Should I keep blogging?

This is not a passive-aggressive maneuver to get you to scroll to the bottom, read the footer and consider supporting my work. (It would mean a lot though if you did.)

This is a serious question which I ask myself at a frequency approaching every minute. All the benefits are not directly measurable.

Exposure — In order to ensure I have material to write posts, I have various processes and systems that force me to skim an insane amount of stuff pretty much every day. If you imagine skimming my weekly email in a second or two, that’s 7 items. I skim about 300 to 500 items every day. A small number each day catch my attention enough that I toss them on my read-later queue. There are 764 things on that queue at this instant. It takes me significant time to read them, but often just a few seconds to realize, “yeah this is going to be a blog post” (and then I go on reading to the end and then I write the post.) If I stopped blogging, would I still do all that work to be exposed to ideas?

Learning — Writing blog posts creates a third “imprint” in my mind. First a glance, then a read, and then thinking about it. Even if I sometimes abort the blog post mid-writing, it’s still three different repetitions. And I have software that feeds me my own blog posts (“what did I post 10 years ago, today?” etc.) so I am constantly re-reading everything on this site; that’s more repetitions as things drift into history.

Integration — If I write a blog post about it, I generally try to figure out its relationship to everything else. Adding blog tags is the most obvious bit of integration. But figuring out what to pull quote involves deciding what is salient to me. And deciding which part(s) I want to focus on, magnify, or disagree with requires further integration.

Writing — Thoughts swirl in my mind. Characters appear on my screen. There are several skills one can work on between those two sentences.

All of that goes into feeding my personal growth and priming my curiosity. Since good conversation is powered by genuine curiosity, all that stuff also enables my person mission.

Should I keep blogging? It doesn’t feel like stopping is realistically an option.

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Logical conclusions

In its original Latin use, the word genius was more readily applied to places — genius loci: “the spirit of a place” — than to persons, encoded with the reminder that we are profoundly shaped by the patch of spacetime into which the chance-accident of our birth has deposited us, our minds porous to the ideological atmosphere of our epoch. It is a humbling notion — an antidote to the vanity of seeing our ideas as the autonomous and unalloyed products of our own minds.

~ Maria Popova from, https://www.themarginalian.org/2022/09/15/samuel-butler-darwin-among-the-machines-erewhon/

This is a delightful meander across time and authors.

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Sheer nonsense from the jump

This is sheer nonsense from the jump. Americans don’t have, and have never had, any right to be free of shaming or shunning. The First Amendment protects our right to speak free of government interference. It does not protect us from other people saying mean things in response to our speech. The very notion is completely incoherent. Someone else shaming me is their free speech, and someone else shunning me is their free association, both protected by the First Amendment.

~ Ken White from, https://popehat.substack.com/p/our-fundamental-right-to-shame-and

This is long (by Internet standards, so maybe 5 minutes?) but borders on a being a ribald savaging of a New York Times editorial. Bully for Ken White. He had me at the byline. If you’re not a fan of White, it’s still worth reading until the part I’ve quoted. If you read that far, you may just become a fan of White’s writing. (And of course there’s more of him quoted here too.)

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slip:4a123.

Our sense of what’s possible

The people we’re surrounded by limit or expand our sense of what is possible.

~ Brett McKay from, https://www.artofmanliness.com/people/relationships/sunday-firesides-relationships-over-willpower/

That’s a perfect turn of phrase from McKay. I love to find myself exposed to new people; those moments where I think, “that’s interesting!” are like single-serving sized friends (with hat tip to Chuck Palahniuk).

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slip:4a123.

Cursive

It was a good book, the student told the 14 others in the undergraduate seminar I was teaching, and it included a number of excellent illustrations, such as photographs of relevant Civil War manuscripts. But, he continued, those weren’t very helpful to him, because of course he couldn’t read cursive.

~ Drew Gilpin Faust from, https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2022/10/gen-z-handwriting-teaching-cursive-history/671246/

People of a certain age know that cursive is no longer taught and that of course there must be people who can’t read or write cursive. But I certainly wasn’t clear on when the sun actually set. (Hint: Teaching of cursive ended in 2010.)

What struck me in this article was how Faust’s not knowing about the sunset of cursive knowledge sparked an interesting discussion among himself and the students in his class. Rather than rail against the cessation of cursive education, I’m left with interesting questions: I was taught a specific, super–simplified form of cursive. I know there are other styles, even hardcore calligraphy, which I can barely read. While there are lots of reasons trotted out for why cursive should be taught, maybe I should go through the effort of learning another form of cursive to put my efforts where my mouth has always been? If my cursive knowledge—for example—opens up my ability to access certain documents, wouldn’t it be better (my own argument goes) to learn another form, or to practice even more, to access even more?

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Let’s take all the fun out of it

After all, why do you want to marry someone hot? Evolution made you that way because hotness is a proxy for good genetics. Your genes want you to reproduce with someone hot so that you will produce lots of kids (who will have lots of kids). Your parents care who you marry because evolution tuned them to help you reproduce your genes (which are also their genes).

~ “Dynomight” from, https://dynomight.net/hotness/

I truly love when someone does the deep dive trying to figure out “people.” Or dating or marrying or mating… somewhere there’s a popcorn meme. You know, where something is about to happen, and you just know it’s going to be an entertaining train-wreck— wait, why would a train-wreck be entertaining. Let’s go with: …and you just know it’s going to be entertaining to see someone learn just how complicated people are.

Reminder: “Love ya’! You’re one in a million!” …implies there are 8,000 other, equally awesome people that are interchangeable. Although I’d argue you should probably cut that in half based on biological distribution of gender. So, yes, you’re one of 4,000 . . . fine. Fine! I’m heading for the guest room.

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Vulnerability and transparency

Let’s shatter this illusioned stigma. Authentic vulnerability and transparency are strengths masquerading as weaknesses. And companies too scared to embrace both traits in their content forfeit bona fide user-brand connections for often shallow, misleading engagement tactics that create fleeting relationships.

~ Travis McKnight from, https://alistapart.com/article/the-untapped-power-of-vulnerability-transparency-in-content-strategy/

Simply some evergreen content reminding me that people have been fighting the good fight for a long time against the usual litany of online issue. Well, at least for three years since the article was written. Three years is long, right? I mean it feels like forever since it was 2019.

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I’ll be podcasting and presenting Art of Retreat 2022

During the Sept 24th weekend, I’ll once again be recording conversations with community leaders and movement enthusiasts at a retreat in the Cascades outside of Seattle. Follow that link If you’re interested in the nuts-and-bolts of what I do in order to create some conversations. Over there, I’ll be posting replies as the project progresses over the next two weeks. I’ll be showing my work—preparation, packing, gear, field recording, and post-production. I’ll try to cover everything from ideation to the final deliverables.

The first piece of context is, what is the event that I’m attending? It’s an immersive gathering celebrating leadership in parkour. We bring remarkable leaders from the global parkour community together for 4 days of learning, sharing, and play.

https://www.artofretreat.com

The event is a concept which has been held in various locations over the years. It’s near and dear to me both in the sense that I’m into parkour and I’m into podcasting. I’m also leading an interactive session about Creating Better Conversation.

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Not so easy

The answer depends on whether he recognizes that though he may have subdued his external obstacles and enemies, he must overcome psychological foes — depression, anomie, angst — which are no less formidable for their ethereality. He must embrace the fact that though this world may be thoroughly charted, explored, and technologized, there remains one last territory to conquer — himself.

~ Brett McKay from, https://www.artofmanliness.com/character/advice/sunday-firesides-mans-last-great-conquest-himself/

I would argue that all the external conquering and subduing was the easy part. That existential dread? That’s not so easy. The first part of solving that problem is of course realizing it is a problem for oneself. Yeah, I’m working on that.

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