Who am I and what is this blog for?

The Blogger:

English, half-Irish, male, currently 26 (assuming that I’ve kept this page up to date), born and raised in Southeast England, educated at a grammar school and later Oxbridge. Culturally liberal Catholic, but neither theistic nor religiously observant. Politically, instinctively liberal to the point of anarchist (I would just say anarcholiberal or liberal anarchist, but those apparently have other connotations), and instinctively redistributionist and generally left-wing – but reformist rather than revolutionary. Interests include pedantry, arguing, beauty, reading. A mythopoeist – conlanger (I invent languages), conworlder (I invent worlds, cultures, religions, philosophies, species, etc), would-be writer (I fail to write). Every couple of years I seem to be struck by an unavoidable determination to write poetry, but it usually passes quickly, and don’t worry, I won’t be inflicting it on you.

I apologise in advance for being annoying. This is partly because I have poor social skills and can’t help it, and partly because I’d rather be annoying than deceitful. It’s for your own good.

The Blog:

Has no real purpose. Seems mostly have turned into a place where I review books that I read. May continue like that, or may change – who knows? In between reviews, I sometimes react to current events – particularly politics – and/or muse out loud about something obscure and/or boring. In expressing my opinions, I may appear a blustering simpleton – this is in part because I am a blustering simpleton, and in part because I think it’s more thought-provoking to express a wrongheaded opinion forcefully than to (as would probably be the wisest option in almost all cases) demurely decline to opine until all facts are in and all positions considered in the greatest possible depth. I’m not an expert on anything and I don’t pretend to be – if it sounds like I feel certain about something, it’s only because I think it’s better to speak foolishly and provoke an education (or even, perhaps, an interesting thought in the mind of another) than to stay quiet and remain ignorant.

The Readers:

Hello. I don’t know why you’re here, either, but I hope you’re entertained, informed, encouraged or inspired. [I know that sound grandiose, but why not be honest about our aspirations – even when we know we are unlikely to meet them?]. If you have any comments, questions or complaints, please, do feel free to speak up. If I seem to shout you down, I do apologise – I probably didn’t mean to. Sometimes when I’m arguing about an interesting question, I forget to be tactful. Feel free to remind me of this if necessary.

The Picture at the Top of the Blog:

It’s a portrait of Tsarevitch Dmitry of Uglich, son of Ivan the Terrible, painted many centuries later by Mikhail Nesterov. Dmitry died as a child – either having been stabbed by assassins on the orders of Boris Gudonov, or else accidentally stabbing himself while having an epileptic fit while trying to play darts with a knife. [Lesson from history: don’t do that.] As with the English Edward V, the suspicious death of a royal child lead to a series of pretender claiming to be the murdered boy – one of these ‘False Dmitrys’ even succeeded in becoming Tsar of Russia, though only briefly. Dmitry himself was later declared a saint by the Orthodox Church – hence the halo in Nesterov’s painting.

The painting has no particular relevance to the blog – I just happen to like it.

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5 thoughts on “Who am I and what is this blog for?

  1. Anonymous says:

    your hatred of Nietzsche and groundless Attack on him, as Ignorant philosopher and philologist, where did it came from…. do you really hate him because he despises everything english ?

  2. …an interesting question. I don’t hate Nietzsche. I think he’s an often interesting and occasionally brilliant philosopher, and one of the philosophers who has influenced me the most, personally.
    But that doesn’t mean that he can’t be criticised. He often talks nonsense (or, at least, dramatically overstates his case…), his philology is rubbish (and was recognised as rubbish even by his contemporaries), and he’s a deeply unpleasant person who says some (unnecessarily) unpleasant things. He was also a hypocrite.
    If Nietzsche were alive today he probably wouldn’t like my criticising him, but that’s only because he was a hypocrite. If I failed to criticise him for these faults, then I really would be ignoring his advice…

  3. vacuouswastrel, first of all forgive me my bad philology – english grammar (I am georgian). second, i think your objections are again groundless, take for example “his philology is rubbish (and was recognised as rubbish even by his contemporaries)”. not that nietzsche was bad philologist, but he was so good at it, that he became professor of philology in basel at the age of 24. Ritschl recommended that his student, Friedrich Nietzsche, be considered for the position of professor. He described Nietzsche in the following words.

    “However many young talents I have seen develop under my eyes for thirty-nine years now, never yet have I known a young man, or tried to help one along in my field as best I could, who was so mature as early and as young as this Nietzsche. His Museum articles he wrote in the second and third year of his triennium. He is the first from whom I have ever accepted any contribution at all while he was still a student. If — God grant — he lives long enough, I prophesy that he will one day stand in the front rank of German philology. He is now twenty-four years old: strong, vigorous, healthy, courageous physically and morally, so constituted as to impress those of a similar nature. On top of that, he possesses the enviable gift of presenting ideas, talking freely, as calmly as he speaks skillfully and clearly. He is the idol and, without wishing it, the leader of the whole younger generation of philologists here in Leipzig who — and they are rather numerous — cannot wait to hear him as a lecturer. You will say, I describe a phenomenon. Well, that is just what he is — and at the same time pleasant and modest. Also a gifted musician, which is irrelevant here. … Nietzsche is not at all a specifically political nature. He may have in general, on the whole, some sympathy for the growing greatness of Germany, but, like myself, no special tendre [fondness] for Prussianism; yet he has vivid feeling for free civic and spiritual development, and thus certainly a heart for your Swiss institutions and way of living. What more am I to say? His studies so far have been weighted toward the history of Greek literature (of course, including critical and exegetical treatment of the authors), with special emphasis, it seems to me, on the history of Greek philosophy. But I have not the least doubt that, if confronted by a practical demand, with his great gifts he will work in other fields with the best of success. He will simply be able to do anything he wants to do.”

    Now what did his contemporaries considered rubbish was not his philology ( his knowledge), but his Method, which was speculative and metaphysical not scholarly in his first philosophical book birth of a tragedy. nobody doubted that he lacked knowledge, they were only angry because they thought nietzsche was wasting his talent with his speculations.

    second objection is for me laughable ! “he’s a deeply unpleasant person who says some (unnecessarily) unpleasant things. He was also a hypocrite.”

    what distinguishes Nietzsche from other philosophers is that he has unmasked christian morality and gone beyond good and evil. that you should have known and that there is no such thing as unpleasant person. for me Christians are unpleasant, for you Nietzsche, because we have our own values, which are inevitably subjective. (sometimes unpleasant things turn out to be pleasant even)

    and hypocrite ? that is a mistake and misreading my friend.

    PS : add me on facebook, I need interesting people like you….

  4. In GM I §5, Nietzsche adverts to the distinctive and not easily translatable meanings of the ancient Greek “agathos”, “esthlos”, “deilos”, and “kakos” in support of this view. The Liddell and Scott Greek-English Lexicon [L&S] gives four primary meanings for agathos: (1) well-born, gentle, (2) brave, valiant, (3) good, serviceable, and (4) good in a moral sense; two for esthlos: (1) brave, stout, noble, and (2) morally good, faithful; three for deilos: (1) cowardly, hence vile, worthless, (2) low-born, mean, (3) miserable, wretched, with a compassionate sense; and five for kakos: (1) ugly, (2) ill-born, (3) craven, base, (4) worthless, sorry, unskilled, (5) morally evil, pernicious. From a Nietzschean perspective, the distinctions made by L&S are useful and intelligible only to us, inheritors of the slave revolt trying to understand the language and culture of ancient Greece. What is notable about the way the words were used in their natural habitat is the fact that they unproblematically blend together aesthetic, ethical, and socio-economic qualities. If Nietzsche is right, the very possibility of sharply distinguishing the descriptive from the evaluative senses of terms of this sort does not become a live option until slave morality has developed to a suitably sophisticated level.

  5. Even If I grant your that his Etymological claims are all wrong, his Slave revolt theory nevertheless will be rationally justified. in fact, his psychological explanation, namely ressentiment is better one. take a look What Vikings were doing to Church and than imagine yourself a priest….

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