28 September 2009

A collection of rants, being the Second of several

More ire and fire, this time dated to the day and month.

* * *

To be authentic is to steadfastly hold on to one’s rational values regardless of their popularity or lack thereof. The intelligent person of integrity will not compromise his morality – that is, a code of ethics derived from objective reality through the use of his reason – for the crude purpose of obtaining approval or validation, even from those whom he holds in esteem and affection.

Indeed this kind of authenticity requires great moral and intellectual courage, and can at times reinforce the sense of loneliness often felt by the independent thinker.


26 September 2009

A collection of rants, being the First of several

Here, dear reader, are reproduced for your amusement (and, dare I hope, your edification) a selection of mini-essays penned in my early youth upon the delightfully tactile rough cream paper of handmade notebooks. In those days my zeal burned hotter, undiluted by a cool, objective distance from my subject matter. It was a time when I mistook repetitiveness for assertiveness, hectoring for arguing, moralism for morality. The somewhat screeching tone of these essays does embarrass me now, though many of the principles held forth still retain my loyalty and devotion. Those were impetuous days when I was more likely to be scratching out early drafts with a pen rather than tapping them out straight-to-keyboard as I currently do (my romantic pretensions evaporated long ago). I would like to think that I have mellowed since then. Old age does that to you.

This first collection of essays was presumably written in early/mid 2007. I didn’t start dating my essays until late 2007, when I decided that it would be useful to have a record of the progress and evolution of both my writing style/technique and my ideas. The essays are presented in chronological order – that is, in the order of when I wrote them in my notebooks.

25 September 2009

On thinking well and the scientific method of acquiring knowledge

I have little mechanical aptitude. The extent of my skills stretch as far as putting back on a naughty bicycle chain that has taken leave of its chaperoning gear. Even then the necessary sequence of – for me, awkward – actions takes me a good five minutes. Clearly I have long ago diverged from that evolutionary branch of the hominid family tree which eventually produced the grease monkey. Still, I admire the rigour that mechanics and engineers apply to the performance of their craft, especially if it is in a high stress, high stakes context. Like aircraft construction and maintenance, for example. One misplaced part, one malfunctioning component, one small structural flaw, and the chances of catastrophe fatally increase.

If only we would apply similarly exacting standards of attention and discipline to our thought processes.