Welcome! My name’s Dan. Untrammeled Mind is where I explore, engage, and offer up for discussion philosophical musings, social and cultural commentary, and whatever else I happen to be working on or struggling to understand. Comments, questions, and suggestions are encouraged!

Most of my blog posts are first drafts.

If there’s a set of guiding principles here, it’s this: confusion over certainty, collaboration over debate, compassion over hate.

As someone endlessly driven to write about more topics than I could ever hope to understand, I also like this quote from Christopher Hitchens’s memoir, Hitch-22 (bold emphasis mine):

Every article and review and book that I have ever published has constituted an appeal to the person or persons to whom I should have talked before I dared to write it. I never launch any little essay without the hope—and the fear, because the encounter may also be embarrassing—that I shall draw a letter that begins, “Dear Mr. Hitchens, it seems that you are unaware that…” It is in this sense that authorship is collaborative with “the reader.” And there’s no help for it: you only find out what you ought to have known by pretending to know at least some of it already. (p 362)

In that same spirit, I’m also warmed by these (I think more inwardly contemplative) words from Susan Sontag’s introductory notes to her classic collection Against Interpretation:

Before I wrote the essays I did not believe many of the ideas espoused in them; when I wrote them, I believed what I wrote; subsequently, I have come to disbelieve some of these same ideas again—but from a new perspective, one that incorporates and is nourished by what is true in the argument of the essays. (p 2)

Which reminds me. In my blog posts, I often link to books and such at Amazon.com. If you click on a link and buy something, I get a small commission. (It doesn’t cost you anything extra: it just gives me some of what would have gone to Amazon.) Here’s a general link:

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