Starting on Monday, January 12th, The Useless Tree will be linked to the Globalpost, a new international news service. They will pick up my feed every day and post it, in full, on their site. I have put a button with their logo on the right margin of the blog. Let me do a quick introduction for readers coming from there.
This blog is best summarized by its tag line: "Ancient Chinese Thought in Modern American Life." What I do, primarily, is find stories on the web, many that speak to current US issues - political, cultural, philosophical, ethical, foreign policy, etc. - and analyzethem from from the perspective of ancient Chinese Confucianism or Taoism, and sometimes both at the same time. I try to extrapolate from the core principles of the old books and see how those ideas might offer novel insights into our modern and postmodern predicaments. It is not a Chinese perspective on the US, but an effort to demonstrate the utility of Confucian and Taoist (and occasionally Sun Tzu and the I Ching) ideas in a contemporary American context.
I do this because I love the classic texts. I teach a class on ancient Chinese philosophy at Williams College in the US, and I re-read The Analects, and Mencius, and the Tao Te Ching, and Chuang Tzu and others many times a year. They are great books, with unique understandings that, I believe, can speak to us today.
I also teach Chinese politics and East Asian international relations, fields I have been studying and writing on for over twenty five years. Thus, The Useless Tree also comments upon Chinese and East Asian affairs, again looking at those issues from a Confucian or Taoist perspective.
And sometimes I just write about and link to anything I like.
But mostly it's about ancient Chinese thought, as applied to modern issues in the US, China and East Asia.
Welcome. I have been doing this for three and a half years and have built up a fairly good archive. Check it out.
UPDATE: As of Tuesday morning it is not up. Some snafu...
UP-UPDATE: it's up now. You can see my page at GlobalPost here.