On the nature of titles: a letter to His Grace, Colonel (ret.) Sir Edward Pearse, 1st Duke of Argylle, 12th Earl of Primbroke, KWL, OWR
Please forgive this unsolicited missive. I am writing you with a most urgent question on the nature of titles and, more importantly, the documentation one might require to rightfully claim such a title. My reason for the enquiry is as follows: I have recently determined that I have received a knighthood. Having recieved such an honour, I believe I have a legal claim to the title ‘Sir’.
Now while it is true I have no evidence for having received this knighthood (nor do I recall ever being knighted) I believe I actually am a knight. Since beliefs cannot be disproved (so long as one accepts that belief as a matter of faith) then there is, in fact, no proof I am not a knight.
Yet, as one steeped in the art of science, I acknowledge that this argument may not stand in the face of objective scrutiny. Further, I recognize the need for any theory to be rigorously tested. Therefore I set before you a mathematical proof following the course laid out so elegantly by Euclid in that most esteemed little manual: Elements of Geometry.
First we begin with an axiom, the truth of which is indisputable in that I know it to be true:
* Axiom #1: I have no recollection of my life before New Babbage.
Accepting this axiom I next offer the following propositions:
* Proposition 1: As I have no memory of a life before New Babbage, I therefore have no memory of not being knighted.
* Proposition 2: As I have no memory of not being knighted, it is therefore possible I was knighted.
* Proposition 3: We may thusly conclude there is a potential for two contradictory truths:
A) I was a knight and B) I was not a knight.
Here, Your Grace, we arrive at the crux of my argument. As the evidence clearly shows, I was as equally likely to have been a knight, as I was to have not been a knight in a previous life. Further, there is no basis upon which one might suppose I was not a knight. And if one were not to suppose I was not a knight then clearly I would be free to suppose I was a knight.
As you can see through this demonstration of mathematics and logic, while it may ‘feel right’ emotionally to believe I am a knight, it is more than just a subjective reality. It most clearly and indisputably is scientifically mandated. Therefore I salute you as –
Sir Emerson Lighthouse, NBE
PS: Note that I am not indicating I plan to use the title, merely that I reserve the right to use the title should the fancy strike me, EL