I think that consciousness has always been the most important topic in the philosophy of mind, and one of the most important topics in cognitive science as a whole, but it had been surprisingly neglected in recent years.
Anyway, there is a lot of really interesting work going on in the neuroscience and psychology of consciousness, and I would love to see philosophers become more closely involved with this.
Growing up, my birthday was always Confederate Memorial Day. It helped to create this profound sense of awareness about the Civil War and the 100 years between the Civil War and the civil rights movement and my parents’ then-illegal and interracial marriage.
For a long time, I’ve been interested in cultural memory and historical erasure.
The reason so many intelligent and creative people suffer from depression is that when you take the risk of being fully conscious, you open Pandora’s box, and you can’t close it again.
In March 1915, at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle, the British fired more shells in a single 35-minute bombardment than they had during the whole Boer War.
I started out in graduate school to be a fiction writer. I thought I wanted to write short stories. I started writing poems at that point only because a friend of mine dared me to write a poem. And I took the dare because I was convinced that I couldn’t write a good poem… And then it actually wasn’t so bad.
My father, Eric Trethewey, is a poet, so I had one right inside the house. And on long trips, he’d tell me, if I got bored in the car, to write a poem about it. And I did find that poetry was a way for me, I think as it for a lot of people, to articulate those things that seem hardest to say.
Theories of history used to be supernatural: the divine ruled time; the hand of God, a special providence, lay behind the fall of each sparrow. If the present differed from the past, it was usually worse: supernatural theories of history tend to involve decline, a fall from grace, the loss of God’s favor, corruption.
Writing ‘Native Guard,’ I didn’t know I was working on a single book. I began writing that book because I was interested in the lesser-known history of these black soldiers stationed off the coast of my hometown.