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Is Morality Necessary?

A digression about writing

C1 When I think, my thoughts flow easily, without constraint. I immerse myself in a problem, I explore it for a while, and then my mind passes on to something else. There can be no question of forcing myself to think on some problem, if something is important to me then I shall think about it, there will be no stopping that, and on the other hand what is neither of importance nor of interest will never engage my attention for long.

C2 All the most important problems, or at least all the most interesting problems (the ones which interest me) have no solution. Lots of philosophical problems interest me, but I am not interested in solving them; I chew them over, explore them, bring in my own peculiar philosophical devices to bear upon them, and then I pass on. N10

C3 When I come to write, it is with the hope of reproducing on paper something similar to what goes on in my head. It does not matter whether or not anyone judge it good, the only thing that matters is whether it represents myself. When I think I may pursue many things, but when I write, in writing I have only one end, that of presenting myself as vividly as possible to my reader.

C4 Though it sounds simple it turns out not to be so. I simply have to write down my thoughts, but my thoughts are only partly verbal, and they scurry hither and thither faster than anyone can type. So when I stop to put them into words I disrupt the whole process, in working out how to verbalise them adequately a whole host of other problems arise and the direction of thought changes. Writing is not an appendage to thought, a little extra task one puts on the end of each thought, it is an entirely distinct process. Rather than thinking a thought, then putting it into words and thence onto the paper, one must simply think a sentence and put it straight down.

C5 Now this change, the change from simple 'in the head' thoughts to 'sentence on paper' thoughts, isn't at all difficult to accomplish. One needs only to approach them both in the same anarchic sort of way. The trouble with writing is that one tends to bring too many preconceptions to the task. That is, one isn't prepare to let the words flow as they will, one demands all sorts of things of them. A coherent essay is quite a different thing to a string of random thoughts. It has a subject matter, to which it must stick, and one expects it to have a definite goal in mind to which it should proceed in the most economic way possible, neither including anything inessential or missing any steps of importance. What for example is this doing in an essay on morals? Well its loosening me up, thats one thing.

C5 It isn't simply here to loosen me up though. Its here to proffer some sort of explanation of the oddities of the bits of the essay which are on the proper subject matter. It is this approach to writing which, initially at least, will cause me to write slightly more discontinuously than might be expected, and which will tend to precent me from ever actually coming to a conclusion. (for my thoughts are never concluded) And this is why I insist on writing in this manner. I intend to do a lot of writing. If I can make money out of it then I expect I shall do an immense amount, but even if not I shall still write a lot. The reason for this is - I enjoy writing. But until now I have not had a great deal of pleasure from writing philosophy essays, because I always begin with good intentions, I intend to work it out before I start (roughly at least) and then proceed logically through all the different steps of the argument to my conclusion. This straight jacket in which I tie myself is just about bearable for the few writing contributions the philosophy department expects of me, but as a basis for a lifetime of writing it is unthinkable. The only way to write a lot and get pleasure from it is to write naturally and freely. That is the framework within which I shall write. If it is important for some things to fit into a tighter scheme of things, then I shall eventually succeed by this route, and in the meantime I shall not be paralysed and wordless.


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