Seizing the moment of a three day weekend, I’ve been poking at this and other blogs a bit today. Checking in on the usual circuit, belatedly hooking up google reader to some of the usual suspects, getting caught up. So I was stunned to see that Edge of the West, one of the very best history/philosophy group blogs I’ve seen, went on hiatus late last year.
Why didn’t I see this earlier? Why wasn’t I paying attention? Maybe for the same reason they went dark. As smart, thoughtful and rigorous as they were, after awhile it got to where I pretty much knew where they and their commentariat were going to go with any given topic. Good as the moves were, they became predictable like a waltz; conversation became stereotyped and provocations were more and more ritually damped out. Each post became a well-informed iteration of an orthodoxy, the audience more and more a chorus. A terrific one, but still.
Is this different than earlier periods of intellectual history in anything but pace? Didn’t Platonists get sick of Aristotelians’ shit after awhile? How long did it take for Confucians to know the Legalist playbook by heart? How surprised was the Pope about Luther’s n+1 heresies? And at what point of the separate dinner parties does each group run out of ways to agree with each other and lapse into benevolent mumbling? Isn’t that what the port, cigars and washing up are for?