Tuesday, February 24, 2009

An Introduction

There now, hopefully things look a little more put together at this point. You should now see a few new links as well as redirects from FightingShadows.com and FightingShadowsBlog.com to make it slightly easier to get here. Content will be on the way slowly but surely as time allows, but for now I'll go ahead and start off with a brief introduction to what this blog is all about.

First a little background. I've been running a blog on and off for a little over a year now and ended up quite surprised by the result. As with most bloggers I suspect, my blog started off mostly as just a personal journal posted to the internet, but before too long I noticed the number of people reading regularly started to far exceed the number of my friends who I expected to be checking up now and then. Over time the scope got broader but it was ultimately still a blog about me which became less and less interesting as the focus shifted. Ultimately driven by reader comments and my motivation to really set off in a new direction I decided what needed to happen was a complete departure from writing an online journal and to instead write entirely on the more abstract elements that were already becoming focal point anyway. And so, after a good bit of kicking around the concept I'm ready to get things started with Fighting Shadows which as a concept goes something like this...

Plato invited us to imagine a cave in which prisoners are chained facing a wall, unable to see anything except the wall in front of them. On this wall are shadows cast by objects passing in front of a fire set behind the prisoners. Having been long immersed in this world of shadows, the prisoners even when released are reluctant to accept the true reality outside of the cave. Plato goes on to suggest that if one prisoner did escape and eventually discover the truth of the outside world that upon returning he would not be believed and would in fact be scorned by the other prisoners who it is suggested would even go so far as to kill him if he were to try and free them.

This allegory is I think all too easy to relate to. Ideas have a way of entrenching themselves, some good, others not so good. Since ideas lead to actions and actions shape the world, it is especially important that good ideas perpetuate and succeed while bad ideas fade away and disappear. In the midst of social, economic, and ecological turmoil, good ideas are gaining importance but still lacking in acceptance.

Assuming we can sort out the difference between the good and the bad, at what point then is it the most practical to interrupt the cycle of bad ideas? If we interrupt the flow of objects which cast the shadows the demand for shadows by the prisoners will remain and doubtlessly be filled to spite our efforts. If we confront the prisoners directly we will be met with disdain and hostility, and we will be unlikely to make any progress. And so we must direct our attention to the shadows themselves, shedding light on them and exposing them for the misrepresentation of reality that they are.

So that, in a nutshell, is it. This blog exists to fight shadows, by identifying and spreading good ideas in opposition to the bad ideas that distort reality and are the cause of distorted actions that shape the world in not-so-beneficial ways. What that really means and how I plan to go about it via this medium are up next time. For now thanks for reading and as always if you have any feedback feel free to comment.

TFTD: Does anybody really know what time it is?

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