I propose, with this blog, to address some of the more serious questions of life and this world, including issues that find themselves regularly at the forefront of political discussion. My intention is to employ a series of conversations between a couple of imaginary characters, ranging (usually) in tone between testimonial, didactic, and tongue-in-cheek.
Q: UH…SO WHAT’S…WITH THE NAME?
A: The name I have chosen for this blog (“LLL”) is an abbreviation for what I think, sadly, is somewhat of an unfortunate name (“A Logical Look at Life”), but which I believe is a most concise and accurate description of what I hope the blog to be. I think the longer version of the name unfortunate because one might easily infer that I mean that all other looks at life are illogical, and it sounds uppity besides. But that’s not my intention at all; of course one could come up with a different look at life (using, say, assumptions differing from my own) that is still perfectly logical. But my emphasis is on the “logical” part of the name, because of the innumerable looks at life or parts thereof we have all seen that are based on faulty logic.
Here’s the deal: I believe that given a certain set of reasonable assumptions (most of which I hope to explicitly enumerate throughout), one can use deductive reasoning to follow a logical procession of steps toward certain conclusions about life in general. That same logic can also be used to refute counterarguments that may arise from various specific cases.
Q: SO WHY THE SILLY ABBREVIATION?
A: What, “LLL?” Easy to remember, I suppose. I hear it’s good for business. (Not that I intend to make any money off this – heck, it’s hard enough for me to imagine that anyone besides family and friends will ever read any of it.) Throw in the fact that it coincides with the name of a particular mathematical algorithm I used to find certain matrices in my dissertation, and voilà, we’ve got ourselves a name.
Q: WHY SO LATE WITH THE BLOG BANDWAGON, LI’L DUDE?
A: You refer, I beg to imagine, to the wave of blog craze that began several years ago. At that time, it seemed especially popular to me for the blogs I followed to use their medium to detail the goings-on of everyday life, and/or to state what was on the author’s mind. I didn’t have much to say in particular at the time to justify my use of a full-fledged blog, I felt, so I stayed off the beaten path of blogs. However, I have discovered that many others have been using blogs for reasons similar to what I intend to use this blog for, hence the justification for this blog arose. Admittedly, I still took my sweet time in getting around to it.
You may not find this blog to be terribly unusual, and indeed, besides the fact that many have a similar type of “opinion” blog, there is little to be mentioned on this blog that hasn’t already been noted elsewhere. What I believe may be unique about this blog is in the way all the ideas are juxtaposed, and perhaps in what it tries to accomplish – which, as implied above, is to lead the reader through a logical procession of thoughts to certain conclusions. Kinda like a book! Ya know?
Though it was not my original intention to make it so, the object of this blog is very much like Clive Staples (“C.S.”) Lewis’ in his famous book, Mere Christianity, which I have read since the time of the conception of the idea for the blog. Of course, Christianity’s stated purpose is to inform a layman of what Christianity, in general, is all about; mine is to show the logical validity of beliefs of my own, which parallel many of those Christian beliefs – which shouldn’t come as a surprise, as I consider myself a Christian. Incidentally, I recommend the reading of Mere Christianity to anyone and everyone.
Q: SO I’M GUESSING YOU’LL BE APPEALING TO THE BIBLE?
A: To the Bible and to any other ancient/modern text that I find helpful in illustration of any points I try to make.
Q: GOOD HEAVENS, BUDDY, YOU’RE NOT GOING TO BE REFERENCING A WHOLE BUNCH OF WACKO BOOKS, ARE YOU?!
A: The reason I might bring up one text or another is to give credit where it’s due, and thus avoiding plagiarism. The mere reference to another book does nothing, by itself, to strengthen an argument. This is an instance of ad hominem, which we will shortly discuss.
Q: I SUPPOSE YOU HAVE YOUR OWN BUNCH OF GOOFY RULES ON COMMENTS?
A: Ah, comments. What a curious role they play, especially on the Internet, where they have achieved such remarkable notoriety. Of course comments can be helpful to a discussion, but I imagine we have become all too familiar with the spectacle of one of perfect innocence devolving into bickering oftentimes largely or totally unrelated to the original topic, replete with a wide variety of hateful character insults almost irresistibly easy to lob at each other from behind the wall of anonymity. Amazingly, most of these same commenters would probably be perfectly able to have a civil conversation with each other in person, but for that wall. Furthermore, the forum of the Internet makes it difficult to understand one’s tone of expression (which initially may be one of peace, rather than contention, as may often be assumed), and even more so to know the assumptions upon which another bases his arguments. Without this essential knowledge, can settling upon agreement ever reasonably be expected? But disagreement is not only the norm, but in some cases encouraged, and as long as participants react with the attitude that every disagreement is inevitably an attack on his person, there will never be such a thing as “disagreeing agreeably.”
And yet despite the above attack, I remain an optimist regarding the future of comments (although one might say that I am naïve to so be). Comments are therefore welcome. I should mention my preference for comments that are contributory to the discussion in the post in question, and also to the overall “peace” of that discussion. For that reason I intend to monitor all the comments that are submitted before their publication. I think it need hardly merit mention that comments meant to be inflammatory – whether in the direction of me or another commenter – are not contributing to the peace of the discussion and therefore will not be tolerated. I furthermore have an absolute zero level of tolerance for offensive words. I reserve the right to determine whether a comment is worthy for publication on this blog.
The purpose of the blog is to declare the truth, which must thus be ascertained first. If anyone disagrees with me on what the truth actually is, let him tell me why, and I’ll weigh his argument and make changes appropriately. Not to say, of course, that I’m the ultimate authority on truth, but being the editor of this blog, anything that I say thereupon is going to be what I believe to be the truth. Unless, of course, I’m kidding, which hopefully will be clear from the context.
By the way, the first fifty-odd posts intended for this blog have already been written. After I have published those and tie up all the loose ends associated therewith – which will consist of at least another fifty blog posts, undoubtedly – I imagine I’ll pursue a few special topics (i.e., for special audiences), and then I expect it may degenerate into a sports blog, and then eventually to non-maintenance and falling into disrepair, and probably even to non-existence, following what seems to be the life cycle of most blogs as I have observed it.
Q: WHY THE HECK DID YOU WRITE ALL THOSE ENTRIES AHEAD OF TIME, YA GOOB?
A: In an attempt to make certain that the reasoning used was sound and free of emotional bias (which may have been present when the post was written), that the references between blog posts were correct, that the posts followed an appropriate “logical order,” that all the cases and issues pertaining to each blog post subject were addressed, that the jokes were all appropriate, and perhaps for a variety of other reasons I can’t think of right now. Having admitted this, of course, I’ll note that the posts will inherently be held to a higher standard, and any mistakes (grammatical or otherwise) made henceforth will be all the more embarrassing. I should mention, however, that the whole thing is still a work in progress, and I will likely be changing things around even after they’ve been posted to the web.
A: Of necessity in trying to cover all possible cases, there will often be some sections that are of interest to some few whose interest in them may simply be to “have closure;” i.e., see the argument to its completely thorough logical conclusion. As I don’t feel it necessary for all to see these – which may impose a significant additional burden of reading – I will “hide” the text in such cases in expandable sections, usually entitled “Details.” I may decide to entitle such sections differently from time to time.
Q: …ANYTHING ELSE?
A: Yeah: let’s see…I’m not going to always, if at all, differentiate between gender-specific pronouns, merely for the sake of retaining generality; i.e., I’ll probably just go with the traditional use of “his” instead of “his/her” and “he” instead of “he/she.” I’ll also try to not use the third-person plural (“their” or “they”) when I mean only a single person, since it’s inaccurate and probably just as confusing. I think it should usually be clear from the context that in such general cases I mean the possibility of both genders, despite specifically naming only one. Perhaps I’ve done this already in this initial post.
In following this practice so I dispute any accusation that I am being “sexist;” no offense is meant toward any person or group, and I assert that any offense taken will be the responsibility of the person taking it. (This last statement goes for any case in general, and not just the specific one presently being discussed.) If one would demand a reason for this decision, my answer would be that it simply seems to be unnecessary to clutter up the text with repeated use of this convention, which may at times become somewhat painful to maintain. Besides, I don’t believe that I’m obligated to conform to what somebody else believes is “proper English;” communication is the key here, and I believe it will be just as likely, if not more so, to occur if I pursue this course.
Q: SO ARE YOU GOING TO BE ANOTHER ONE OF THOSE GUYS WHO PLACES A STRAW MAN FOR THE OPPOSITION’S VIEWPOINT?
A: No, my hope is to represent the opposition fairly, and even to the maximum of its argument’s logical strength. You might occasionally notice that it doesn’t get the same air time. This does not imply, however, that the argument has been reduced: the reasonability of an argument has very little, if anything, to do with its length. Very often – and perhaps always, depending on the preceding assumptions made – an argument can be summarized into a few concise statements of its various points, and my intention is to do that with the opposition while not leaving out anything critical. So before you go accusing me of constructing a straw man argument, you might double-check to make sure that my representation is not actually, in essence, the same as the opposing viewpoint, logically speaking.