17 April 2012

Foundations

Hello World.  Welcome to this space, again.

My name is Joshua Doc Shaw and this is my Web Log.  My rebooted Web Log since I haven't posted anything in years.  Well, if you're wondering, much has happened to me in the meantime.  I got married, had a daughter, changed jobs, and more.  So here I am, years later, wondering what happened to my desire to write and get published. 

The most important thing about writing is to actually write, and so I remembered my old blog.  It also helps to have something to say.  Which brings us to this post's title, 'Foundations'.  What will this Blog be about?

Well, many things, since I'm an eclectic sort of guy. 

First, the unifying theme of my thinking is the primacy of ideas, of fundamental ideas, of Philosophy and Religion.  Ideas have consequences, they shape how we interact with the world.  Ideas like Philosophy and Religion are just as important in these scientific latter days as they were for our ancestors, if not more so.  Consider, from a socio-biological point of view, Philosophy and Religion must serve a purpose that increased the survival chances for the humans that use those tools.  Now consider that the combination of Philosophy and Religion of the Western Civilisation (which includes Science by the way) must be objectively better than all others since Western Civilisation is that much more advanced and powerful.  To turn the saying around, Right makes Might.  So what then, is the Religious-Philosophical system of the West?  This is not a difficult question, but the answer is most unpleasant to the secular mind; Orthodox, Catholic, Apostolic Christianity, Thomistic-Aristotelian Scholasticism, and Natural Philosophy (Science!).  So the secular materialist has deliberately discarded two legs of the mental tripod required to make the West what it was.

Second, as a consequence of the primacy of idea and the medium of language, through which we understand the world, is the importance of Story.  We understand the world through ideas, but we understand ourselves through stories, the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves.  If men are to live together as men and not as crabs in a bucket we must have good stories to serve as our measuring stick, our ruler.  Man does not live by bread alone, change his ideas, his stories, and his ass will follow.  Note, this is an argument for virtue, as classically understood, not necessarily cleanliness or sterility.  Life is down and dirty, and no one gets out alive.  If you don't get dirt and blood on your hands once in a while, you're doing it wrong.  I for one adore the uncensored, original Grimm's Fairy Tales.  But if the dirty-ness does not serve a greater purpose, then what is the point?  Dirt for dirt's sake is an empty phrase, give me dirt for better contrasting the good, the true, and the beautiful.

Third, as a consequence of our alieness to each other, our inability to understand each other's language, culture, to judge each other's earnesty and intent, and our existentially different and threatening Religious-Philosophical-Political assumptions and conclusions about the world, warfare is _the_ defining feature of Human experience.  In fact I would go so far as to say that 'Peace is a hypothetical state of affairs whose presence has been deduced from the fact that there are intervals between wars' (if someone else hadn't already said it).  This will only change when A) the state of nature that prevails in the society of states is replaced by a global sovereign and B) the civilization of the world are united by a single culture and language and philosophical-religious system.  Whether or not this state of affairs is, or can be, virtuous and desirable I leave to the reader.

Finally, since warfare is the default state of relations of mankind as a whole, the State is necessary, like fire.  For it is the State, unique amongst all the forms by which humans can organize themselves, that reliably wins wars.  Or at least survives loosing them.  But the State, like all the other tools made by men, is meant to serve their needs, not to master men.  That method by which a ship of state is piloted, that we call government and politics, and it is a matter of literal life and death.  Thusly are those who attack the ship of state, seeking to break up her timbers and 'free' man into the swirling waters of the raging seas of fate are called he general enemy of mankind.  Yet also must those who wish to seize the helm and reduce the crew to servile things that were once men be resisted. 

In conclusion, another name for this Blog could have been the Middle Way, but riffing off my middle name and my favorite pulp hero just couldn't be resisted.  Remember, virtue exists as a median between two extremes of two much and not enough of a good.  Evil has no existence of its own, only privation, just as the darkness is the absence of light.  All that is happening has happened before, there is nothing new under the sun.  And while Winter _is_ Coming, after Winter comes the Spring.  Thus, hope springs eternal.