By way of introduction

Editor's note: Craig Spence has generously offered to contribute some posts to our blog. He submitted the following as his introduction. ~Ian

Writing is my way of understanding, it’s a vocation, in other words, a part of who I am. So I have built my career – my peculiar contribution to society – around writing. If I could, I would have been among the world’s most popular novelists, and spent my life intensely engaged in speculative fiction of one sort or another. Being ‘successful’ as a creative writer is still my goal. But the necessities of living, and contributing to a family, have taken precedence for the last 30 years. So I have followed my passion in other forms: for 15 years as a community journalist; and another 15 as communications manager with a large, urban school district. More recently I am back behind the editor’s desk at the Ladysmith-Chemainus Chronicle, a small weekly on Vancouver Island. Along the way I have written five novels, had two published, and have plans for at least five more works of fiction, if my health holds out.

What I intend to write here is a series of loosely but thematically connected posts that will broaden and deepen my own appreciation of what it means to be a humanist. I am setting out in the hopes that readers will offer commentary and guidance. Although it has taken me a long time to get here, and I have learned much along the way, I am a newbie in the humanist fold. I am in the process of transferring my beliefs to my current philosophical living-room, making decisions about how to arrange the intellectual and emotional furniture, and perhaps what to hide in the cupboard or shed. BC Humanist Executive Director Ian Bushfield and I have chatted, but – in true humanist fashion – he has left it up to me to lay out a floorplan for my posts.

‘Where?’ is a difficult question for me. Am I asking: Where do I begin? Or: Where do I end? Or: Where am I now? I’ll start from the beginning, and leave the rest for future posts. The beginning of philosophy for me is the Cartesian truism: “I think, therefore I am.” That existentialist point of reference is my pinhole into the universe. Without elaborating, or attempting linkages, a couple of key conclusions have emerged in my desire to compose a universe out of that minuscule bit of certain knowledge. First, there is no God. Second, living spirit in any form could never have manifested out of nothing, or out of purely physical preconditions. The tension between those two statements is central to my beliefs and always the starting point of where I am.

‘When?’ will be weekly, in my most optimistic estimate; perhaps monthly, if life intrudes in its unexpected ways.

I hearken back to the beginning of this post in asking myself why I’m interested in writing a series. Writing, in the broadest sense of the word, is my way of understanding. There is a technique I refer to as ‘wedging’ when I write. I wedge an article by focusing on key words in a passage on revision, and expanding them within the context of what’s already been set down. Learning is not a linear process; it’s ‘organic.’ It takes place simultaneously and unconsciously and (dare I say) transcendentally. Wedging is my writer’s technique for emulating a mental process that can’t really be achieved by a pen scratching in linear fashion on a sheet of paper.

So how am I going to go about all this? I think enough has been said already to figure that out, which is to say, I’ll be figuring it out – hopefully with help from you – as I go.

Upcoming Ideas: Who do you pray to when there is no God? / Nothing out of Nothing – so every thing’s always been / The four aspects of living spirit: Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, Spiritual / ‘Til death do us part – the inalienable nature of Natural Rights / Ego: The necessary illusion.

www.craigspencewriter.ca

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