Saturday, August 1, 2009

The idle monuments to my wantoness

Today, after months of struggling, I have decided to finally clean and resurrect this blog. All of my old posts are gone (though saved onto my hard drive) because I cannot continue with such baggage; while many of my posts were amusing and whimsical attempts at philosophy, at the very core they were not admiral attempts, not to me at least. So I am starting fresh, but I am not alone in asserting how difficult that may be. After all, the urge to write is one thing, the ability to do is is another matter entirely; while the former calls me to write, it is canceled out by the fear of the lack of the latter. Then, of course, we are told to write what we know. Yet, as time goes on and I read, learn, and experience more, I come to realize that I have no knowledge and no understanding. All I have is a couple of protean opinions. I suppose that will have to suffice for now.

So seeing how difficult it is for me to write prose, I might as well begin this new blog with a poem which I think is appropriate for this reboot. This is from John Milton, the literary great-grandson of Homer. How quaint that I, an aspiring Hellenist, am beginning with a Latin elegy.

"Lines appended to Elegia septima"

Haec ego mente olim laeva, studioque supino
Nequitiae posui vana trophaea meae.
Scilicet abreptum sic me malus impulit error.
Indocilisque aetas prava magistra fuit.
Donec Socraticos umbrosa Academia rivos
Praebuit, admissum dedocuitque jugum.
Protinus extinctis ex illo tempore flammis,
Cincta rigent multo pectora nostra gelu.
Unde suis frigus metuit puer ipse Sagittis,
Et Diomedeam vim timet ipsa Venus.

I with foolish mind and heedless zeal formerly
erected these idle monuments to my wantoness.
Undoubtedly mischievous error impelled me, thus carried off,
and my ignorant youth was a perverse teacher,
until the shady Academy proffered its Socratic streams
and untaught the admitted yoke.
Directly, with the flames from that time extinct,
my encircled breast congealed with ice,
from which the boy himself dreaded frigidity for his arrows,
and Venus herself is afraid of my Diomedian strength.

Chances are that you're here because I know you and have urged you to visit. As such, my dearest friends, I would appreciate any suggestions or ideas on the direction I might take this blog and the topics I might speak of.


Seth Joshua Thomas said...

looking forward to seeing what later posts have to offer. but no pressure - i won't be grading you . . .

Daniel said...

Hey Evangelos!

Get used to that process of continually discovering how little you know! Your despair at the enormity of the problem of philosophical knowledge is the true beginning of wisdom. And it reminds me of when I stopped writing poetry, almost 10 years ago because poetry writing (to me) required a background solidity of perspective to be applied to the world and I just had too many philosophical questions to interpret what I saw with loads of assumptions and confidence of viewpoint.

But that said, I have always felt like your naive confidence has also served you well philosophically because it has made you completely willing to try where others avoid. And it makes you far more philosophically sensitive than most of your peers because it frees you to practice and explore.

So, my advice is to never lose sight of either the confidence in your innate abilities nor the knowledge of your own youth and relative inexperience. That means confidently putting forward what you think, readily expressing your confusions and uncertainties and using your corner of the internet as a place to invite dialogue with your friends and other like-minded sorts, through which you do the maturing as a thinker that you're primed and fully capable to do.

In other words, use this as a place to start conversations and advance them rather than to try to end them, and you won't have to worry about psyching out when you see most clearly how little you actually know clearly. When that happens you can know that your studying, questioning, and writing is working because the complexities and problems are becoming increasingly visible to you.

Ev Vek said...

Thanks so much to the both of you!
I am writing up a new post for tonight that I think you'll enjoy, and I would love your feedback.