Among my New Year’s resolutions for 2015 is to start blogging more. Like many resolutions this one is admirable in its intent, dubious in its attainability, and ultimately narcissistic in its motivation. But hey, that’s never stopped anyone before. Rather than just continuing on with business as usual at my old blog, I decided to start up a new one with a dedicated domain name. I did this because I thought a fresh start might do me good, and more importantly because I thought paying for a domain might motivate me to post more.
(Plus, have you ever owned a domain name? It’s really cool)
The name of this blog is The Pen Forests. It doesn’t mean anything in particular, but it’s an anagram of my own name that I discovered years ago, and I’ve always been fond of the imagery it evokes. Incidentally, I realize I might have just given up enough information to prevent me from keeping this blog fully anonymous, but I don’t think that was ever in the cards. I do wonder, though, how many other names are anagrams of my own. For what it’s worth my name is not Seth F. Peterson.
The theme of this blog will continue to be whatever happens to interest me. If history is any indication, topics will likely include a mix of philosophy, rationality, and science. This will not be a didactic blog: I don’t intend to write pop science articles and explain quantum mechanics to the layman. Those are admirable goals, but they’re not for me. I want to write at the boundaries of my knowledge; at the outermost limits of my confusion. If I write a post it’ll be because I just figured something out, or I’m trying to figure something out by writing about it.
For better or for worse, blogging thrives on contrarianism. If you’re not going against some kind of existing grain then no one pays attention to you. At its best, this dynamic encourages bloggers to push back when public opinion has swung too far in one direction. At its worst, it incentivizes writers to use convoluted, too-clever logic to come up with reasons why some common sense truth is actually false. I will try to walk the fine line between being contrarian enough to be interesting and not so contrarian as to be stupid. I hope you can all appreciate that it’s a harder line to walk than you might think.
The motto of this blog will be “Impassioned Reason”. If that sounds like a contradiction in terms to you, then I haven’t written enough yet. Do stay tuned.
With some reluctance I will link you now to my old blog. My reluctance is not so much because I disagree with anything written there (although in many cases I’m much less sure of what I wrote than I was when I wrote it). It’s more due to a general embarrassment I feel in regards to any piece of mine that was written more than…oh, let’s say a week ago. Trust me, if you think something I wrote sounds pompous or naïve or stupid, then I am probably rereading it and cringing a thousand times worse than you are. I can only assume this pattern will continue in the future.
(This might be why I don’t blog that often)
My masochism aside, I’m currently about a quarter of the way through my first real post for this blog. I hope you will enjoy it, and at least a few of my future posts. If nothing else I hope I can introduce you to a few new concepts along the way and give you some different ways of thinking about things. And if you don’t particularly like a post, then please: say so and why in the comments! I welcome dissenting opinions and criticisms – that’s how I learn. I should probably emphasize, though, that I think debates are only useful if both parties enter into them with a sense of mutual curiosity and truth-seeking. If you don’t give me any indication that you understand that, then I probably won’t waste my time engaging with you.
Like any blog, this one will either be supported enough to blossom or neglected enough to wither. Hopefully it will be the former; more likely, the latter. In either case though this is me embarking on a bit of a journey. I hope to bare my intellectual soul over the coming months (and fate willing, years). If I do it right it’ll be a bit of an adventure.
I hope you’ll join me.