December 8, 2009


There is, of course, a person who is writing here, and that person is one. I am not a committee, even if one may appear to belong to me.

From a young age, I noted my inability to get over the awareness of having a self, and that self having some sort of beginning and (possibly) an ending. When I was seven, I recall my mother telling me that–if there were no afterlife–it hardly mattered as I would not even recall living at all. I already had thought of this, but the thought that anyone found such a thing comforting was repellant. Let there be some memory; and if not for the gods, then for men. I was first catechized a Christian, then, by temperament–I hated death, instinctively.

Never for me, then, were the old gods of my race. Like Lewis, I loved Balder before Christ, but his brethren repelled me. Better the gods of Olympus (trimmed in adolescence, like a good philosopher does, of their humanistic barbarities and turned into divine forms)–a Hellenist from the beginning–better the gods that nurtured Plato, Cicero and Marcus Aurelius.

This awareness had another curious side-effect I found when I got older. At those moments when most shed their normal personas for ones of relaxation, I would observe the others at a distance, and then the persona worn by the self who was navigating through those strange waters.

I would wonder (I do wonder) whether the persona was a creation of observation. Some strange quantum mechanics of the human being was at play, perhaps, or maybe even an uncertainty principle: I could no more be aware of myself and embrace my persona at the same time than I could measure position and momentum. My father would find such precision most arbitrary, and told me so, once.

It may be so.

Because of all this, I thrive in pseudonymity. It is not to say that the distance of pseudonym and author results in true authenticity. I am not even sure if that applies, in any case. The pseudonym is as likely to be ironic, obtuse or even facetious as its author, but it does these things as a pseudonym.

Except for a very few (and one or two others who may suspect), no one who encounters these writings has any real idea of the person behind them, other than what is stated by the pseudonym. Every reader becomes a sort of New Critic, and for him the authenticity of the personality matters far less than the words, themselves. This may be devilry, so I apologize.

If there is an authentic persona, please God, I pray thee that it be the person who seeks only to praise thy wisdom and none other. For if I am a philosopher, let it be as a true friend of wisdom, which can only be a friend of Christ ever since the Oracles went silent upon the death of the Son.

This is not to say that I am coming out as some sort of Orthodox Cartesian (at least, I hope not). It may be very true that I am post-Cartesian, but I am concerned more with the proposition that what I think about exists than the proposition that I exist because I am thinking. When I consider the self, perhaps things do get a bit confused, but I will have to allow that as being inevitable with the modern self.

I had considered, before beginning this blog (quite by accident, I should add, the whole purpose of this blog was to take to the advice of a friend that I should get a real blog to publish the thoughts I began this work with on McIntyre and Aquinas), writing under several pseudonyms at a single blog. Not, of course, to create any true image of multiplicity, but rather to abolish any sort of notions of a unitary persona. I have not abandoned the idea (the blog lies in wait for me to use it), but it is probably too ironic, even for me. (I have ever been boastful or ironic; I have never found that Aristotelean mean).

There is one final, important thing: As a pseudonym, I employ myself.

Post-Script: Before my unexpected hiatus, I had mentioned a post regarding the Orthodox use of the term "panentheism". That post was about half-completed, and has remained in limbo, because I was unsure I was giving the arguments of my opposition full-credit. That is not to say that I think the term is correct or proper, but it is to say that the rebuttal of the usage I had initially prepared was unfair. I lost momentum on thinking about that, but will likely return to it as soon as someone gets me going, again.

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