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“The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage.”
— Thucydides

“A civilization that feels guilty for everything it is and does will lack the energy and conviction to defend itself.”
— Jean-François Revel

Getting Started (The Tyranny of Beginnings)

Monday, August 15, 2005

Having amply, if unintentionally, demonstrated what I meant by “weeks at a time,” I suppose I can consider it OK to get this project rolling now. I'm working on it, folks. The trouble is, I've been accumulating so many ideas I want to write about that figuring out just where and how to begin is turning out to be a big challenge. Combined with the need to make time to sit and write at reasonably regular intervals, the experience is giving me a whole new degree of respect for those who manage to make this look so easy.

I've been thinking a lot about what I want to say and the points I want to cover, jotting down thoughts here and there and composing fragments of future posts as they come to me in seemingly random order. I think throughout my life this has just been the way that the process of writing has worked for me. Occasionally, I've had the experience of writing something straight through from begining to end without looking back, and being reasonably satisfied with the end result. More often, though, I'll start at some random point in the middle (wherever my mind seems inclined to focus first) and build the thing up, adding fragments as they come to mind, and finally arranging them in sequence and linking them together until I have a coherent end result with a natural flow of thought to it.

At this stage the pieces are starting to come together, but not necessarily in sequential order, so it's going to take a bit more time before I can start to roll the first finished pieces off the assembly line. I assure you though, my mind is still on this, and I'm working on it when I can.

It's been an interesting exercise thinking back to earlier parts of my life and revisiting the path by which I became the person I am today, while attempting to distill from that the set of experiences that seem to have been most important in shaping the way I see and think. Discovering that I am more different from those around me than I had realized, in my way of seeing and thinking, has prompted me to try to understand the essential reasons for and origins of those differences. Is there just a different set of axioms wired into my way of perceiving, analyzing, and responding to the world? How did I acquire them? What makes me “me”?

As I get underway, these are the some of the questions I'll be setting out to explore. Stay tuned. I hope to have more in the coming weeks.