The Network

I write.  A lot.  You’ve probably seen my writing, well, next to nowhere (unless you were one of the four and a half people who followed the blog I kept up while serving as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar in Egypt or stumbled across my master’s thesis online).  That’s because most of the thousands and thousands of words I’ve typed or written are between the leathern covers of a journal or in the dark e-recesses of a password-protected Word document stored in the Cloud.  As interesting is that all is for me and any unfortunate descendants I may one day have, I’ve decided to channel my narcissistic energies into something with a (slightly) wider audience.

So what do I plan to write about that’s more interesting than what I had for dinner or what precise level my existential angst was at on a given Wednesday?  People.  I love people.  Before you let that give you the warm fuzzies, I should say that I mean that in a sort of intellectual sense.  My interest is in people as objects of analysis both individually and collectively.  I’m fascinated by people communicating and connecting — I’m mesmerized by the exchange of information and exercise of influence that takes place within relationships and networks.

So much of how we see ourselves has to do with our place in these networks.  Implied in titles like ‘mother’, ‘killer’, ‘president’, ‘hermit’, ‘fifth cousin twice-removed’, and ‘patriot’ are ways of relating, active or passive, with other people.  Fundamental to the way I see the world is an understanding of myself as a node in the network, a point at which various relationships and connections intersect.  I plan to explore nodehood without boring you too much.  I want to ask questions about meaning and responsibility — you know, the big questions.  Another word for the way power flows through a network is, after all, politics.

To get back to people-love and to give you your warm fuzzies back, I really do love people (despite a heaping helping of misanthropic tendencies) and to that end, I want to ask some ethical and religious questions about networks too.

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