Laura and I are starting to blog. Partly, this is just to keep in better communication with friends and family and provide more of a picture into our life abroad. But part of this, too, is motivated by the value of writing things down, making them plain in the written word. As someone who spends a lot of time (both professionally and by inclination) learning, researching, thinking, and reflecting, the importance of writing things down, and in doing so in a structured way, is increasingly obvious to me. I find that, in general, my best ideas come during conversations with other people or when I’m walking around (there has been some interesting recent cognitive research to support the latter activity as paramount to thinking – there’s a reason Kant, Heidegger, and Tolkien, among others, made walking central to their thinking practices). The great dangers of this mode of thinking are two. The first is, simply, that you will forget what you have thought, or at least not remember it in its entirety. It is the great conceit of those of an intellectual persuasion that great thoughts endure. They do not. Even the most striking insights have a tendency to slip away, and anything less than a flash of pure brilliance is sure to exit one’s memory before too long. The second, related to the first, is that one’s ideas in conversation or in one’s own head can be unstructured or have serious flaws that are not immediately apparent; the process of writing forces ideas into structure and argumentation and makes it easier to refine them.
My writing here will focus on whatever I’m working on or thinking about – you can expect stuff on the far-reaching economic, cultural, political and maybe even metaphysical effects of our rapidly evolving information and communications infrastructure, changes in the contemporary international system of states (and in those states themselves), Russia (of course), and other (hopefully interesting) tidbits. I hope it brings some profit to you – if it does, join the conversation!