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Friday, February 6, 2009

First Post: Why?

For four years, from 2004 to 2008, I maintained a blog at least weekly, sometimes more - the DT Strain Philosophy Blog. Those entries are a record of a wonderful philosophic explosion that took place in my life, and I still look back to them for study and reminders of my explorations. Archives of those posts can be found at

However, I decided to take a break from blogging after finally coming to an important realization. Having been interested in philosophy for many years, I had always read, thought, discussed, and written on philosophic topics. While I was never a hypocrite, I always had this nagging feeling that I was waiting for something - like I was learning and learning and would eventually get to this point where I would say, "ok, now that I have it all figured out, I can apply this." But what occurred to me was that one can learn, discuss, read, and write philosophy all the live long day - and it is meaningless without practice.

It is the practice that is the important part, and we cannot wait until we have it all figured out, because that day will never come. Therefore, I took a step back from my blog and other writing for a time - even much of the reading. I resigned from various email lists I was on, and decided to stop focusing so much on the academic, and more on practice. I started meditating more, trying to live by my values more, and so on. I still haven't fully reached my best practice, but I'm making progress. I've even started regularly attending the Buddhist temple I wrote about in my former blog, with intentions to take some classes and eventually take refuge (that's the Buddhist ceremony in which one formally becomes a Buddhist).

However, after a time I found that many fascinating ideas continued to pass my way, and I felt like they were slipping past me. Before, I would often go back to my earlier blog posts as a journal, where I could be sure I wouldn't lose these insights and lessons.

So now, after this break, I think it's time to return to blogging. This time, however, things will be a little different. For one, this blog will be mostly for me - as a learning journal which I can use to refer to later and provide a record of my thoughts. That means I won't be making efforts to make sure I have at least one post per month, or that I put them out on the same day. Nor will I be looking at visitor statistics and trying to spread notice of my blog as actively as before (except one initial announcement to friends and family).

Why not simply keep a private journal? For one, I want to be able to reach its content from any computer anywhere I happen to be. Secondly, there may often be times I want to let a friend or associate know about some concept or idea I've put into a post, and then can simply give him the link. Thirdly, if others are out there and do happen to gain anything from what I'm learning or thinking about, then that is a good thing. Lastly, I have often received good ideas and thoughts from readers' comments, and there's no reason I should refuse myself that opportunity again.

In this blog, I expect to further chronicle my explorations of Humanism, Buddhism, Stoicism, and other important philosophies - but this time hopefully with more focus on the experiential aspects of developing a better practice. Hopefully this journal will help those practices, rather than distract from them with. Through this, what it means to be a Humanist Contemplative, the notion on which this overall site is based, may continue to develop further.

So, without further ado, let the journal/blogging begin! :)

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