Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Idea, and The Method.

I guess form dictates that I do something to introduce myself. A few of you have seen my other blogs and might know roughly who I am from there, or wandered in from facebook. Those of you from CAF and MP will need a little more explanation.

My name is Zachary J. Adam, and I'm a 20-year-old from New Brunswick's southern regions, in Canada. I've been a lot of things in my short life, from full-time student to casual scholar, from lowly fry cook to Assistant Chef at a top-rate Inn. I've fixed broken cellphones, cobbled together webpages, and written everything from a light novella to political tracts, and from historical essays to business proposals. I'm the guy you know who took up a trade for the hell of it, when he could have ended up as a doctor, lawyer, or philosopher.

Over the last several years of my life (basically since I "discovered" the outside world at age 13 to be more than just an abstract concept to fill the space between house, school, and internet servers), I've made casual study of a number of topics, from history, language (I'm written-proficient in English and German and have enough French to stumble through a conversation), culture, geography, chemistry, biology, medicine, philosophy, and psychology. In high school, I specialized in advanced mathematics, physics, chemistry, and Canadian law. I graduated my school with honours and my college with three semesters of the Dean's List under my belt.

I say this, not to feign some form of higher insight, but to underscore the fact that I don't, really, know anything. The human mind is an empty shell when compared to the vast libraries of our physical and metaphysical world. I also want you to understand that I'm not coming into this from one of the typical backgrounds. I wasn't raised to any real doctrine (well, perhaps a slight bias to the left, with emphasis ethnic, social, religious, and academic pluralism), and I attended the finest public schools the towns I've lived in have had to offer. The topic of this blog is something, growing up, I never figured I would end up exploring. Before I graduated from high school, religion was a fashionable item, another identifying badge made inadequate by the measurements of science and irrelevant by a society that aught to be accepting of all cultural norms.

Then someone said to me in the early days of college that it was impossible to quantify the unquantifiable. Science has her place; measurable knowledge, readily documented and easily disseminated. Verifiable through falsification. Science was the weapon that beat back the dark of the night, heralded in a new age, and put a man on the moon. But it was only good for the studies of the branches of Chemistry, Physics, and Biology, and from there, their varying branches and intermixing offshoots. Philosophy, to an extent, Psychology, and, well, Theology... they required Science's founding principle: Reason.

There are unquantifiable values in our natural world. Until the problem of the mind is solved in the (admittedly young) science of Neurology, the human mind will always be an unknown value that can only be guessed at. The only person who ever knows what's going on inside a given mind is the owner of that mind, and you can trust me when I say to you that sometimes even they haven't got a clue.

Around two years ago, I was able to rationalize God, or at least a face as him. I had a reasonable framework by which a god or gods was possible. I was then, by progressive contemplation, able to work out which God.  I've been a Christian, at least nominally, ever since... and searching for a home for my spiritual side.

While there are those out there who might argue, I think it was better to have found Him later in life than earlier. To have been brought up into it would have caused me to miss very important lessons, lessons that have shaped my thought. I consider myself a free-thinker, someone who is objectively rational. While I agree that subjective thought plays an important role in life (I'm a culinary and literary artist, after all), objectivity is a prized and rare ability, to which I can credit only my parents and a small handful of teachers, instructors, and acquaintances  to whom this blog is in silent dedication.

A Note on Method
In the past, I've seen blogs and forums run with too loose a hand, and too tight of one. I wish to avoid that. The loose grip prevents advancement, and the tight one prevents the free exchange of ideas. I have, for now, chosen to allow anonymous posts.

I should be clear, however, that I will only be responding to commentary that is rigorous, amicable, and rational. Throughout the run of this blog I will be citing my sources and showing my work like a proper scholar, and I would expect any judgmental commentary to show the same level of integrity. In exchange for the requisite mental elbow grease, I'll be perfectly happy to pursue any such material with an objective eye to what it represents. All this, of course, takes some time.


  1. What do you mean exactly by casual scholar?

    1. I mean learning the thing that interests me at the moment without a formal plan to do so. In other words... learning as I go.