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Journal, 1996-2024

Probably unwisely, I've posted my lifelong "intellectual journal" online, here. It's a very long document that no one would ever read in its entirety, but it's possible that some people might find sections of it worth reading. It has a table of contents to help with its readability. Here are the prefatory remarks I added in the beginning:

A journal from the age of 15 to one’s 40s is bound to be, in places, pretty embarrassing. I used to think my journal would be of interest to future readers—wanted it to be (however silly this sounds) “the most intellectually rich document in history.” My grandiose hope was that I might help preserve certain aspects of our culture’s heritage from the global conflagration that I knew was coming, by bringing them together into one document that could be read, perhaps, eventually, by those who survived the catastrophes. I also thought it might be worthwhile to record one individual’s lifelong attempt to grapple with perennial questions. –But life cures one of youthful self-importance. Maybe someone will at least find some interesting passages.
It might seem like shameless exhibitionism to make a document like this public, but I’ve deleted a lot of personal stuff and changed names. There’s little reason for anyone to care about the author. What might be of interest, rather, are the general truths—about a type of society, a period of history, and perhaps humanity itself—that the journal hopefully expresses.
The perspectives on subjects of intellectual substance are surprisingly consistent over nearly two million words. On social questions, the point of view is almost always Marxian. On the nature of the human mind, the perspective is rationalist, or innatist, nativist, semi-Kantian, Chomskian. On “the human condition,” there is a fair amount of existentialist alienation, albeit tempered by themes from the Enlightenment and Marxism. On gender roles and relations between the sexes, a polemic against doctrinaire social constructionism and radical feminism runs through the whole document. On “value theory,” the point of view is pretty consistently in the skeptical and empiricist spirit of Hume, J. L. Mackie, and the “sentimentalist” thinkers of the Enlightenment. On consciousness and the self, the journal continually returns to methods and themes from phenomenology and even Buddhism. On academic and mainstream intellectual culture, the viewpoint is highly critical, not very different from the attitude of Marx and Chomsky.
In retrospect, it seems to me that the dominant intellectual ‘framework’ of the whole thing is an anti-institutional humanism, a rejection of the specialized, bureaucratized, ‘professionalized’ way of doing things. Truth and humanity, I think, are best found in values not exemplified by the intellectual, cultural, political, and economic elite.

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