Friday, May 1, 2009

Siegfried Goodfellow

Heathen Ranter (Siegfried Goodfellow) is a brilliant thinker and writer. His only flaw is that he can't title a piece properly even to save his life. Take the name of his blog, for instance. Heathen Ranter, it's atrocious and completely fails to represent his thoughts or his style. His most current post is titled, "Big Guns Do Not Always Win Out." Again, the genius of his essay is betrayed by his lousy title. Now, I understand he uses this "Big Gun" metaphor as a thread of consistency through the work, closing, in fact, with "Those who carry big guns may lack it where it counts, you know what I mean?" Nevertheless, he's not giving himself enough credit for statements like this...
Because phenomena can be difficult to describe, and patterns may sometimes take sophisticated techniques to fully identify and bring to the surface in good resolution --- hey, but none of that is very "flashy", is it, and if your entire intent is to engage in a little display-behavior with your homies, not so interesting --- certain phenomena may require fairly involved and nuanced apparati to lock down, and it is always very easy to knock down someone else's scaffolding if your entire intent is to knock down.

Goodfellow mentions Obama in this essay, appropriate because the two display similar modes of practical analysis guided by an underlying philosophy of benevolent justice and hope. They are both dreamers, but reaching for the stars with their feet firmly planted on a ground of intelligence cultivated with knowledge and nourished with a bit of wisdom.

I can only conclude he has a blind spot when it comes to titles, because there's no reason for the failure, otherwise, when he can express himself as in the following,
If you're caught up in debunking, congratulations! You've come into the "terrible two's" of critical thinking, where you've just learned that you have the ability to say "no" to anything and everything you want in the world. Congratulations! But just remember, while you're in this phase, don't be surprised if some of us treat you for exactly the intellectual age you're demonstrating. Because critical thinking involves a lot more than simply the ability to say "no". You've got the "critical" part down, but you've left out the "thinking" part, which involves deep contemplation, rigorous intellectual engagement of one's intuition and pattern-recognition skills, and the ability to revisit topics again and again regardless of their level of "proof" or "disproof", because many, many times, important nuances, partial truths, and sometimes even whole truths, are left by the wayside to fall in the cracks in the midst of debates which are less respectful mutual inquiry and dialogue about differences than polemics.

My only reason in pointing this out today is that I needed an excuse to highlight his blog and some catch to send my readers over to view it. I've only been reading him a short time, but I'm deeply impressed. Even when I discover myself quibbling over a minor point here or there, I always learn, and he makes me think on a deeper (better) level than before.

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