So, we've established that I have the itch to get serious about writing again. And we've established that I'm a bit leery of the confessional nature of blogs, having learned what it's like to talk about your life in even a very small general-circulation publication.
But if not confession, or criticism, or journalism, what do I write?
This isn't a spontaneous decision. We have to go back several years to 2003, when I decided to seriously take up the study of Rosicrucianism again. One of the odd effects of that decision was that as I became more and more immersed in the study and practice of mysticism, the less I was interested in the literary pursuits (reading and writing fiction) that had been the mainstay of my intellectual life for two decades. "But why," I asked myself, "have I spent so much of my life perfecting my ability to express myself in words?" You see, I believe that life is a series of lessons, and that the path one follows in life eventually leads somewhere, although we are not necessarily conscious of that path, and only recognise the inherent pattern (if we're lucky) in retrospect.
So, if I've cultivated the craft of the wordsmith, and I no longer have the fire in my gut to become the next J. D Salinger (or even Tom Robbins), then what do I write?
The urge to dip into philosophical writing hit me nearly a decade ago, and I produced a series of aphoristic essays called The Book of Acquired Wisdom. I enjoyed the exercise, and it whet my appetite for more such explorations.
So that will, loosely defined, be my focus in this blog. I shall explore philosophy.
To start off on solid footing, I suppose I should make clear what I mean by the word philosophy. I'll state unambiguously, that I am not a "professional" philosopher. I've read some in the pre-Socratics, and I've read some Plato. I've puzzled over how Aristotle was a logical conclusion to Plato. I've read Lucretius and Marcus Aurelius. I've pondered over Thoreau, and I've even dabbled in a bit of Nietzsche. But I know little to nothing about most of the modern European philosophers (you know: Descartes, Voltaire, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Fichte, Shopenhauer, Hegel, etc.), beyond the odd quote here, the quick synopsis there.
But I don't think that's any reason why I can't philosophize. Because to me, philosophy is exactly what the word originally meant in Greek: a love of wisdom. Wisdom can only be found one way. Wisdom arises in the heart after one has honestly reflected on one's experience. External experience and internal experience. Experience with love, friendship and family. Experience with trying to make a living and pursue a calling. Experience with study and exchanging ideas with fellow scholars. Experience at trying to understand the workings of the physical world, and mastering the technologies our race has created to exploit it. Experience with living in this mortal body, and feeling and watching it change with the passage of time. Experience with trying to do good in the world, and to contribute to the greater good. Experience with the joys and difficulties of living in human society, in which we must endure the ignorance of our fellow man as often as we have the pleasure of our contemporaries' refinements. If you truly and carefully reflect on these things, wisdom will arise in your heart. You will begin to discern what is the True, what is the Beautiful, and what is the Good. And by some small measure, you may call yourself a philosopher.