The All-Seeing Eye

Musings from the central tower…

Hello world!

Ah, the Hello World. I can still remember my first programming class – we used QBasic, in which the Hello World program consisted of the following instruction:

PRINT “Hello World!”

Before that class I used to “program” my personal computer: A Commodore 64. That machine used plain old BASIC, and my first program reflected my priorities at the time:


And that, I hope, may be contorted into some sort of useful metaphor concerning this blog. My first program was not the conventional, didactic, “Hello World,” but rather something that I dreamed up. I’m not claiming that it takes much intellectual horsepower to conceive of displaying one’s own name on a TV screen, which is what we used for a monitor that first year we got the Commodore. But since then I have made my own path in many more significant ways, and ventured, untaught, into many additional fields. Computer programming wasn’t the first (it was preceded, in predictable little-boy fashion, by my study of astronomy and dinosaurs), but it was the first that really stuck in my personality, that really gave me a new tool with which to analyze and communicate ideas.

And that, in a nutshell, is what this blog is about: finding, evaluating, and using an ever-expanding collection of analytical tools that will help us better understand and affect the systems around us.

I like to tell stories, and a lot of my previous writings have consisted of a story followed by the implications of that story and how they apply to some current issue. Much like a sermon, which tells a story from the Bible, only to draw a concept out of that story and then from that concept extrapolate some lesson or advice to the congregation that is hearing the sermon.

The thing is, I see stories everywhere. In economics, politics, philosophy, psychology, theatre, literature, history, cognitive science, even mathematics. When I hear a story told by an economist I want to learn a new way to look at human behavior. When I hear a story told by a philosopher I want to learn a new way to look at politics. My goal is to come up with whole new ideas – but I’ll be satisfied with new ways of looking at old ideas – that can be usefully employed to change peoples’ lives. That’s a tall order for a lone blogger, and I may end up, like Albert Jay Nock, writing for an unknowable potential future audience (“the Remnant”) in need of my ideas, or worse, for no one at all. But despite the risk of failure or irrelevance, I have ideas, and I might as well write them down before they go away, or else, to quote Emerson, “to-morrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another.”


January 24, 2008 Posted by | About | , , , , | Leave a comment