I Am Not Above Preening

Well, this has certainly been an invigorating twenty-four hours or so. I must express my thanks to Dean Esmay for his kind words regarding my thoughts offered here- praise is always that much sweeter when it comes from one you respect. As for the readers he has sent to this humble site, I believe their comments speak for themselves. Quality shows, people. Of all the accusations hurled at me over the years “I would suppose that you have a doctorate in either philosophy or history” certainly takes the prize for most unexpected and delightful.

I am not usually a political writer, but I find the subject immensely seductive due both to the immediacy of the topics and the fervor of those who willingly delve in to the debate. Somehow I doubt I shall be able to remain silent on these topics as the season progresses.

One Response to “I Am Not Above Preening”

  1. The following comments are as they first appeared on the old BlogSpot/Haloscan system.–ZM

    One would think that appreciation of flattery would be the first vice to go in one your age.

    How terribly interesting.

    Sigh. I wonder if weblogs will ever move beyond simple narcissitic pleasures. I hate the praise, and yet, miss it when it’s gone.

    Or perhaps that’s more just me. I thought your thoughts were interesting and informative, but they fit a trend that many people have written about.

    What sets you apart is your writing style and the sense of perspective. You’re fun to read – the words flow together and present a “voice” that is compelling and difficult to resist.

    Which is what makes your e-mails all the more enjoyable. Your different voices.
    TheYeti | Email | Homepage | 10.28.03 – 8:02 am | #

    One would be thinking incorrectly. Do praise to your heart’s content.

    I do agree with your point on politics, though. Lacking some new and revolutionary theory to propose political missives are nothing more than synthesis and recapitulation of extant memes. That such discourse is so fluid and often provocative is somewhat puzzling at times, though I suppose it is the nature of the short-lived: the sense of history tends to become compressed.
    MD | Email | Homepage | 10.28.03 – 7:30 pm | #

    I think the short term perspective of history is more a function of the megalomania that permits us to function. It is a necessary lie we tell ourselves, wired into our brains. If we did not tell it to ourselves, we would (individually and collective) collapse in despair.

    I’ve tried taking it the other way, and I’ve had to consciously lie to myself most every day since. We live in the moment because it is what we can comprehend and deal with.

    For centuries, our cities have dwarfed us individually. Our deliberate unawareness of our insignificance is nothing new. Even the greatest of us are reduced to nothing more than inscribed names, slowly fading into obscurity. This truth is out there, lurking, threatening us with ‘Total Perspective’, and we armor ourselves against it.

    I’ve seen traces of it even in your words. You want to be a part of something that matters. Your desire to see humanity expand beyond this speck is where it shows most clearly. Even your own extended perspective is nothing compared to the vastness of The Deep. Your perspective has, however, given you faith that, should we venture forth into that vastness, we would be able to amount to something. We could shout to the universe those most important words, “I am”.

    … and the continents grind on, inch by inch, in their own time.

    … and Sol continues its stately orbit in the Milky Way.

    … dust in the wind, and even the wind is of no significance.

    … and yet… all of time is composed only of moments. We take them because that is all there is to take. The entire history of humanity, and even the universe at large, is composed only of local moments and decisions. Do I turn left or right? Do I fission? Have I exceeded Chandrakhar’s Limit?

    Food for thought, from one insignificant megalomaniac to some small number of others.

    PS- There’s a wonderful tangent here relating to the rise of urbanization and now globalization, its impact on the human psyche, and the resulting impact on global politics. There’s a lot of interesting evidence floating around, such as US political affiliation as a function of population density.
    Dishman | Email | Homepage | 10.29.03 – 9:22 am | #