Hello world

My first post - what is this blog for?
Posted on May 6, 2021
Tags: personal, quietism


Welcome to my blog. This is my first post.

My experience of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the possibility of the closure of my favourite blog, slatestarcodex, were the catalysts for the creation of this site. I realised that I had come to depend on slatestarcodex as a sort of oasis amidst the desert of the contemporary internet, which is dominated by walled gardens, paywalls, advertising, and manufactured outrage (which all fall under the broader category of “people trying to sell things”, whether that is a physical object, software, or a narrative).

Until the pandemic I had largely been a passive consumer of information on the internet (see the 1% Rule), but a so-called “hard lockdown” imposed by my country’s government gave me the time to recall that there are things I care about, and to ponder the importance of recording my thoughts - both to satisfy an unfulfilled desire to write, and as a sort of therapy of the soul.

What this site is for

The writer-philosopher Montaigne is credited with the creation of the modern essay. I find myself drawn to the Renaissance humanists such as Montaigne (without claiming expert knowledge of their work), and I too wish to write essays, if for no other reason than to keep my particular madness at bay; a madness which is not unique to me, and the primary symptom of which is the desire to write.

I don’t know why I experience this urge. It may have a similar origin as whatever impulse drives people to create visual art, or seek out the company of others - broadly, of course, the answer to these questions is “evolutionary psychology” but in practice this is too vague to be helpful.

It is also possible that this desire originates instead in the mental analogue of the processes that cause flatulence (in this scenario the internet is an elaborate series of tubes designed to deliver various smells to our minds). This is also acceptable to me. Regardless, I hope that this site will go some way towards reminding myself what, exactly, it is that I believe.

This blog may therefore be seen as an example of the therapeutic approach to philosophy, as per the later Wittgenstein - I enjoy imagining various possible perspectives of things (sometimes to my detriment) and I hope, perhaps naively, that keeping a record of my more careful thoughts will help me to mitigate the corrosive effects of excessive self-doubt and scrupulosity.

I also suffer from an over active mind that jumps from one subject to another, delighting in the novelty and greedily sucking up all the knowledge I can, before flitting off again to another topic, without having properly assimilated the other - in other words, I have a wandering mind.