Hello, my name is Alaric Holmes, with my internet handle being balarick. The stress in my first name is on the first syllable, sounding like “Al” in “Albert,” and the second syllable sound like “er” in “center.” I’ll let you figure out the last syllable! ;^)
I have a lot of interests and intend to write about them on this blog ad nauseam. I consider myself an atheist, although I also consider myself as having a “spiritual” nature. This term is wholly inaccurate, as the term “spiritual” tends to imply a sense of coming from one ultimate source that one very likely worships. That’s where my atheism comes in. My “spirituality” can be summed up as a belief that consciousness is not entirely localized in the physical body, that the brain is not the source of consciousness but a conduit for it (notice I say “a conduit” and not “the conduit”), and that death is not the end of being. I have personal reasons for believing these things, such as experiences that exist now only in my own memory and thus cannot be proved, and I may or may not elaborate on these experiences and others reasons in future blogs, but I do not offer any evidence for these beliefs that I hold as I have none (not unlike a lot of religions out there–oh, zing!). I do have problems with both religion and dogmatic “science,” which is different from true skepticism and the scientific method. I do not usually call myself a “skeptic,” as that comes with certain connotations that do not apply to me, and so I think the best label for me is a “spiritual atheist.”
In addition to all of that, and perhaps because of it, I am an ardent liberal (some might characterize me as an “angry liberal”) and I am a staunch feminist. Yes, I’m a humanist as well. Actually, I consider feminism to be a subset of humanism, essentially a common drive to achieve goals for the empowerment of women and the equalization of the sexes. I am not a self-hating man but I do understand the concept of male privilege, and while I do not always see it when I act or speak in a way that “shows my privilege,” I endeavor to remain aware of the fact that I am–for all intents and purposes–a white male in the United States of America and I try to be aware of this and how social statuses and privilege can change the nature of certain instances of interpersonal communication.
I have a bachelor’s degree in functional linguistics (as opposed to generative or structuralist linguistics–but in all seriousness, are there any structuralists left?). This means that I tend to take a very synchronic view of linguistics; that is to say, I try not to cringe when people make grammatical, lexical, or phonological “mistakes” but instead try to see what’s actually going on in that person’s mind that has led them to have wound up with what most English professors and journalists would call “bad English.” This approach is also called a “descriptivist” approach because one is “describing” what is actually happening here and now instead of fixating on what is historically (or diachronically) correct. I reject the idea of split infinitives being “bad English” because that rule comes from Latin and doesn’t apply to languages, like English and unlike Latin, which construct phrasal infinitives rather than adding distinctive morphology. (If that doesn’t make sense to you, it’s probably not important to your everyday life–although, go ahead a look it up! Maybe you’ll learn something!) There are lots of other examples of “bad English” that just don’t bother me, despite my love for Standard American English and the study of its grammar, simply because I’ve learned to see what sorts of processes lead to “mistakes” and thus, because humans aren’t perfect, I can’t hold every person to a standard of grammatical mastery that schools don’t do a very good job of teaching in the first place (don’t get me started on how language is taught in school…. No, on second thought, get me started! Maybe I’ll write a blog!). That said, I was once a badge-wielding member of the Grammar Police and there are still some “mistakes” that make me cringe, such as “different than,” “nukyuhler” (and the similar “nukyuhlus”), “beholding to,” and a few others that I’ll probably wind up ranting about (or about which I’ll probably wind up ranting!) in subsequent weblogs.
I play the guitar, and I particularly enjoy finger-style, although I do some strumming as well. I’ve been told I sing well, and I have a youtube channel where I have put up a very informal recording of one song (Black Is the Color) and intend to put up more as I get better. While I’ve also been told that I have a “good touch” on the instrument, I still have a ways (a way? many ways?) to go before I’ll be confident enough to just “bust out some tunes,” as the cool kids say.
I also firmly believe that many UFO reports are exactly what they appear to be: UFO reports, and that there is an extraterrestrial presence on and/or around this planet and its moon. I have seen things that are not conventionally explicable, and thus because I’m not the sort of “scientifically minded” person who dismisses things that are uncomfortable despite a preponderance of evidence to support the validity of their existence, I have elected to accept their existence while remaining skeptical, sometimes to the point of being outright dubious, regarding individual reports due to the high frequency of hoaxes.
In essence, I have begun this blog because I like to write and to discuss topics related to society and the human condition, as well as other things like science and the humanities. I often write on my Facebook page, although more often in response to topics brought up by others, but here I have more freedom to guide my own lines of discussion, so to speak. It’s also easier, at least for me, to retain and find older writings than it is on social media.
I don’t exactly have a whole lot else to say in this entry, and so I shall draw it to a close and I look forward to interacting with the internet at large, and I hope you enjoy my contributions even if you don’t agree with them.