Note: I now have a new about page. This old one is kept as a record.
I’ve noticed that Greatplay.net lacks an about page, or any specific kind of summary of who I am what it is that I am trying to do with this website. Why does this website even exist and why should it continue to exist? Today I have set out to create a post to fix this problem and explain what the heck it is I am trying to do with this site.
Who am I? I’ve never really thought of my personal life or identity that important to this blog, but I am Peter William Hurford. I attend Denison University, which is located in Granville, Ohio. At the time of this writing, I am 21, and am an undergraduate junior at Denison.
I am currently attempting to get a Bachelors of Arts degree in Political Science and Psychology, with concentrations in Economics and Organizational Studies. By way of personal interest, I plan on further specializing in both political and moral psychology, but this doesn’t matter for the diploma.
What is this blog? I’ve been hanging out on Greatplay.net since 2004, but I didn’t start writing regularly until March 2009. After that, this place became the home for my “online notebook” — a complete table of contents of these posts is available. Additionally, this website is the resting place for all of my assorted projects ranging from derelict multiplayer games and chatbots to web proxies and coin flippers. Lastly, this website also hosts my attempts at online game design, as seen in my arcade.
An Online Notebook
Why do I want a blog? Why not simply keep a diary or just not write at all? I do it for three reasons: to remember information, to organize and apply information to solve problems, and to have a creative outlet to recommend to others that can secure the benefits of discussion.
- The first reason I have a blog is that it is a good way to remember everything. Like most people who seriously study, I read a lot of books and a lot of articles on the internet. I end up constantly learning tons of new things in my quest to figure out how the world (and the people in it) work. However, like most people I also tend to forget a lot of what I learn. All too often I have too many cool ideas in my head to keep track of them all. Thus the reason to keep a written record — if I summarize some of my learning on my blog, I can go back and re-read what I wrote. My ideal blog would be a written summary of absolutely everything I learn that is worth remembering.
- The second reason I have a blog is that it is a good way to organize and apply information. It is not enough to merely have a laundry list of facts to recite on every subject, but a way to synthesize those facts into new information; to think creatively and apply knowledge to chip away at and eventually solve tough and interesting problems. Writing a blog gives me a chance to not only record thoughts, but to record thoughts in action. Writing a blog post forces me to condense information and use it to make a point, and then use multiple points to make progress on solving problems.
- The third and final (and most important) reason I have a blog is that it is a good way to have a creative outlet I can share with others and secure the benefits of discussion. When people want to hear information on a topic, I can refer them to a blog post I have written that I find relevant. I can also publish persuasive argument and use it to challenge the way others think. I also get to dialogue with others out in the open, and use their insight to improve my thinking and get challenged by their persuasion. If I receive criticism of my ideas, I can use it to further inform my own thinking, and reflect on whether I am wrong. If I am wrong, I will change my position, and then can write about it on the blog to help others and help myself. It’s far easier to solve a problem together than it would be just myself, and by keeping my thoughts private I deny myself and others this opportunity.
Building a Body of Knowledge
Another intention of mine is not to simply write an essay and then keep it in its form forever, casually moving on to another topic, but to consistently revisit old topics and update them with my best understanding. So, when I learn something new, I may end up abandoning an old theory. In the process of crafting a series of posts, I may decide that I want to rework the entire series to be more coherent. This might lead to me deleting old posts, updating them, reorganizing them, and republishing them.
I promise this won’t happen often, I will likely err on the side of publishing a new essay explaining the faults in the old essay, and I will never delete a series that is finished. I will hold a tendency to build upon existing works of mine rather than demolishing them. But still, in the case of an unfinished series that has been updated but lost its focus, I will likely demolish it and replace it with newer, more correct knowledge.
Another tactic I might use is to go back to recent posts and edit them, adding responses to objections that I didn’t know of before. Again, I promise only to do this to essays that are recently forming (published within the last month or so), and to update older essays with new essays explaining the faults.
What is this blog used for? Now that I mentioned that this website is as a tool to develop and nurture my intellectual interests, it leads one to ask what exactly are my intellectual interests?
Currently, these intellectual questions and problems include:
Note that calling those questions “fundamental” is me editorializing my own opinion. However, if I figure out a way to solve all of those problems, I will die a fulfilled man.
Where to next? Well, you can head back to the front page to see my most recent essays. Or you can check out the complete table of contents for all my work. I hope you like it. Don’t be afraid to contact me if you have any comments or questions!
I now blog at EverydayUtilitarian.com. I hope you'll join me at my new blog! This page has been left as an archive.