Thursday, July 9, 2009

(1) Pilgrimage

It seems ages ago when, as a youngish physicist, I started work
at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory in New Jersey.
I had traveled clear across the country to take the job. A native
Californian, Berkeley-trained, my name is Darran James. And
now here I am, after many years, retiring from the Laboratory
and embarking towards a new career of my own calling.

Several years before retiring as a government scientist, I decided
to trudge part-time through a Master's Degree bestowed by
Princeton University's Philosophy Department. I decided that I
wanted to be a Philosopher of Science, specifically focusing on

My friends at the Laboratory thought I was a bit "nuts" going back
to university--and especially getting into philosophical metaphysics.
Of course I didn't feel that the effort was a waste of time. Though I
already was well into my prime I had no intention going forth into
another job, particularly in academe.

No, what I had planned was to be a free-thinking philosopher--
and free from all job attachments that could dictate my course.
I didn't need the money. I didn't need the prestige. "Been there,
had that" to paraphrase a popular adage. What I wanted was to
*enjoy* myself, following a philosophical course that had long
interested me: How does the Greater Reality work in this world,
close to home, or far and away in the universe?

As it turned out, living in Princeton, I had available contacts in
useful places: the university's Philosophy Department and Library,
the Princeton Theological Seminary, and the Institute for Advanced
Study. Considering my project, these three nearby places should
prove invaluable!

Anyway, I have decided to keep a record of my pilgrimage--as I
have come to call my entree into Metaphysics. Beginning, I must
make mention how I arrived at this decision to move into
Metaphysics. Consequently, I must backtrack.

Beforehand, during my young adulthood I was about as pragmatic
as one could possibly be. What I couldn't observe via my senses,
or their extended technology, simply was not real, hardly worth
considering. Hence, I was neither religiously nor spiritually inclined.
As for academic philosophy, it seemed much like the nit-picking of
those medieval churchmen who tried to count how many angels
twirled atop the head of a needle. Not relevant in today's modern
world, as far as I was concerned.

So what happened to change my course?

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