What’s this all about?

Кош Келиниздер! My name is Christopher Schwartz. I’m an academic and journalist specialized in Eurasia (a.k.a., the post-Soviet space). I work as the Editor-in-Chief of NewEurasia Citizen Media, Central Eurasia’s largest citizen journalism platform. I’m also a contributor to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Transitions Online.

My work has appeared on the BBC and Al-Jazeera, and I’ve been published in obscure languages which I’m convinced are quite awesome, such as Latvian, Russian, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, and Uzbek. I enjoy questions of human evolution and perennial philosophy (variously understood). Fundamentally, I understand myself as exploring the riddle of faith and reason in all its many facets. One day, I shall visit Timbuktu and Karakorum.

I’m also a spiritual traveller. I was raised in a joint Baptist-Methodist church by a Christian mother and a Jewish father from the Presbyterian and Conservative traditions, respectively. After exploring Islam for ten years, I ultimately joined the Bahá’í Faith and haven’t looked back since.

My heritage is one of the keys to the way I think. I’m the grandson of Charles Schwartz, one of the founders of Columbia Pictures and modern copyright law, and our clan, the Bricianers, reaches back in time to Bessarabia and beyond. My grandparents’ book of Jewish philosophical theology, Faith Through Reason, was one of the major inspirations for my philosophical interests. And all this is to say nothing of my Scottish genealogy in the Henderson clan…

This blog serves the double function of sounding board and personal journal, replete with samples of published works and reflections (“Schwartztronica”). Password-protected posts are for friends and family only; if you want to read them, please contact me. But in all cases, public posts and private posts, the views expressed herein comprise my personal journey and should not be construed as authoritative or representative of either my employers, university, friends and colleagues, or faith. Nevertheless, if you are interested in following my reflections, I welcome your subscription.

Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart. — Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

History, like poetry, is mimetic and produces as many truths as it contains fortuitous facts. — John Wansbrough, Qur’anic Studies

To consider mankind otherwise than brethren, to think favors are peculiar to one nation and exclude others, plainly supposes a darkness in understanding. — John Woolman, Considerations on the Keeping of Negroes

I swear by the glow of sunset; by the night, and all that it brings together; by the moon, in her full perfection: that you shall all march onwards from state to state. — L’Être, Qur’an, 84:16

This is the coming of age of this planet. Just as America was discovered, so other planets may be discovered, and in conjunction with them we may become a member of a greater entity. — Shoghi Effendi

Veiled in My immemorial being and in the ancient eternity of My essence, I knew My love for thee; therefore I created thee, have engraved on thee Mine image and revealed to thee My beauty. — Baha’u’llah, Hidden Words, Arabic #3

Verily, We shall render Thee victorious by Thyself and by Thy Pen. Grieve Thou not for that which hath befallen Thee, neither be Thou afraid, for Thou art in safety. Erelong will God raise up the treasures of the earth, men who will aid Thee through Thyself and through Thy Name, wherewith God hath revived the hearts of such as have recognized Him. — Baha’u’llah, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf

13 thoughts on “What’s this all about?

  1. Hey – I found you! LOL.
    Just wanted to say thanks for stopping by my blog the other day. I really appreciate it when people actually tell me whether all my blather is actually any good. Your blog looks pretty good too. I’ll be sure to stop by here a bit more often …

  2. hi Christopher. what rich and raw reflections. i began fasting as a teen and i think because of that came away w/different insights and experiences. kinda thought it would be an observation w/me ’til my dyin’ day, but now health prevents me. nevertheless, that sense of being in a new kind of self-elected privation (i first pleaded for faith in the midst of personal famine) remains w/me. i memorized one of the Fast prayers decades ago and it comes back a seasoned, strengthened perennial, each time a way to wish for myself and my family of faith, all the best bestowals that allow each and all to flourish! lovingly, Vernyce

    • Hi Vernyce! Thank you for the heartfelt remarks. Interestingly, when the recent fast began, I also had a similar thought: “I will never have a normal March again” (but not in a bad way). Who knows what the future holds? But I think I know which prayer you’re referring to, so I’ll look it up and try to memorize it (something I’m terrible at doing).

  3. Oh god, I finally found you!

    I lost the paper with your blog on it, so I have been spending the next two days trying to remember things that might help me finding you. Then I remembered you writing down “Schwartz” (reminded the german black). I also remembered you saying your blogname was a joke.. But hell, I totally found you!

    I’m the traingirl, Kayleigh. Hope to contact you soon, because I really enjoyed speaking to you. I will read your blog tomorrow, I’m way too tired right now..

    Love, Kayleigh

  4. Regarding your commitment to the Baha’i faith, here’s some astrological insight. ;-) “In religion, the Scorpio tends to form bonds with organized religions, enjoying ritual and the sense of belonging there. They may also lean to unorthodox belief systems, with a passion and sincerity that is never dishonest.

    “Because Scorpios are ruled by Pluto–the god of the underworld–they can sometimes have a connection with the ethereal, other world of spirit, which is often metaphysical. They have an ability to transform energy, or change impure selfish desires into the gold of purity. They are fascinated by the big issues of death and life, and are attracted to a religion that leaves room for exploring these.”

    And in general — “Scorpios tend to have a few, very intense relationships, rather than a coterie of acquaintances. It may be that the Scorpio’s stinger alienates some possible friends; it may be that fewer individuals are capable of flying so close to the sun, or so close to the deeper issues, as the Scorpio does.

    “It may also be that few are capable of rising from its own ashes, of changing–for the good or bad–as a Scorpio can. How many can keep up, to view the new person constantly emerging? Yet it is true that those who enjoy watching the Scorpio as it makes people see the hidden, secret meanings of life–as it rises unscathed and transforms those around it–will be most loyal and appreciative friends.

    “Above all, Scorpios are survivors. Though they are typically very erotic (their sign rules the sex organs), they don’t use people but instead help them transcend themselves. You probably won’t forget an encounter with a Scorpio.” :-x

  5. Hi Christopher,

    My name is Alex, I’m a prospective student at KU Leuven. I’ve happened across your posts on an expat forum, and as a fellow (future) international student I would appreciate it if you could give me some insights on the university and life in Leuven. I have little other sources of first-hand information on this as I do not know anyone there; your comments would be valuable to me. If you would be willing to talk, you can e-mail me on the address I’ve entered, add me on Yahoo Messenger or suggest other means more convenient to you. If not, sorry to have bothered you.

    Best regards,
    Alex

  6. Hi Christopher,

    I read your blog and noticed some similarities between your interests and mine. I have a blog on the Marxist Christology of the vanishing mediator (where metaxology plays an important part).

    Greetings,
    Peter Sas

  7. Hi,
    My name is Dimitri Tishler. I am a composer and writer currently living in Melbourne Australia.
    I have recently created a new website and blog which explores different aspects of art and spirituality. Please
    peruse the new site at your convenience.

    You will find music, writing and posts on different aspects of writing, art and spirituality:
    http://dimitritishler.com/

    My blog is here:
    http://dimitritishler.com/blog/

    Here you will find a few articles on God and spirituality:
    http://dimitritishler.com/blog/2011/09/18/journey-of-the-universe/
    http://dimitritishler.com/blog/2011/09/16/consciousness/

    Thank you for your time

    Kind regards Dimitri

  8. Hi Christopher,

    I’ve been following your blog for a while now. I would like to draw your attention to my own (new) philosophy blog:

    http://critique-of-pure-interest.blogspot.com

    It is about being in-between from a Marxist-Christological perspective. Thus I share many of your interests (Desmond among other things), which was why I started following your blog.

    Philosophical greetings,
    Peter Sas

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