Twofish's Blog

December 2, 2006

Leo Strauss and Blogs

Filed under: academia, asian am, personal — twofish @ 7:57 am

I’m finding that the ideas of Leo Strauss are useful in writing a blog.  Strauss argued that to avoid persecution, ancient Greek writers would include a reading which is esoteric and another which is exoteric.  This is also a common trick in Chinese writing.  The nice thing about allusions and code words is that it lets you discuss issues in public that would be too sensitive to talk about in public.

The critique of this is that it creates the “insiders” and “outsiders” and discourages public discourse.

But ironically I’m using codes and code words actually can help public discourse.  There is stuff about myself that I want to talk about, but can’t directly, so I talk about something like the situation I’m facing, and that let’s me thinking outloud.  I’ve done this before.  I’ve never been in a literal car accident, but I’m not lying when I talk about being in one.  Because you don’t have to know what actually happened to me, and I don’t want to think about what happened to me.  But if we talk about car accidents, and how people deal with them, then I can apply that knowledge to my situation without letting you know what that situation is.

The problem with this is that it leads to suspicion.  When do you know that I’m talking in code, and when am I not talking in code.  I suppose the solution is to be honest about when I’m being slightly dishonest.  I like to think that when I write something, it contains the essential truth of a situation the best I can describe it.

And in some ways talking in metaphors and symbols is what I do in physics and mathematics.  When I write an integral equation, that represents something in a form that I deal with and think about, and by writing it done, I do so in a form that other people can critique what I’m thinking.

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1 Comment »

  1. Deep. I like it.

    Comment by Adam — January 16, 2007 @ 4:37 am


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