What?I’m a middle-aged Londoner who’s worked as a software developer, a university tutor and a company director. As the painfully mangled English of the site’s name suggests, this blog is to be a place for my thoughts. Thoughts, that is, that are primarily on big issues such as mind, identity, religion, and society, and only more rarely on the little details and ephemera of life. As a programmer, I haven’t had to write English prose for a very long time, and I’m not yet sure whether I’ll have the ability to create enough original, readable and coherent text to make this site worthwhile. In fact I’m feeling somewhat unsure and self-conscious about this whole blogging thing at the moment; so this is partly an experiment to see if I can learn to write.

To me, the single most interesting topic of all is how (or, indeed, whether) consciousness is enabled by systems of non-conscious matter, and I would like to spend a large portion of my time exploring this and related ideas in the philosophy of mind. Certain more abstract and fundamental philosophical areas also appeal, in particular those in the field of ontology. It’s amazing how much mileage one can extract from the simple-looking word “is”.

But more urgent issues are creating a distraction. Our world is already rife with poverty, violence, exploitation and suffering, but climate change, ideological oppositions and resource depletion all seem perilously close to causing catastrophic increases in every one of these woes. Leaders, politicians and the other power bases (media, religious, corporate) all seem intent on exacerbating the problems rather than finding sane and rational ways to deal with them (and with each other). The everyday wonders and luxuries of the so-called developed world currently seem so normal and so stable to those of us who are enjoying them, but to my eye they look ever more fragile. For most people on the planet normality includes only extremely tenuous access to food, water, energy, communications, education, healthcare, shelter and security. I do wonder whether this version of normality is soon to become the dominant one for all.

Quite why we are unable to get on with each other or our environment, as an ideal bunch of diverse but reasonable people should, is a topic that brings us round to “mind” once more. It seems to me that people are just not well adapted to logical thought; our thinking is riddled with irrelevant obsessions, cognitive illusions and unhelpful intuitions. I see religion as one symptom of such counterproductive thinking, but many aspects of the materialist consumer lifestyle are similarly misguided. Of the many approaches to psychology, evolutionary psychology appears to me to offer particular promise to untangle this area. Systematic studies of human foibles might just help us to find ways to work around our self-destructive tendencies and build more convivial and sustainable societies.

Although as an atheist I’m naturally saddened to see so many clinging to bizarre faiths despite any evidence in their favour, I’m also pragmatic enough to realise that it’s vastly more important for everyone to learn to coexist peacefully than it is for each of us to try to prove the supremacy of our own belief systems. I believe that No God is the one true God but I’m generally happy to deal with those who think otherwise. I’ll be setting out my stall on these matters and look forward to trading views with my competitors.

So here’s a handful of wide-ranging issues just for starters. The trouble with such grand and weighty matters is that one can come across as slightly deranged even contemplating them. They are far from the familiar flow of everyday life, and reading the above paragraphs I am a fraction alarmed by the tone. In real life I’m more of a cynic; here I seem already to be horribly earnest. Grand themes are also already well covered by grand thinkers, and my attempts at playing in this field are bound at times to be clumsy, clichéd or naïve. In formal terms I’m entirely unqualified to write on philosophy, politics or psychology. But I’m not going to let that stop me.

All constructive comments are welcomed. To get in touch directly write to u at thortz dot com.

11 responses

  1. Anas comments:

    It’s amazing how much mileage one can extract from the simple-looking word “is”?

    Check dis out, Thortz:

  2. thortz comments:

    That was fun, and makes quite a bit of sense but I suspect that one could play that unravelling game with many other words too. At the end of the piece “thing” is already in quotes waiting to be unravelled. The beauty of “is” is that it short cuts all those hesitant seems/appears to be/acts as if terms, but the don’t rush to judgement advice is good.

    I can’t hear Robert Anton Wilson’s name without being drawn back to being a teenager grinding through the then-new Illuminati trilogy. Makes me want a spliff just thinking about it.

  3. huatlim comments:


    Its a damn good site, and you write better than most bloggers, so no issue there. Your site is simple but deeply carved out of a passion for good things in life, big issues yes, but they are nevertheless small things that matter to us lot as me.

    Love your honest and simple approach to creating a blog and filling it out with your intellect, not wanting to do more than is required to send out the salient messages.

    Please continue to write, or redirect me to where you have moved on.


  4. thortz comments:

    Many thanks for the kind words & encouragement! I would love to restart this project – in principle – but I need to do something drastic to force myself to sit down & write; I discovered that it doesn’t come naturally to me 🙁

  5. huatlim comments:

    hi thortz

    If there is a thing that might start you up again on these fabuluos material posted for our enjoyment and learning, perhaps I can post a link or two:

    brian eno’s generatvie art: http://www.77millionpaintings.com

    or christo and jeanne-calude’s site:

    let me know if I succeed…[why these links you might ask..well I think they fill us with hope and inspiration to create or propose or merely innovate..for the enjoyment of others, in a small way or big…]

    I do like what you say about the big issues, and they are very enlightnening and also above all, very well written. English is not my first language, I wished it was, having lived in London for some ten years.


  6. Farsight aka Popular comments:

    Thortz: I’m somewhat middle aged and in IT too. What is it with us guys? I’ve been writing a series of physics essays which will collectively form a popular science book. The word “ontological” crops up repeatedly, and I’ve been using optical illusions to demonstrate the psychology of belief. I chanced upon your blog when searching for a fresh Adelson image. I too am interested in consciousness. We seem to have a few things in common. So:


  7. lindsay comments:

    Me again….Why o’ why do men get so HUNG UP on all this stuff?
    Your ‘tone’ overall is explorative, you’re engaged with where you’re going, but it is a tad on the ‘I-take-my-Self-very-seriously-thank-you-very-much’. The beauty of blogging is to EXPLORE, to genuinely welcome the unfamiliar and the unknown.
    There’s a ‘post’ on our site (canadada.wordpress.com) called, ‘This is NOT a Jackson Pollock Painting’. Regardless of what you think of Pollock, the link within that post is just downright FUN. You’ll be firing off those dusty neurons in no time flat. Welcome to the ‘Club’…L.

  8. george comments:

    hello. i love this layout, but i’m trying to make it even more simple. there is a website layout that i like alot, and i’m trying to use this theme to do it. can you help? as i am only a reverse coder, i can’t get it exactly the way i want.

    i’m trying to make it look like this site..EXACTLY. It’s perfect for my magazine project… http://www.rossevertson.com/blog/

    thank you in advance.

  9. thortz comments:

    Shouldn’t be too hard – but I can’t do it for you. Start with the stylesheet (The .css files) and try making just one change at a time; colour, then font, then font sizes etc. You will have to combine experimenting with researching about css on the web. When you’re feeling more confident you could look at the php files to see how to change the wording and other details. Good luck.

    Alternatively, see if the owner of the site you like will let you have their theme.

  10. george comments:

    that’s what i’ve been doing.
    check out the website i’m working on… http://www.jaxbrigade.com

    i put fake posts in there to see how it looks.

    i have some questions which are easy fixes, but i probably overlooked them. any help would be greatly appreciated even if all of these can’t be answered.

    1. is there a way to lowercase the footer? it looks like the date, header, and footer share the same code because when i changed date to uppercase, the footer changed to uppercase as well.

    2. also, is there a way to get rid of the blog title and put an image there while keeping the subtitle, “jacksonville’s art and indie magazine?”

    3. how do i change “x responses” to “x comments?”

    4. how do i add a title like “categories” in the sidebar for the search box?

    5. there is too much space between the blog title and the posts. how do i change that?

    6. how do i put more space between the sidebar and posts?

    any help would be greatly appreciated. THANKS! 😀

  11. thortz comments:

    Very sorry, George; you really have to do some work yourself to understand the code and the way WordPress works: your questions suggest you haven’t fully got the hang of it. You’re very welcome to take this theme for free and do what you like with it. But you can’t ask me to write a new theme just for you for free, or to teach you php. There are plenty of free resources around to help you with that already.

Leave a comment