About the Author and This Space

John Ferra earned his BA in Philosophy at Arizona State University and then entered graduate school at Arizona State to earn his MA in Literature in English. Eventually, because of the lack of faculty teaching in his area, Mr. Ferra entered the MFA program for Creative Writing in Poetry at Arizona State University, earning his degree in December 2002.

His thesis, Thoughts on Developing Kinesis, a book of poems, is available at the Hayden Library on the Main Tempe campus at Arizona State. He has also published poems in The Lucid Stone, a literary journal published out of Scottsdale, Arizona, though it is likely that hard times took this small publication from us before its life should have ended.

The name of this blog is difficult to pronounce since ancient Greek has rather gone out of style, so a brief explanation of the pronunciation, the meaning, and the reason this title was chosen by the author seems apropos.

The Modern American poet and author, E. E. Cummings, titled one of his novels XAIPE. The word itself is the ancient Greek imperative, “Rejoice!” To pronounce “xaipe,” say the first letter as you would a hard ‘k’ (as in kick) and pronounce the rest as “EYE-ree.” Basically, think of the word as a rhyme for “fiery,” so the entire thing looks like this phonetically: KĪ-ree.

As for the concept, the idea here is that educated or otherwise erudite people, should have a place where they can “Rejoice!” in the free exchange of ideas.” That said, this blog will not stifle opposing viewpoints, whether from a quarter of the political or religious/secular spectrum or from a five-year-old with a keyboard; however, for all who choose to submit, contribute, or comment, there is the expectation that conflict and contradiction can (and possibly should) ensue.

Argument is intellectual life. Even among those who largely agree with each other on the big things, disagreement happens. Along with the aforementioned conflict and contradiction of one’s ideas, respect for the individual is also desired. Just because we don’t share identical views on the world doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate a diversity of ideas and work to ensure that a place exists where expression is encouraged for all ideas (this is NOT to say that ALL ideas stand on equal footing…I think most would agree when I say that some ideas are just inherently bad ones).

Profanity, snarky cynicism, diatribe, and satirical rejection of the patently stupid is absolutely encouraged! However, remember to focus any argument on the IDEAS with which you disagree rather than on the PEOPLE who express those ideas. It’s only natural that when our ideas are attacked we feel that we are attacked. For many of us, we ARE our beliefs. To have our beliefs challenged is sometimes hurtful and even frightening.

However, as Socrates said, “He is wise who knows that he does not know.” Being wiling to engage in an objective look at your beliefs as existing apart from your person is a valuable experience that allows one to grow, personally and intellectually. In this way, we can examine our arguments or the arguments of others and decide whether or not our premises can hold up to scrutiny. Those that do not, for the individual who seeks real growth, are those ideas and beliefs to be rejected, to have mendacity replaced with truth, or something more closely resembling the truth.

I very strongly doubt that homo sapiens will ever know all there is to know, even collectively through what will eventually be our entire history, but perhaps it is more important to learn continuously than to fight against nature, that is, simply to remain a static entity in a universe ruled by chaos.

We can always learn, and it is perhaps that most important of the traits that make us human, that differentiates us from rocks and sand. Without knowledge and learning, we live in Plato’s Cave, starting at shadows that we mistake for real things instead of turning around and staring blinkingly into the light in the hope of encountering the real world as it is. When we engage with others and allow our beliefs to be examined in the light, we have the opportunity to receive the greatest gift, to exchange error for truth. I’ll take that any day.

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