Today I thought I’d mention something about the array of things that interest me. To me, everything I get interested in is part of an exploration of what is amazing and wonderful about the world around us.
My interests include everything from trying to understand the human condition, through to physics, music, history – including military – and engineering. I have university qualifications in a variety of these fields, and I’ve published on most of these subjects – books on everything from engineering and science (earthquakes, cars, trains and so forth) to naval history to military history to analyses of settler social structures. It confuses the hell out of people trying to slot me into a category or give me a label. And it’s also given critics ammunition to fuel their relentless worth-denial attacks on my professional work; if I write on one subject, how can I be an expert in another?
I also find I get labelled, often for no better reason than that somebody has read some small snippet or a social media comment, focussed on a specific point, and assume it to represent the whole of my knowledge, opinion, or statement on that topic. I also get politically labelled at times. If I express interest in military history or military technology, or if I object to the authoritarianism of those who identify themselves as ‘left wing’, I must somehow be ‘from the right’. Conversely, if I propose that humans should show kindness and care for each other, and that one way to do so in a complex organised society is to have the government arrange ways of re-distributing wealth so that those whose misfortune of not of their own making are helped, it makes me ‘from the left’. In short, if I say something that slightly fits part of a stereotype, I find myself tagged with all of it by people who are demonstrably ignorant of me. I find all of this slightly annoying.
One of the things humans do is to categorise – to create artificial barriers between aspects of wider reality. This allows specialty; but it also masks the general patterns and structures of the universe. And it denies the potential for synthesis.
For me my interests are, of course, consistent; finding out about how things work. Everything fits into that, one way or another, and human nature has to take centre stage. Human nature sits behind everything – even the sciences and engineering, where social frameworks, personal ambition, character and self-validation have all played key parts in shaping the way we understand the universe and how technology is expressed. Human nature is by far the most crucial force that has shaped society through time – hence, moulded history.
So really, when it comes down to it, it’s all about people, one way or another.
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2019