As a subscriber to the San Francisco Chronicle, I have become an avid reader of Jon Carroll’s column. I don’t read it all the time and must admit that I don’t get into his cat columns. However, I usually find myself in violent agreement with his politically-oriented columns.
I mention his columns today not to get into the specifics of what he has written (I hope to do so soon enough) but to write about how I’m attempting to ferret out the truth of what’s happening in our world. In this blog and in my reflections, I have been adopting a type of hermeneutic of self-suspicion. I put the emphasis on self-suspicion because I feel the need to inspect my own prejudices and thought-processes with as much vigor as I do of others. Finding articles and commentary that largely agree with my own viewpoints and writing about them (and occasionally subjecting them to vigorous examination) is an indirect way of testing my own assumptions. By writing out in this public space, by drawing in different perspectives, and by inviting others to comment — I hope to grow and learn and become increasingly free to avail myself of the truth, whatever that might be.
The plan then is to do some close(r) reading of Jon Carroll’s columns, distilling what I agree with, and then playing devil’s advocate. Over the last little while, I’ve been following a good number of weblogs and journals that have substantially different orientations. I hope to bring these various points of views in dialog.
Might this be a futile exercise? Some days, I do think so — since often understanding each other is often not really about logical, rational engagement. Passions run deep. However, Lou Marinoff — during his reading at Cody’s Books, said something that really struck me: he thinks that although humans might be governed strongly by passion in any short-term interaction, it is their ideas and fundamental convictions that shape the large-scale aspects of humanity. Take this as what I think I heard Lou Marinoff saying — it would good to nail it down precisely. And though one can argue strenuously against what I think he said, there is more than a grain of truth in that view.