I can understand why people would have very negative perceptions of philosophy. When I was introduced to the topic at age 19 yo, I was less than positive. The reason was it seemed so detached from reality, alot of abstract nonsense that seemed so distant from reality.
What changed me was reading 'Capitalism - the Unknown Ideal' by Ayn Rand. I was at the time a liberal - fairly conversative, fairly pragmatic. This book was important because it mounted some very good arguments for keeping reducing government interference in the economy. But what was more interesting was its introduction to ethics.
I had like everyone else accepted that selfishness was bad and selflessness a noble ideal. I believed helping others was a noble way of getting ahead. I soon realised that it was a total rationalisation on my part. Basically I was motivated by self-interest, though I have come to disagree with Ayn Rand on some aspect of her philosophy.
Aside from the contradictions, I still think there is no better introduction to a very special philosophy. It is without a doubt the only philosophy that offers a consistent defence of capitalism. The utilitarian and libertarian defences are baseless.
Science & Technology
Science is one of the most interesting topics. I studied geology at university and I will never cease to be amazed by fascinating insights into how the human mind functions, how the world works, and the personal adventures that it creates, not to mention great leaps forward by the human race. Some of these leaps including:
1. The Americans landing on the moon
2. The science making it possible to understand the human mind
3. The exploration of the universe by space probes
At times I wish that I could have been the first Australian, and that I might have been the first person to explore the Snowy Mountains (NSW, Australia), or the first person to discover gold in outback NSW. The reality is that there are still frontiers, though its just alot longer than a days drive to get there. It requires a dedicated and persistent effort.
In this blog I want to discuss some of the most important innovations and scientific developments and the implications for us. I want to discuss such issues as science vs religion, the implications for the internet. So there will be philosophical insights, forecasts of future development as well as just wonderful developments in science.
The intent of this blog is to 'take the piss' out of my contemporary writers. There is a great deal of rubbish written, and whilst alot of it does not deserve a rebuttal, if the urge overwhelms me, I have taken liberty. Mind you I think critiquing is my best skill. Why? I think I have always wanted to be different rather than anonymous. Being great to me meant being different. Yeh ok 'self important'. Jus someone give me a newspaper column or a book publishing contract and I will retire.
There is little to say at this point. I am currently writing a book. In fact there are several projects under way. In the past I have written a great deal, however most of it remains on my HDD. Increasingly I will publish it on my blog on in books for sale. Some of the articles and letters I have published are:
1. Multi client energy reports for Barlow Jonker Pty Ltd, an international energy consultancy
2. Letters to the editor. I had a great many published in the Japan Times when I was living there.
3. Submissions to the Australian Federal and State governments on various public policy issues, eg. Crime Prevention, Water Resources and Mining.
4. Blog postings
My interest in philosophy stems back to my childhood. My father frequently talked about politics in the home and my mother always brought an Australian Financial Review home in those formative years.
I remember having disagreements with other kids at school. They would argue that the USA was just as bad as Russia, and I argued that the USA was better, though I could not articulate why.
When I was 19 yo working at Pizza Hut to help pay my way through university, my boss introduced me to a book "Capitalism - The Unknown Ideal' by Ayn Rand. She spoke with conviction and had very convincingly arguments. Her next book 'The Virtue of Selfishness' was even more interesting because I had never really given much thought to ethics in a systematic sense.
I did however have a healthy respect for logic and science since I loved the subject - particularly geology.
The next two books I read were her popular fiction efforts 'The Fountainhead' and 'Atlas Shrugged'. Both of these books were best sellers, made into movies, and have never been out of print in the last 50 years. They sell like their antithesis -the Bible.
At university I met some people like me who were engrossed in Ayn Rand. We each paid $50 to study taped lecture courses from the USA. The speaker - Leonard Peikoff - was funny and brilliant. I studied various topics including Objectivism, An Intro to Logic, The History of Philosophy, Philosophy of Education, and others. I even found at old taped lecture series by psychotherapist Nathaniel Branden at the university library.
After university I largely lost contact with these people. I was travelling and mostly reading other philosophers, and I was more interested in psychology and self-improvement books.