Manifesto

[last update: February 16, 2017]

When I started this blog, one of the first things I wrote was: “When I’m on my deathbed I want to be able to say, if you want to know what I learned and believed in this life, look up Joyous and Swift. It’s all there.”

But the more I wrote, the less that I cared about having my identity or legacy carried forward with the blog. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that using this blog as a pseudo-quest for immortality was a silly thing to do.

Now the sub-head of the blog, “meditations on a life worth living” is a decent summary of its purpose. The first book on philosophy I ever read at age 15 was a book of Plato’s dialogues. That’s when I first read Socrates’ famous line, “the unexamined life is not worth living.” I’m not sure I fully agree with that statement, but I’m still thinking about it and what else makes life worth living 24 years later. And that strikes me as a good enough purpose for this blog.

This blog is a perpetual work in progress. Each post is listed in chronological order, but I am liberal about updating posts when I learn or discover something new. I think some bloggers might object to this as a form of revisionism, but this isn’t a news or a prediction site. When I update a post, I’ll list the date of the most recent update at the top (as I have on this post).

My areas of interest include doing anything outside in the mountains, long-distance running, meditation, history, artificial intelligence, music (mostly classical and alt-country), philosophy of language (later Wittgenstein), philosophy of mind (Dennett, in particular), foundations of math (Gödel, early Wittgenstein, Russell, ), law, futurism, technology, and evolutionary biology.

I once tried to make a living as a writer, but I found the making a living part compromised the writing (at least for someone with my limited skill set). I now enjoy the wiggle room to write whatever I want when it isn’t what I need to do to pay the rent.

I’ve only met one person who reads more than I do.

l like to play board games more than anyone I know.

I wouldn’t mind it if I were rich, but I have no desire to be famous.

I have a thing for high-quality tea.

I believe that unless you are at a low rung on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, time is much more valuable than money.

I have spent a few years at prestigious institutions. I did not thrive there.

I prefer to avoid “news.”

I have finagled a life for myself where I don’t work that much compared to most people.

I believe that life is not best lived by eating fancy food or traveling to exotic places. Nor is the point to avoid pain or suffering. Life isn’t about getting or being “high.” Nor does status or success bring a resolution to life’s problems or mysteries. I believe that life is best appreciated by keeping a perpetual attention to the wonder of the very fact that you are alive, for as many moments as you can, for as long you are alive. You won’t be for long.

I believe there is a science and an art to winning at life. The science is the focus of most of the content of this blog.

When I die, I want a tombstone as a memorial. I don’t care if my former body is buried underneath it. You can burn me down and shoot my ashes out of a cannon or flush them down the toilet. But I do want a stone that serves as a reminder that I was here.

And I want it to say this:

Here lies Kieran

He was Joyous and Swift

1977-?

Until then, if you’d like to reach out to say hello, my email is Kieran(dot)McCarthy(at)gmail(dot)com.

Main image photo credit: Wayne S. Grazio

Twitter profile photo credit: Kapuchinsky