I have gone through a series of self-designations when it comes to religion. Some of the most accurate thus far might be:
- A Civilized Cynic in the Late Roman style
- An American Transcendentalist
- A Neo-Confucian in the style of Wang Yangming
- A Caodong Buddhist
- A Daoist in the Tang Dynasty style (think Ssu-Ma Chengzhen)
- A Muslim of a Muʿtazila Sufi persuasion
- An adherent of the Din I Ilahi aspiring to be aligned with the likes of the Brethren of Purity.
I have been extremely fortunate, receiving a wonderful opportunity to complete a graduate program in religious studies at a prestigious university which was preceded by a truly life-altering undergraduate double major in philosophy and religious studies. I am intensely interested in these matters, and prior to discovering the unfortunately intellectually decrepit state of affairs in modern religious studies (even at prestigious academic organizations, sadly), I was intent on making it my life’s work.
My struggles with the severity of the standard to which I should hold myself given my religious conviction ultimately led me to the conclusion that my studies would have to persist alongside my integration with modern society and active support for my family. My conclusion that these virtues are not to be cast aside for the sake of religious pursuits has led to my attempt to synthesize a religious system which joins the compelling values in religious hermitude with the apparent (to me, at least) moral requirement of participation in society.
As a result, I presently find I am most fond of the designation at the top of that list I provide above.
And therefore, in support of a religious life, it is my aim to use information technology to organize and automate away life’s administrative overhead, so to speak. It is my hope that the intelligent application of the incredible resources at our modern disposal may bring that invaluable religious practice and discipline of so many remarkable ancestors into a modern and socially integrated existence. As the blog title suggests, I intend to provide documentation of these technology-driven solutions in an effort to engineer a tranquil environment in modern American society without the need for physical and/or intellectual isolation therefrom.
In addition to the technical documentation efforts described above, I will use the blog as a platform for religious, philosophical, and political discussion. I further hope that other subsections, representing a variety of scientific and artistic pursuits (e.g. music, amateur entomology, astronomy) will be created as I continue to develop and make use of the technology platform which supports this project.
Note on the Blog URL:
The URL is a reference to the Blue Cliff Record, a Chinese Buddhist (Chan) collection of sayings. In the IT world, a “blue hat” is a network defense architect, so the blog is a record of the author’s works in IT with a goal of living (building) a simple life (hence the “Engineering Walden” bit) in modern times through a focus on system functionality, elegance, and security.