The journey

I’m fond of the old adage, what was once your workout will eventually be your warmup. It captures the inevitability of progress if you simply put in your time. In the beginning, the time spent seems to surface an endless sequence of unknown-unknowns. Bottomless, rabbit holes appear and you have to go far too far down the first few to learn an important lesson about depth versus breadth of knowledge. Soon you begin to realize the beginner’s journey is more or less the same for everyone. You get a few wins under your belt. Someone ahead of you compliments your work. You help one of your peers. Then you help one of those farther ahead of you, and realize the distance you’ve come is farther than the distance between you. You feed increasingly off of the energy of your peer group, bouncing ideas and challenges around like a seasoned practitioner. You look around only to realize there are now a large number of newer people on the journey who are behind you. You’re struck by a deeply pleasant emotional vertigo. You remember running in the halls with your brand new friends full of energy, and you feel recharged and invigorated; You might no longer run in the halls—age appropriateness and all that—but the energy from those who do is absolutely contagious every time. You struggle to refrain from proclaiming, “wait until you see what’s next!” Instead, you redouble your efforts by dashing ahead, behind the scenes, around the next corner, or over the next hill, to help with the preparations. You realize—you apprehend—that you’ve gotten as much out of giving back to help with the process, than you did from going through the process that first time. The cycle repeats. The learning, the friendships, the accomplishments—and quite frankly the advancement of the entire human race—builds with each iteration.

So, when is the last time you started something as a beginner?

When is the last time you showed up a bright eyed and bushy tailed neophyte?

When is the last time you helped the others? Those behind you, those ahead of you, and those around you?

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Society does not exist

Society exists only as a mental concept; in the real world there are only individuals.

~ Oscar Wilde

In real life

Yet many modern-day Westerners — who will live their whole lives with freedom of speech and the means to talk to almost anyone about anything — remain convinced they are essentially powerless to improve human life around the world, and use their internet access primarily to share pictures of cats.

~ David Cain, from http://www.raptitude.com/2014/11/the-gift/

I recently deleted my Facebook account; Not, “deleted the app from my phone,” but deleted my account so I am no longer on Facebook. That was the last of the social networks I was on.

My life is measurably better now without social networks. I still have this inconceivably amazing tool in my pocket which I use regularly to leverage the hard-won advantages of the human race in 2019. I still use that tool, (and other tools, including my feet and a bicycle,) to collapse the distance between me and those I want to communicate with.

I look forward to seeing you in the big room with the ceiling that’s sometimes blue and sometimes black!

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Intentional about people

People who cultivate an inward orientation on purpose are still relegated to the “alternative” fringes for the most part. Only a minority of people I know seem to have any interest in mindfulness and meditation, which are really just ways of practicing inwardness so that we can stay receptive in ordinary moments — which probably don’t contain hot tubs or ice cream or cocktails or anything else that’s exceptionally agreeable.

~ David Cain, from http://www.raptitude.com/2014/06/two-ways-viewing-world/

I’ve said this before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again: I’m lucky to be surrounded by a network of people who are exceptional.

Where by “lucky” I mean: The harder I work, the luckier I seem to be. I’m intentional about the people I spend time with. Time is short, and there are countless people. By choosing who I spend time with, I’m controlling one facet of the experiences to which I’m exposed, and that’s one part of actively guiding who I become.

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War is not wicked

As long as war is regarded as wicked, it will always have its fascination. When it is looked upon as vulgar, it will cease to be popular.

~ Oscar Wilde

Social network or social media?

The Lesson: This first insight is in truly learning that social media is much more of a mindless habit — and a very strongly ingrained one — than a pleasurable or fulfilling activity. We do it out of compulsion rather than intention.

~ Brett McKay, from https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/4-lessons-from-a-4-week-social-media-fast/

Back when we invented all this online bru-ha-ha, they were called “social networks.” I think we should still be using the word network rather than media, because then it would remain clear: A healthy community necessarily has a network of people, but a network of people is not sufficient to create a healthy community.

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Silence is sedition

https://billmoyers.com/2000/03/30/journalism-matters-march-30-2000/

… I wasn’t surprised to read that nationwide survey by the Chicago Tribune in which half of the respondents said there should have been some kind of press restraint on reporting about the prison abuse and just as many said they “would embrace government controls of some kind on free speech, especially if it is found unpatriotic.”

Imagine: Free speech as sedition.

Tell your students: Silence is sedition.

~ Bill Moyers

I am not a journalist.

Having read this article by an actual journalist, I am left wondering:

What did we abandon that seems to have killed—or if you feel inclined to be positive in your assessment—seems to be killing journalism?

I don’t think the journalists are gone. I don’t think real publications are gone. What is gone?

You stopped reading.

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Bootstraps

The parents’ duty to their children is not to cram as many social advantages as possible into their first eighteen years. The parents’ duty is to make sure that when it comes time for the child to pull himself up by his bootstraps, he actually has the bootstraps to pull up.

~ Hugh MacLeod

Thoughtful, committed citizens

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. It is the only thing that ever has.

~ Margaret Mead