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O Say What is Truth Part 3

Note: This is the third and final essay in my quasi-epistemological analysis of Truth. The first and second parts are also available. Additionally, this is the last planned daily essay on this website. Additional content can be found at my website. Thank you for reading. 
Third AssumptionWe have a duty to learn as much Truth as possible. The meaning "obligation or duty" is tucked into the Greek word deon- and is usually known through the Kantian system of ethics known as deontology. And though I'm familiar with his work, I can't boast to have read all his works. So if he's on the same wavelength as me on this aspect of the application of his moral philosophy I don't know. Nevertheless, I think it can be rationally asserted that it is incumbent on every human being to learn more about the world. It satisfies the categorical imperative in his maxim "Act only on that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law [of…
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Metallica

During my sojourn south this summer, I did what I now consider an important tradition for my writing retreats: I bought a new album.
Now, I should say that when I say "new", I don't mean "newly released" or even, necessarily, new to me. I mean, I buy what I'm interested in hearing at the time, regardless of its newness. In this case, I picked up Metallica by, no surprise here, Metallica.
I've always liked the radio friendly, but I was curious to see if there was something more on the album itself. And though I listened to a podcast about the album Master of Puppets, I wasn't sure if I wanted their earlier stuff, middle of the road, or new sounds. I went with the safe bet and snagged their self-titled (often called "the Black album").
I regret it not.
The album is fantastic, but that's old news. (The thing came out in, what, '91?) The cuts that didn't make it to mainstream radio aren't surprises ("Through the Never…

Indefatigable

This word describes Shakespeare's work, and in no other case is that more apparent than Hamlet (and, as is so often the case, Hamlet). Despite my parenthetical aside, I'm again struck by how the meanings and depths that Hamlet plumbs are...you guessed it, indefatigable.

I have read, seen, or taught Hamlet countless times--not countless because I can't count that high, but because I can't remember how many I've seen or read or taught. The safe guess is that I've gone through that play, in one form or another (not counting The Lion King, my favorite of the Disney Renaissance films of my childhood) at least fifty times. I always get something out of it, I always realize something new, I always feel there's more to explore. Hamlet is a well from which I can never overdraw, as it is like Juliet's love: Infinite (Romeo and Juliet 2.2).

How did Shakespeare pull this off? Part of it is that he allowed himself to luxuriate. Though he has some lengthy plays, not…

What I Say

In terms of pedagogy, I follow Socrates in weird ways. If you've heard of the chap, you know Socrates is known for asking questions. We always think of Socrates and his method as being question-based.

While that isn't necessarily wrong, it's important to note how Socrates uses questions. Think of the beginning of Book IV of Plato's The Republic. There, we see Socrates being asked a question by Adeimantus, but most of the first major section of text is Socrates' answer (after having asked a clarifying question of his interlocutor). He doesn't necessarily spend a lot of time asking questions and listening to others.* In fact, he often posits his own ideas at great length, occasionally asking for input from the others.

It's important to note that he sets up his arguments with large, important questions. Book I of The Republic starts off with this question: "Is life harder toward the end, or what report do you give of it?" (11). That launches them int…

Why the Move

Counting this post, I have five remaining essays on the Results of Ruminations blog. This isn't to say that I'm giving up my non-fiction writing--that isn't changing at all--but I will be shifting over to my author website, stevendowdle.weebly.com. This is a mixed bag for me, but I think it's time to start generating more content in the place that I'd like to see people visit.

While I'm not an SEO guru or anything like that--and, it seems, I'd probably be better off outright buying the domain to let it start percolating through the search engines--I feel that having visitors to a Blogger site isn't that worthwhile. I don't pretend that someone will read an essay I write, then think, "What else has this kid written besides essays?" and will then try to find my website. But if they're already there and want to look around? Then it's easy.

I have additional features on my website that aren't on the blog. For example, there are sam…

Tool For Worldbuilding

In speculative fiction, we use the phrase "worldbuilding" (sometimes with a space, sometimes not) to talk about the process of creating the rules about the imagined worlds in which our stories take place. Tolkien is held up as the gold standard, what with the fact that he created complicated and diverse languages, then used his story of The Lord of the Rings as an excuse to showcase the people and world that spoke that language. He points out in his "Foreword to the Second Edition" that he doubted anyone would want to read it:
I desired to [write these novels] for my own satisfaction, and I had little hope that other people would be interested in this work, especially since it was primarily linguistic in inspiration and was begun in order to provide the necessary background of 'history' for Elvish tongues. (xxii)  Maps, languages, histories, and other sundry notes were compiled posthumously in The Simarillion and other books, all under the direction of his …

Shatter Me

This is the fourth music video analysis (the others are allfoundhere). These essays try to use the visual medium to help encode an interpretation that the text both supports and obscures, allowing the director of the music video to provide an additional analytical lens.

I'm looking at an artist whose music I stumbled into because of the instrumental work that she's best known for. The album, Shatter Me, features the eponymous track with singer Lzzy Hale, even though most of the tracks on Lindsey Stirling's records don't have a lot of vocals. There's a soft spot in my heart for Stirling's stuff because it is the music that most galvanizes me when I'm trying to write. I'm almost afraid of listening to it for fear that its power will be broken, but whenever a track from Shatter Me comes into my playlist, I find my ability to focus is heightened. (I have a hypothesis for why this happens, but it's immaterial here.)
The Set Up This is the music video of …