Introducing Praxis / What is this blog?

I’ve started blogging more again in the past few months. Call it a new year’s resolution, if you like: the holidays gave me a chance to reflect on what this blog has meant to my own evolving thinking and professional development.

In scanning my own archives, I realized two things. First: I need to keep blogging as a commitment mechanism to keep learning. And second: I really don’t like using the name “Find What Works” for my blog.

I chose the name while sitting in a coffee shop in the Lower East Side almost five years ago. At the time, I didn’t expect this blog to ever have a real readership, so the dominant criteria for the name was free availability on a simple blogging platform. Hence, was born.

A year ago, I grabbed the .org version of my last name as a nice professional home on the web and redesigned the layout a bit, but kept “Find What Works” as the name. Today, I’m ditching the name too.

Introducing: Praxis. (Formerly known as “Find What Works”.)

At the most basic level, “praxis” is just the Greek (or German) word for “practice.” But it has a more complicated meaning in philosophy: the enactment of a theory or lesson into reality. To Aristotle, praxis was set against theoria (contemplation) and poiesis (production). In the thinking of Hannah Arendt, praxis is action—especially political action—and is the highest form of human engagement, placed in contrast to labor and work. (Though the Arendt quote I posted a few months ago adds some nuance.)

In the way I use it: Praxis means taking our understanding of the world, whatever knowledge we think we have, and applying it to changing the world. It is action informed by theoretical frameworks and by ideas, reflective enough to test the frameworks and refine the ideas, but always with the goal of better action.

The blog won’t change dramatically under the new title, though in parallel with the change, I’m starting to seek out more external outlets for writing and testing those ideas. If you’re relatively new here, check out a few older posts that inspired the new name:

Also, one housekeeping note: I’m now cross-posting on Medium, so you can follow there. On the other hand, the blog’s Facebook page is getting the axe; it seems to be a pretty low-engagement channel, and I’d rather keep things a bit streamlined. Don’t forget that you can also follow me on Twitter.