Welcome to my new website and new blog! I chose the address TomVMorris.com for several reasons. First, there are other people on the web named Tom Morris - the pretenders!. One likes philosophy and writes about it now and then. I think he's a brit. There are also several people named Thomas Morris. There might even be another Thomas V. Morris, the name I used for my academic writing years ago, abbreviating my middle name of Victor. In my various social media experiments, I've been tomvmorris. So, I thought I'd stick with that. But you can call me Tom. I hope you'll enjoy this new blog, which will be a place where I talk about what I'm thinking and reading and doing. And, at every step, I'd love your comments, your interaction, and your own thoughts.
Whenever the mood strikes, I blog for The Huffington Post. Here's my homepage there. On my other website, MorrisInstitute.com, you'll find longer essays than are normal for contemporary blogs, under the Weekly Wisdom section. I'm going to launch a new venture by blogging here at least a few times a week. Before now, I've spent most of my writing time researching or composing books. The question I have is this: Books last. Will blogs?
A new translation of the classic book Beowulf has just been published, a project that J.R.R. Tolkein worked on in his youth, but never with the idea in mind that it would be printed, or made available to the public. He just wanted to understand our oldest and most famous Anglo Saxon epic poem, and what he accomplished in his work on that text as a young scholar laid the foundations for his own famous Hobbit adventures, along with, of course, the great trilogy The Lord of the Rings.
Will any current blogs endure like Beowulf has? Probably not. Most books don't. But positive impact doesn't depend on centuries of reading and study. If I write anything here that can give you a needed new perspective on your work or life, I'll feel like blogging is a useful thing for a philosopher like me to do. But I want this to be a two way street. So, please, give me your comments!
On, Beowulf, by the way, I wrote about the previous big translation by Seamus Heaney on my Institute website here. The story of Beowulf is one of the great inspirational and cautionary tales ever told. Beowulf himself was a great warrior, and a supremely accomplished individual, who became a leader, and in that new role, didn't realize that he needed to develop some new competencies. His position of responsibility demanded in important ways that he learn how to teach others and partner up with them, collaboratively. But his pride and habits prevented it. Though his circumstances changed, and so did his strong body, as he aged, he never changed in the way he did things, and because of that, he set himself up for his own demise, in a battle with a dragon he could not overcome alone.
Beowulf was extraordinarily strong and incredibly skilled. But one of the most important skills of all ends up being the skill to change. And one of our greatest strengths is our network of collaborative partnerships. The fearsome warrior missed out on both these important things.
For a vivid cautionary tale that's highly instructive, snag a copy of the book, Beowulf. Many good translations are available in paperback. You may be amazed at how this classic speaks to you.