Friday, March 12, 2010

Who I am and Why I'm Here

So for my first post on here, I think it will be appropriate to say who I am and further, why I'm on here in the first place. In short, I am a freshman in undergraduate studies at New College of Florida who is double-majoring (concentrating, if you go by my school's lingo) in philosophy and religion. My background may be a little complicated, but I think a general overview of the ideas I've had over my lifetime will be helpful in determining my outlook.

Throughout my life, for as long as I can remember, I've been a very spiritually* and philosophically-minded person. From ages 13-17, I was a devoted protestant Christian (and largely politically conservative, while remaining socially moderate and liberal). At 17 I became a Buddhist, while largely retaining much of my Christian roots (I identified as a Christian-Buddhist for a while afterword; at some point I became more agnostic/atheistic). Only recently (about a month ago now) did I decide to renounce Buddhism, not because I don't think that what it says is true, but because I did not wish to be confined to a specific doctrine in anything I did (this is seen in Buddhist thought as well: see "Killing the Buddha", a Zen koan; the Kalama sutta, where the Buddha admonishes one to not accept anything unless he/she sees it for him/herself; etc.). Now I am nothing: I have given up Christianity, Buddhism, atheism, conservatism, liberalism, anarchism, etc.; I accept no doctrine on any basis other than on my own experience and reason. While such doctrines can inform my understanding, ultimately I have to make the final decisions on what I believe and how I act.

At this point one may be tempted to ask, "well then, what do you believe?"** That's partly what this blog is for. I'm writing this blog because it gives me an important outlet for expressing ideas concerning philosophy, religion, politics, and other issues. In order to make any progress in these areas, I have to be able to make some arguments and decisions about them. Doing so will allow me to make some important observations, revise my own opinions as I see them fleshed out, and hopefully cross the ever-present gap between theory and practice.

The blog will hopefully read as something between a journal of ideas and a series of independent essays. For the most part, I will probably be concerned with a few central goals:
  1. Understanding the history of philosophical and religious thought, specifically that of Western philosophy/theology and that of Buddhism.
  2. Creating a consistent philosophical viewpoint of reality.
  3. Addressing modern concerns, such as ethics, politics, and religion in America.
I hope to stay committed to these goals over the course of my writings, though they may vary over time. I encourage anyone reading to offer critiques or suggestions as they see fit; you will find I am very receptive to criticism, constructive or otherwise.

I look forward to future writings!


*I realize immediately the problems with this word, as it is vague and has many unnecessary connotations to it. The problem is that there does not appear to be a suitable replacement. To give a general working definition of what I mean when I say 'spirituality': "any personal attempt to try to understand the nature of the mind and that of reality."

**A related question might be "how do I act," for in going through different phases of thought my way of action has ultimately changed over time as well. At this point in my life, I try to live a very ethical lifestyle (veganism, non-consumerism, speaking and acting in a way that isn't harmful to others) and to live in the present moment with mindfulness and compassion for fellow sentient beings.

No comments:

Post a Comment