break. In fact, I am pretty sure that I went for something durable. I think it is perhaps worth walking 41 minutes to a tennis centre where I can get actual professionals to advise me on what strings to get. Still, the thought of walking all the way there...I should get a bicycle, but 1) I am scared of cycling on the road; 2) cycling is so unglamorous; and 3) I really don't like cycling. Cambridge's lack of proper public transport is really frustrating.
French Open final
Garbine Muguruza played Serena Williams for the trophy. I really like Muguruza, and I have for some time now, probably since last year's Wimbledon. I love how pretty her groundstrokes and service motion are, I love her hard-hitting from the baseline, I love her aggression, and she has incredible shot-placement. I really wanted her to win, but because she was up against Serena Williams, holder of 21 grand slam titles, I thought it was unlikely that she would win.
Imagine my pleasant surprise when I found out that she'd won, 7-5 6-4. What a wonderful result! I don't dislike Serena, but it is so boring when the same person wins all the slams. It's partly for this reason that I hope Djokovic loses to Murray; and obviously, the other reason is that I don't like Djokovic. The men's final should be interesting just for the slightly uncertain outcome and definitely not for the tennis (I don't find slugfests from the baseline featuring 20-shot rallies of tentative points particularly interesting), though I think Djokovic is going to win. However, I really don't want him to complete the career slam!
Anyway, yay for Muguruza! I hope that she becomes a real contender and doesn't go the way of the likes of Ana Ivanovic and even Petra Kvitova.
Grantchester and Hans Kelsen
The Jurisprudence group walked to Grantchester where we discussed Kelsen at the Orchard Tea Room. When I say 'we', I really mean them; I didn't read the chapters because I was feeling fucking unmotivated and sian (still am) so I really just went for the company, Grantchester and scones. I heard that the walk is beautiful but it was just a lot of grass and mud and cow shit on the path; I had to concentrate really hard to avoid stepping on the shit. Nonetheless, many famous people have traversed this path long before me: Virginia Woolf, Ludwig Wittgenstein, E. M. Forster, John Maynard Keynes, Bertrand Russell, just to name a few. When I think about following in their footsteps in quite a literal and physical sense, I am quite struck by the richness of the academic tradition and culture that I have somehow found myself in.
Anyway, the walk was nice, the conversation was nice, but the discussion was um...I was really sleepy and more or less stopped focusing on what they were saying halfway through. I literally listened to the first half of the first sentence of what everyone said, and then tuned out. Strangely, I woke up after dinner at La Mimosa, and was actually engaged when John, Josh, Raffael and I went to the bar at the Varsity Hotel and talked more Kelsen and some philosophy. I was informed that Kelsen thinks there's only one basic norm, and that the domestic legal system is subordinate to the international legal system, which is subordinate to the basic norm. I don't think it makes much sense; perhaps it does logically, but I honestly do not see the point of legal philosophy that does not match up to what happens in real life. But I don't care for this much, and so I won't elaborate.
Anyway, we started discussing real philosophy...or rather, Josh and Raffael kept discussing Kelsen, John and I got bored and started our own conversation, and then Josh declared that he's solipsistic, and the conversation turned to the question of, well, the existence of the universe. I shared (and still share) Raffael's view that science provides the best answer right now, that it can be explained by the Big Bang, and that questions of a creator or god or a deity or a higher power are irrelevant to the discussion. But John also made a good point when he said that even if the Big Bang explains the existence of the universe and of human life, there is still a further (or rather, prior) question of why the Big Bang happened. That should at least leave open the possibility of a god/deity/higher power/etc.
I am more inclined towards the idea that the universe exists due to pure chance, that things just happened, and that there doesn't need to be an explanation beyond that. It doesn't solve the existentialist question in a meaningful way, but then again, I don't really see why there has to be meaning in everything. To me, this urgency or desire to inject meaning into existence is quite self-serving. It is somehow counter-intuitive or deeply unappealing to most people to think that there isn't a deeper meaning to their existence than just pure luck, but I don't see why there should be a meaningful explanation other than to affirm our special status. At the same time, I can't square this inclination with philosophical ideas about human nature, ideas relating to autonomy, dignity, the will.
I am too tired to properly think this through, let alone articulate it. I'll end this by saying that Saturday was fun, and I will go to bed.