Sunday, 4 February 2007

In Defence of Theory: An Intellectual's Apology II

I suggest that, before you read this part of the Apology, you read the comment left by an anonymous reader to my last one. It heartens me that someone I do not know has left the comment. I hope he will return to read my reply.

The accusation, distilled, is that I should be doing, not writing.

Thus, I write my Defence. I hope you will find it useful.

So what is the point of sitting talking into the ether about life? There are many. I shall list them. Then I shall address the wider issues.

Firstly, I address my particular readership. They are wonderful, kind-hearted people. They are intelligent. They will be great movers of the world in the future. I know each of them has the capability. I hope to plant in them the seed of the thoughts I have. Thus they will try to reform. As will I.

Secondly, I address the wider mass of humanity who can access the internet and speak English. That is why I have not mde this blog private. I do hope that any reader will read and comment. Perhaps they will be inspired. Perhaps they will disagree. I hope that it will cause them to think.

I take my objectives from Lord Denning (quelle surprise, I hear you all say). But he said this, of his writing: 'Most of it is controversial - I have deliberately made it so. It is to set you thinking, talking and writing about what I have said. None of it is a final view. It is done without hearing argument. It is done without consulting others. As always, I am ready to change my mind. So agree or disagree. But do please help to get things going'. (i)

'Do please help to get things going.' The wisest words of a wise man. Will you help to get things going?

That is my defence of my activities. Now I must consider the wider concept of thought. This really returns to the main thread of the Intellectual's Apology.

Why think? Firstly, I would affirm that thought without action is not actively worthwhile. But it is like a engine, switched off. Eventually, there will come the man who will have the key. He will know that what has been written is right. Not necessarily my work. Anyone might inspire him to turn the key. Then the engine will start. And progress will come.

But without the engine, there is no movement.

Consider the great philosophies of the world. As much as I personally dislike it, Communism is a good example.

Marx was a thinker. He did nothing. Yet his thoughts spread. They created the Communist revolutions of the world, and the super-states: the USSR, and China. I do not say that Communism is the right engine for us to turn on. Humans will always turn the wrong key at times. But it is a clear example of how thinking leads to action. In this case, it lead to action decades later.

I claim no pretence to be a great philosopher. I am an intelligent person, who is concerned. Perhaps what I say will make a difference. Perhaps not.

I would add two points of minor significance. I like writing. We, all of us, have our hobbies. If I write rather than watch television, that can only be a good thing. In essence, I do act, as well as write. Secondly, it clears my thoughts. In the act of writing, my opinions are crystallised into clear ideas, rather than a jumble of concepts. This is important in facilitating all of my actions to put them into practice. I cannot act on vague ideas.

So this is the charge I will repeat to you: 'Do please help to get things going'. I was overjoyed to see that someone unknown had attacked my position. Nothing I say is final. I am ready to be swayed by cogent argument.

But do please help to get things going.



(i) What Next in the Law, by the Rt Hon. The Lord Denning, at p. vi.


Anonymous said...

Me again.

I respect your opinion that by discussing an issue, the issue can be dealt with and i'm sure your readers are inteligent people and also understand this.
However the fact still remains that as well as discussing the issues you could make suggestions to your countless readers of what they could do from behind there computers with very little effort.

I am a firm believer that big campaigns never work becuase they ask people to do too much, yet by being made aware of easy methods of helping people, people are more likly to do it.
There are credit cards which donate a small percentage whenever you use them, all people need to know is that they exist. As i mentioned previously there are websites which donate money to charities by clicking on adverts. There are even ways of leting your computer to be used for complex analysis in a grid computing system in an effort to speed up the discovery of cancer treatments and new drugs.

All i am suggesting is that as well as discussing such issues you could provide small 'bite sized' hints as to practicle solutions which your readers could do.

I hope you listen to my comments and i look forward to a fantasticaly long-winded reply rebuting all my points.

Francis said...

'However the fact still remains that as well as discussing the issues you could make suggestions to your countless readers of what they could do from behind there [sin] computers with very little effort.'

I understand your point, but this isn't what Philip is doing with this blog. I'm sure that anyone who really does want to do something will be able to find ways in which they can help; it isn't hard, people are just lazy. This work as a whole is designed, correct me if I'm wrong, to make people think. That is the first step, and that is necessary before anyone does anything.

Anonymous said...

'people are just lazy'
Your 100% correct, and no-matter how much they think about issues nobody is going to do anything unless they are presented with quick and easy methods in which they can fulfill their desire.

In order to finish this discussion, i will admit that this particular blog may not be the bst place for this discussion to take place, but if i have entered into anybodies heads the moral that people can easily make a difference in this new world than i have achieved my goal.

Phil' said...

Yay! Debate!

Someone's arguing with me, and doing so well.

Here comes the reply.....