Thursday, May 14, 2009

Book stuff 5

In the previous four posts I have been sifting through possibilities and uncovering how my central goals will affect the tone and content of my first book. Now I need to ask what to write about.

And I am certain that my first book needs to be a diagnosis of modernity.

Let's break the impossibly broad into the ludicrously difficult.

  • Modernity within the history of ideas; consistent patterns
  • Fundamental presuppositions; convergences and departures with its others; the precise contours and composition
  • Consequences for action and civilization; where modernity operates and how; predictable elements.
  • Assessment and "big picture"
  • Call to action

The initial direction that I wish to investigate is something along these lines: that human thought is both complex but also binary; that memes, like organisms, have a common ancestor; and that features of these ancestors can be objectively recognized and traced through history. I wish to deconstruct the notion that human thought is progressive along the lines of discovery and science; and reconstruct a model of the history of ideas that is alternately progressive and regressive. Human thought is not a Comtean climb out of the valley of superstition over the mountain of positive fact; human thought, like being itself, is the constant interplay and tension of being and non-being, producing innumerable variations, some large or small, beautiful or ugly. The history of thought is like the Hindu metaphor of a river of many tributaries, but there is oil in the water; each tributary has a different mixture of each, and at every convergence and division the proportions and patterns change. Some tributaries are safe to drink from in proportion to their purity; others are deadly.

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