Thursday, July 8, 2010

Well Well Well. This Has Been Strange.

Well I'm back on the internet now. My computer is fixed and I am typing as rapidly as ever.
Going without a computer, however, was a bizarre experience that prompted a lot of insights.

First I would just like to say that in the week that I had no computer I was able to read two whole books and a bunch of articles. It was shocking (literally shocking) how quickly I could slam through a book if I wasn't distracted by the computer.

Often I find myself looking up every couple pages just to get check my e-mail or to look at nytimes or facebook or cnn or whatever.

But it felt fantastic to read books quickly and without distraction.

I finished Benedict Anderson's Imagined Communities in a few days and found it incredibly impressive. I am most shocked by it because it feels, in many ways, remarkably similar to Foucault. Their similar emphasis on language, possibility, and radical transformation seems undeniable. Anderson, however, writes with much greater clarity than Foucault.

Anderson makes me really recognize how powerful historical and comparative method can be.

I am also reading Jon Sumida's book Inventing Grand Strategy and Teaching Command: The Classic Works of Alfred Thayer Mahan Reconsidered. I know Sumida quite well from courses, and I am very familiar with his work on Clausewitz. The work on Mahan, however, is quite different and interesting to read about. Many of the themes are similar: the importance of both the science and art of command, the need for clear and decisive individuals, the importance of experience in developing judgment, the possibility that history can substitute for experience, and the relationship between history and theory. Good stuff.

Also, it is official. I need to become a historian. The theory of mind that I wish to elaborate can only be accomplished historically. It would be impossible to create a comprehensive theory of mind (or something close) without grappling with the historical determinants of thought. So, I am going to become a professional historian so I can advance my views on the philosophy of mind. I want to do something like the genealogy of the modern mind. Which is just pulling terms from Foucault and expanding the scope of the project. Lots of time to do this all in. It'll take lots of time indeed.

But now I'm back and I'm ready to start doing some serious writing again. The next essay I want to write is called "In Defense of Thinking A Lot." I have it outlined. I'm ready to do it. But this month is going to be very busy cause I need to get ready to move to Seattle. My plane leaves on August 7th. So, hopefully I can get some writing done in the next month. But, not surprisingly, philosophical writing may very well take a back seat to the pragmatics of moving across the country.

Anyways, I'm back online and it is a mixed blessing. I hope I can maintain my focus on my reading and continue to put out strong philosophical essays. Booya.

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