Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Spring and Blogging

The original subtitle of this blog was ‘When I work out what this blog is about, I’ll let you know’. It was intended to express the truth about the state of my intentions, but it was only a filler that I expected to change quickly. In fact it stayed there for more than two years. Well, that’s blogging, I suppose. You never really know where it will take you.

But I did change it eventually, and now this little experiment in talking to myself is subtitled as you can see above. It not only reflects the current state of my intentions, it is also slightly more informative for the reader who stumbles across it. An improvement, then.

But is it really true that this what I want to limit myself to? Do I need to feel bound by it?

Hedgehogs are pretty, exotic, neurotic, fetishistic, sociable when they want to be, and very funny, usually when they don’t want to be. Everyone loves a good hedgehog story.

Beauty is very much a subjective thing, of course, but the perception of beauty is often shared, and we may be happy to learn of and understand the beauty that others have seen. If it is not found to be shared, it can come to be shared, and that sharing is a pleasure in itself.

There is beauty in mathematics, and perhaps one of the things that makes a mathematician is the ability to recognise that beauty. There is a beauty in music which I think is only truly appreciated by musicians. There is a beauty in almost every aspect of the world and of human existence which some of us can recognise and be inspired by. The arrival of spring reveals a great deal of hidden beauty in the world which in turn shows up as greater beauty in our soul (or spirit). It is quite possible that a conscious, intelligent being could not exist without a concept of beauty. Without it the mere instinct for survival would not be enough to power our will to live. I like to find beauty.

Truth, the third leg of my rather lopsided blogging triangle, is a completely different matter. It is very difficult, perhaps impossible, even to define truth, much less agree on what it is.

There are many ways of presenting the truth, many ways of believing you have arrived at a truth, but in the end it depends very much on the rules applied to the search, and on the context in which they are applied. Pure mathematicians use strict definitions and rigorous logic; it is possible to identify truth and falsehood absolutely, within the universe of concepts to which those rules have been shown to apply coherently. Applied mathematicians wave their hands about. Politicians, men in pubs and bloggers shout, bombast, misdirect, appeal to common sense, mysticism or the intellect of the reader/listener, and more or less make it up as they go along in their attempts to be seen to be right, and to have their pronouncements accorded the accolade of truth.

What was true is suddenly shown to be false. What once was, is not. What was not, now is. We argue about facts when we should be arguing about definitions, we argue about definitions when we should be arguing about facts. We argue about both when we have little or no understanding of either, and ‘the truth’ is often simply the point that I, or the other chap, got bored with the argument.

Despite all of these difficulties, I shall continue to blog about truth, because I think it matters, and the search for it is endless fascinating. And I shall continue to blog about beauty and hedgehogs because they make life more fun. And I shall occasionally talk rubbish, because not even I can be right all the time ;-).


Vincent said...

I would like to read some hedgehog stories on your page. I wouldn't mind how true they were, so long as they illustrated how pretty, exotic, neurotic, fetishistic, sociable and funny these creatures can be; ideally without forgetting that they harbour fleas.

CIngram said...

Well, I have written quite a few hedgehog posts, but there is always more material. I'm sure your wish will be granted before long. Truth I cannot promise, but I guarantee a complete absence of fleas. Hickory takes his personal hygiene very seriously. (Well, we do anyway. Sometimes, from the look on his face, you could almost believe he wasn't enjoying it.