Random Thoughts Indexed

My Method

My method has been a little haphazard until now. It has consisted of a melange of listening to people talk about their lives, reading, and trying to understand my own personal experiences.

These form the raw material about which I think. I have had to work long and hard to try to eliminate my prejudices, and prevent as much as possible my own psychology from tainting them. Success in this area is difficult, however, to judge for oneself. I try to reduce the essence of what is common, what is the general nature that results in the particular events, over a wide range of experience. These data encompass in their scope history, geology, sociology, psychology, archaeology, physics, chemistry, biology, paleontology, political science, philosophy, art, religion, and the tools used to organise them in their own particular domains - mathematics, statistical analysis, myth and legend, the scientific method, rapture, and storytelling.

While I may not qualified to go on at length on many of these subjects, and I am certainly not well versed or even competent in some of their arcane modes of analysis, I think I have read and talked and listened enough to not feel a huge gap anywhere in my basis for reasoning.

My thoughts have slowly turned, from a wide array of disparate subjects, to coalesce on fundamental themes I become particularly excited about - so called human nature, the nature of consciousness, love and its mysteries, and lately, the understanding of how the predictable part of the universe is related to the unpredicable part - how they can be part of the same "thing" - and what this means in terms of our understanding and experience of our world.

Nowadays my "method" is to go lie in the grass, turning ideas over in my mind, testing them, connecting them, and when something seems to be a part of the puzzle I come running in to my computer and type like a madman while the concept is whole in my mind. I don't know what I will do when winter comes... Sometimes I am able to remember an analogy or metaphor for my thoughts and feel safe that I will not lose it, of course, and then I write about it later. If I am not at home I scribble notes to myself, sometimes just a word or phrase, sometimes several pages of illegible scrawl.

At this stage I am not concerned with building a coherent whole work for you to read - I want to get my ideas written down in discrete self contained chunks, and that has led to the structure (or lack of it) on this web site.

7/12/00

At a broader level, my method is to keep thinking, talking, and writing about the subjects that concern me (love, the mind, consciousness, how to live, the nature of being, etc.) and let the ideas open up to newer, broader, or more concise ways of seeing these topics. Constantly arranging and rearranging the symbols (words) that represent my understanding allows me to see other things in them, other aspects of their meaning, other ramifications.

These is much the way a scientific theory or model of the world, having been expressed in the language of abstract mathematics, is then examined for its consequences, other things it says should be the case. Except I am not as rigorous as the "scientist," since I keep working at the level of words and language, which are never as rigorous or precise as we might like them to be.

I like to think, at least, that if I explain what I think in one way, leaving perhaps some ambiguity or imprecision, and then explain it again another way, and then perhaps a third by touching on it in another essay, eventually there will be only one thing that can be meant by this piling up of explanations. I like to hope that the meaning of this piling up is of some clarity and even of some use to others pursuing these same topics in different ways.

1/21/02

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© Huw Powell
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