TAKING STOCK – TWO YEARS OF PHILOSOPHICALGUIDANCE.COM

“I am writing for myself and strangers. This is the only way that I can do it.” – Gertrude Stein, The Making of Americans.

 

 

This week marks the second anniversary of the first post on this site. I thought it would be a good time to take stock of my progress. The attentive reader knows that for the most part the 309 blogs are not random essays, but an unfolding philosophy book intended to methodically examine the relevant elements of the field of philosophy for designing a meaningful life. Today I would like to outline the path I have been following to offer context for new and erstwhile readers.

After a few introductory posts on defining philosophy and the site’s mission, I jumped into the Big Picture – the reduction of practical philosophy into its two major divisions:

[1] The nature of reality (9 posts from 11/9/18-12/3/18), and

[2] Ethics (13 posts from 12/5/18-1/4/19).

In that analysis we found that reality and ethics are manifest at five levels or tiers, each of which requires reflection in fashioning a flourishing life. These are the foundation this project.

We next took on eight special topics essential to expanding our understanding of reality and ethics that form the brick and mortar of our construction:

[1] Good and evil (10 posts from 1/6/19 -2/6/19),

[2] The question of God (19 posts from 2/8/19- 3/27/19),

[3] Body and soul (15 posts from 4/3/19 – 5/6/19),

[4] Death and immortality (24 posts from 5/13/9- 7/5/19),

[5] Free will, fate, and human destiny (42 posts from 7/17/19 – 10/23/19),

[6] Teleology (40 posts from 11/11/19 – 1/31/20),

[7] Suffering (40 posts from 2/10/20 – 5/11/20; including 7 on the COVID-19 pandemic).

[8] Certainty (38 posts from 5/18/20 – 8/14/20), and

[9] Introduction to the Meaning of Life (18 posts from 9/2/20 -10/12/20 and ongoing).

Conclusions on the big picture and the eight special topics were included in 5 review posts (8/17/20 – 8/28/20) prior to the section in progress.

Along the way, I stopped to blog on some of my current reading:

[1] Fake News (12/12 and 12/14/19),

[2] The Philosopher’s Magazine (1/11/19),

[3] Before the Big Bang (2/27 and 3/1/19),

[4] We Are Not Alone (3/29 and 4/1/19),

[5] Is Life Worth Living? (5/8 and 5/10/19),

[6] God and Physics (7/8 and 7/10/19),

[7] Revolutionary Deism (7/12 and 7/14/19),

[8] Does God Exist? (10/28 and 10/30/19),

[9] African Philosophy (2/3, 2/5, and 2/7/20),

[10] Finding Wisdom (5/12 and 5/15/20), and

[11] Who is a meaning of life for? (8/31/20).

It was a pleasure in the last post to welcome my first guest blogger, Barry Zern, who presented an alternative view on God (10/14/20). I thank him for his contribution and would be happy to receive others from readers.

Over the last two years, the site had 2,454 visits by 1,990 different users from 102 different countries on six continents. The majority (64.9%) of users came from a search engine (94.3% Google; 3.3% Bing; 1.6% Yahoo, and 0.5% Ecosia ) while 31.1 % came directly to the site and 4% from a social media referral (91.3% Facebook). The most visited page was The Summum Bonum (post on 1/23/19 and Appendix Table 2 and Diagram 1). The most visited current reading was We Are Not Alone.

The book is currently about three quarters complete (although the posts are probably more accurately viewed as a second draft rather than final, and provide detail and length exceeding that permitted for a modern publication).

From here that I will finish the introductory section on The Meaning of Life and then discuss the four components and their integration. I hope to end on how various traditions and individuals encapsulate this format and try to synthesize the ideal approach, at least for myself: an ongoing, public, individual search for enlightenment.

I hope this quick review helps summarize the composition of the site and helps those who wish to return to past sections in their own journey. It remains my passionate goal to present a system of practical philosophical guidance that, to my knowledge, is unavailable in modern form.

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