Essays

Essays represent my most closely argued and deeply researched online muse & reason. If you are looking for shorter or less scholarly reads, please peruse my articles. Else you can read my jottings for a collection of random scribblings.


Latest

Intellectual Warehouse

While access to information is now relatively more widespread than in the past, the modern paywall can often prove to be as much of a hurdle to access as the price of manuscripts was in yesteryear.

Bitcoin’s Dirty Little Secrets – Political

In praxis, the result for Bitcoin is that the ideological claims for a decentralised, government free, anonymous currency has given way to the ‘worse-is-better’ ideology of why most people seem to be dumping cash into crypto: to get rich and live the capitalist high life.

Bitcoin’s Dirty Little Secrets – Environmental

It is with no small degree of interest that I have been watching Doug Belshaw’s latest side project unfold, extinction.fyi. I have long been concerned with the negative human impact on our environment and while I am some way off from thinking the world is on fire, it is clear that business as usual is going to leave a decidedly lessened planet for our children. For our children’s children, we may even bequeath an uninhabitable planet. Thus my spotlight on the ecological effects of our choices is slowly widening and most recently has taken in cryptocurrency. 

In part thanks to Tesla investing an aggregate $1.5 billion in bitcoin, short sellers and ‘people who refuse to buy into the Elon Musk hype‘ more broadly have gone into overdrive. First surfacing the myriad financial issues, now ecowarriors are piling in to use the high profile platform as an opportunity to callout the environmental harm of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency generally.

Leadership: A Human Encounter

Thomas Carlyle observed ‘the history of the world is but the biography of great men.’ In many ways, much business literature about ‘leadership’ only gets as far as Carlyle in its thinking and then rests, sure in the belief leaders are self-made people from whom lessons can be drawn and leadership techniques formalised. A classic example of this is an approach adopted by Howard Gardner in comparing eleven ‘leaders’ with a group of ten political and military leaders to test notions about leadership. Yet such views are simplistic, as those who go beyond Carlyle have found in the writing of Herbert Spencer:

Constantine: Divine Emperor or Christian Saint?

The pulvinar was the consecrated bed, on which the images of the gods reposed. To this bed the early Roman Emperors only repaired in the long sleep of death, conscious of the fate which had befallen their progenitor Julius. Recognition by the Senate as divus was a posthumous honour, termed consecratio, following a good reign. Yet divine status was not a simple all or nothing, god or man situation as a ruler could be linked with aspects of divinity. Plutarch drew a direct connection between the actions of a good king and the divine Logos. In this way, though virtuous governance a ruler could become eikōn theou (the image of God on earth). Martial used a similar theme in noting that a statue of Hercules on the Appian Way had been sculpted to resemble Domitian (Imperator A.D. 81-96). So taken was he by the notion of his own divinity that Domitian started insisting formal letters begin with “our lord and god commands so and so” and it was not long, though perhaps driven more by fear than sycophancy, before this form of address became the custom in speech.

Company Men

In Calcutta a statue was erected to Lord Bentinck, Governor-General of India. Its inscription bears citing at length as it is testament to the moral zeitgeist with which the British believed their empire to be infused:

[To]William Cavendish Bentinck, who during seven years ruled India with eminent prudence, integrity, and benevolence; who, placed at the head of a great Empire, never laid aside the simplicity and moderation of a private citizen; who infused into Oriental despotism the spirit of British freedom; who never forgot that the end of Government is the happiness of the governed; who abolished cruel rites; who effaced humiliating distinctions; who gave liberty to the expression of public opinion; whose constant study it was to elevate the intellectual and moral character of the nation committed to his charge, [This Monument]Was erected by men who, differing in race, in manners, in language, and in religion, cherish with equal veneration and gratitude the memory of his wise, reforming, and paternal administration.

Madmen Raging Against the Sacred

First, let me thank you for the wonderful comments I have received, asking how I have been and why I have not written something for what seems like a long while…

It has been an unpardonably long silence since I last wrote an article for this blog, but it has been writing, I am very happy to say, which has kept me from this labor of love.

University is back in full swing and I have worked on nothing else, in the lamentably few moments of time away from the coal face I can claim each week. This semester is a look into the middle ages. My first short essay was written on Papal involvement in the Crusades.


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