Some Things to Look At and Think About

Pictures and Essays by Martin Hunt

Sigh. I'm getting to learn what it's like to grow old. The body definitely does go through big changes as it gets to be elderly. Now I know why old people have the sort of cautious gait they do for instance. (Hint: When your inner ear wears out and your sense of balance gets impaired your experience of the world changes radically.) I'm really lucky. Mobile and able to do as I please. I've been lucky that way most of my life actually. I started into adult life in what was then called the counter culture. I lived in country and took photographs and had my bed under the developing table in my darkroom. At the time I was dimly aware that I was stepping away from the normal Canadian circumstance of having a good job and a prosperous family life. Looking back I'm very aware of the enormity of that step. But like I said; I was lucky. I didn't know what I was getting into but it worked out pretty well.

Here's what happened. I became free to explore.

In particular I became free to explore what I call philosophy. I've always liked philosophy in the sense that I had favorite philosophers like Bertrand Russell. But I also approached people writing about nature as philosophers in the sense I was interested in the implications of what they were learning. Gradually I started using pictures as a way of exploring physical ideas and their philosophical implications. Over time I developed a set of ideas that I thought worked well but as far as I could tell nobody was thinking like me. Much to my suprise in the 1990's I encountered a whole bunch of thinkers who were thinking along the same lines.

In the late 1990's I encountered Philospher's Cafes. These were gatherings in coffee shops where a person would give a short lecture and then the group would discuss it. High school kids were bringing their girls on dates! It was great. Eventually I was asked to moderate a discussion and I did that once a month for about 8 years. I evolved a style of philosophy that is conversational - I'd introduce the topic and then not pose as an expert on it but rather let the participants carry the conversation.

I've been an active participant in a virtual reality called Second Life. It's sort of like a video game where you have an avatar you can move around in a 3D virtual space. The difference is that there is no game - just the environment and the other people in it and what they can do. For me the main thing to do was to build things and talk to people. I started doing conversational discussions around a virtual table there and it was popular. I've been doing that twice a week for 10 years now and it has been a fabulous education.

Each week I'd write a short essay on the philosophic topic of my choosing. By philosophic I mean that I was dealing with topics like morality or epistemology and not current events or politics. I usually don't know much in advance what I will write. Something comes up either in my other conversations in Second Life or in my reading that catches my interest and I sit and write about 1000 words about it. Then I'd present that to about 10 to 20 people in text chat and they'd discuss it. These people all knew lots about whatever topic I could bring up and had their own ideas about it. They brought to bear on the topic that interested me the thinking of many many philosophers I could never have the time to read. The discussion very much focussed on the actual ideas and not the philosophers or the labels for the ideas. I learned A LOT in those 10 years.

With this site I hope to show some of the interesting things I've found and thought about.