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September 17, 2008


Joyless Moralist

The job bit, Nathan, is the main reason why I've always blogged under a pseudonym. If anyone considering me for a philosophy job were to google my blog, I can pretty much guarantee it wouldn't help me at all.


Until recently, politics has mostly pained me and was purely academic in the sense of being mostly irrelevant to my personal life. Lately, however, everything from what apartment to rent to when to plan vacations has depended on the next announcement regarding Iraq, which lies squarely in the midst of politics. Add it to the fact that Iraq's personal significance to me remains very large and is only slowly losing the power to make me literally weep at unexpected moments, and the practical indifference of my past has disappeared.

That hasn't changed my opinion that knowing current politics in great detail is a bit like knowing the bugs and peccadilloes of a particular release of Windows: of very limited practical shelf life and expositive of deeper dynamics that may remain relevant somewhat longer than the details, but will nevertheless change out of recognition in a few years. To wit, it contributes little real self-improvement and is probably not worth it unless it offers sufficient impact in one's day-to-day life. I've gone far past what's really worthwhile lately, but it's a little like obsessively checking my watch during a train ride to see if I'm going to be late: sometimes, yes, I can call someone and warn them I'll be late, but most of the time there's no practical use except psychological self-preparation.

But if I'm going to be late, it's just going to make me more upset.

Whatever the case, I certainly enjoy our philosophical sparring more than anything else, so I suppose I should welcome this. It will probably help me throttle back as well, for an added bonus. Though, of course, it's sad to see the chilling effect of this particular job market in operation.

Finally, I know in livejournal there are public, friends-only, and private (only the author can see) posts. If TypePad has that facility it could allow for a more circumscribed discussion if it came to that.


Political discussion doesn't interest me much anyway; it's like trying to have a conversation in a hurricane: you have to talk really loud to get your point across, what you say doesn't really matter or change anything, and there are better things to do, like worry about your life. Talking philosophy, on the other hand, is like creating a work of art, with each sentence a brush stroke in a final, glorious picture.

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