Tabula Cluttered

500 miniature essays will teach you something about yourself, if nothing else.

Spurts of prodigious writing must stall or hiccup. A linear and obvious remedy is to write about writing, and there we are. I can’t claim sufficient expertise in letters to offer meaningful commentary on what makes good writing, but I can boast superior knowledge on what writing has taught me – something on the spectrum between deluded misapprehension and very slightly enlightened.

I mostly write philosophy. Marshalling my faculties to nanny an argument to it’s logical conclusion, with some attempt at clarity and entertainment, represents the alpha’s share of what I have done. My major hobby horses are atheism and a broad fury for anything muddled, ill conceived, or otherwise failing to add up. My blogs are mostly informed by abstract ideas I mull over whilst pooping, walking, chores, and other mundane activities that keep me away from tv and games. Consequentemente, I do not draw from the well of Jersey Shore or current events (much) and am left with plucking ideas from the ether, or stealing them from genuinely informed and informative heros like Pinker or Hitchens.

The major benefits of writing out a lengthy argument are that should you ever be faced with a discussion about similar topics then you will find yourself well prepared. You know what you think and how to present your thoughts – maximizing your chances of being understood (no small consideration in a philosophical discussion). It is interesting to note that knowing what you think is not always obvious. Unless one is in the unfortunate habit of stumbling through intellectual life armed only with preconceptions, then completing the sometimes trying process of delineating premise to conclusion is undoubtably necessary. In other words, writing out why you think what you think you think might change what it is you think after all.

Writing philosophy is also humbling. Not for the simple fact that much of what you have to say is little more than a naive regurgitation of the work of smarter men, but for how it teaches you how few topics you really have any purchase on. It takes very little effort to prove to yourself that even the great polymaths still limited themselves to a few fields. Even da Vinci limited himself to painting and applied sciences. So it is no wonder that unless your scribbling endeavors take you to the world of journalism, then repetition is an inevitability. There is little doubt I will again call Jesus a spaz.

Even reading over what I have written just now is suggestive of the whole body of writing I have completed over these past three years. Self conscious and referential that it is, I am still stuck in the rut(?) of premise to conclusion, with rigour giving way to brevity for the sake of readability.

Such is the blogosphere.

Robin Lindsay



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