I’m entering my fifth month blogging. It’s been a strange and interesting journey. I have never been much of a writer, but that has changed. I don’t know how long writing for the world to see will be important to me. For some it’s a lifetime passion. I didn’t start until a point in my life when many think it’s almost over.
Blogging is an interesting concept, made popular by the ease of accessing the internet. Is there anybody who’s life isn’t impacted by the internet? A person can set up a blog in about an hour and say almost anything they want. It doesn’t have to play to a large market. You can do it for free if you have a connection. If you can’t afford a connection, I assume you can blog from the public library. It is the most democratic, non-discriminatory media available for social comment, philosophy, or just babbling. I’ve done all of these. Does it serve a useful place in our society? Yes. Could it be done better than it is? Yes, but that would partly undermine its character and its role as a vehicle for change. It is an effective way to get a multitude of ideas out there for people to think about. I’ve seen more ideas with slight variations since I have been blogging. As I blogger, I read many blogs for inspiration, ideas to comment on, and just a different perspective. It’s good to see views different from your own.
I’ve read a little about how to grow an audience for your blog. The conventional wisdom is to focus on one topic or genre. My sometimes contrary nature forces me to do the opposite and let the chips fall where they may. My topic selection is eclectic, but I do tend to focus on political and social issues. I am currently working on a seventeen part series on how I feel the country should be run. Everyone has their own theories on how this should be done. The difference is I’m going to put mine out there for everyone to see. In my reading about how to write, one of the problems some writers face is turning loose of their writing. Is it done yet? Is it good enough? I am experiencing some of these feelings with my Manifesto for Change. It for sure needs more work, but I am setting a tentative target to publish the first installment on February 18, 2019, with additional installments every three days after. It needs to be in final form before I start to make sure it fits together, at least in my mind. When it does start running, I would appreciate any feedback.
When I originally started my blogging life, I promised one of the things I would talk about is nutrition. I am passionate about my personal nutrition, but sometimes I wonder if others want to hear my non-mainstream ideas. I made the decision not to preach about nutrition because it seems most people already know what I know or more likely they don’t care and just eat what tastes good. We all know some foods are better for us than others, just like smokers know smoking causes cancer.
The other day, as I was thinking about the troubles of the world and how my solutions were obviously the best, a thought experiment popped into my head. Lucky you, now I am going to share with you. Here it is: If a group of scientists and nutritionists ranked all the foods available to us in our country, from best to worst nutritionally, and the bottom 60% were magically made unavailable to us, what would happen? Almost immediately a black-market would form with Snickers and Twinkies as their top sellers. If it was made illegal to buy the bad 60, I think a lot of people would comply, but I could be wrong.
If we did indeed have high compliance, what kind of changes would we experience? Would we suddenly have too many doctors, because of lower disease rates? Would our food bills go down? Would the reduced advertising expenditures and production costs of the higher cost foods in the bad 60 be transferred to increased productivity in other areas that would benefit civilization. Would the cost of health insurance and healthcare in general go down? Could research dollars go towards other ailments effecting humankind? This isn’t going to happen in my lifetime. But maybe someday it will.
I started posting on Twitter on November 23, 2018, so by most standards, I am a newbie. My home page states(@reincke_peter), as of the time of writing this, I have made 349 Tweets. I have kept a personal log of the Tweets I originated. That number is 99 now. They are an eclectic mix. Some are slightly inane, a few, I believe are profound. Some have been retweeted, most have not. I follow 42 and am followed by 15. At 280 characters, this is how people talk. I am having a conversation with the world, it’s just that not many are listening.
I’ve read much about how social media is destroying our ability to communicate. I agree in that it is cutting down on our ability to communicate verbally. It is also cutting down on our need to communicate verbally. I don’t know if that is a good thing or not. Chances are it’s not really a good thing. There is a flip side to this that I haven’t seen discussed much. What about the introvert who communicates very little with other people? If that person communicates with others through social media, isn’t that an increase in total communication? An increase in the dissemination of ideas?
Tweeting and blogging have opened my mind to a flow of ideas which I have never experienced before. I have read views I wouldn’t have imagined existed. I am happy for the opportunity to see many views opposed to mine. I helps me understand my own views better and see where I need to modify some of my opinions that were based on faulty reasoning. As I have changed some of my opinions, I would hope I have helped others examine their views. Maybe I have changed some people’s lives, maybe not. But it’s not for the lack of trying.
I think Twitter has an important role in our society. I like what I am doing now. Like anything in life, it is subject to change, but for now it’s a part of the purpose of my life.
Recently I Tweeted the following: “Happiness is not an emotion but a state of being. Remember not choosing is a choice. If the path you have chosen isn’t fulfilling, change is calling your name.” Given the character limitation of Twitter, I couldn’t fully develop the concept, but there is no such limitation here. I will expose another part of the iceberg. Happiness has been commented on by almost every philosopher since Socrates. It is a very elusive concept. There is no “one size fits all”. Happiness is only definable within the context of the individual. It is not subject to rational thought. You define it and you decide whether you are there. To be fair, you should acknowledge it’s not about a continuous euphoric feeling. Just like cold is defined as the absence of heat, happiness should be defined as the absence of overwhelming, continuous sadness. Happiness is the minimization of stress in our lives. It’s the absence of a continual battle with life. You do have choices. You must face reality with a clear sense of purpose. You can’t wander through life without some sort of plan. If you harbor hate or prejudice, you can’t be happy. Because this is my blog, I feel free to use myself as a tool to show what I mean. (As an aside, I wish to thank Microsoft Word for correcting a small portion of my grammatical ineptitude).
First a short listing of the facts. I am retired, and my finances are modest but secure. No job or financial related stress. My health is better than most my age. This doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like to have more, just it’s not necessary for basic comfort. I don’t know anyone who hates me, and I don’t hate anyone. I care about what happens to the world. I am not a member of any group that society might be prejudiced against. I am doing what I want. I recently started writing and it’s given me a sense of purpose. I feel good. The feeling is not attributed to any one factor in my life. I have tried to be aware of the choices available to me.
Within the above framework, I am happy, and you can be too. I haven’t listed anything that is very difficult to attain.
Happiness is about peace, with yourself and the world.
I believe I am happy, and that is what matters.
If you have comments or subjects for me to comment on, please message me.
The gentle enemy
I recently read a post that takes the opposing position to my position on abortion rights. I mention this for several reasons.
- I believe it is important to be aware of positions different from our own to better understand the issue.
- While being clearly anti-abortion, she presented her case by redefining the problem to something that could garner more agreement. The reason for abortion is unwanted pregnancy and she presented a way to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies. While I disagree with her solution and I think she over simplified the causes to make her case, her solution could be viable for some people. She advocated wide scale vasectomies that could be reversed when conception is desired.
- The most important reason, to me, for mentioning this is she calmly presented her case without inflammatory, and polarizing language. This is something the world needs more of to help heal some of the wounds of the past few years.
I truly hope there is more low-key, meaningful debate on all the issues. Maybe we can make some progress towards putting some of these issues behind us. Don’t you agree?
I vaguely remember reading a quote by Abraham Lincoln that said words to the effect “folks tend to do pretty much what they want to”. I have since not been able to find the quote, so I don’t know whether he said it or not. I have done what people often do and interpreted it the way I wanted. I believe people do what their inner self wants to do whether their thinking mind knows it or not.
When I started this blog, I had several ideas about what I wanted to write about, but apparently my inner self thought otherwise. I was going to write a cookbook. Probably not going to happen. I was going to write about nutrition, fitness, and health. Probably not going to happen. What is happening is I am thinking more about philosophy, politics, the ethics of science, and the equality of humans and how we are all on this world together and we need to create a kinder, gentler, more enlightened world civilization with everyone participating. This is both harder and easier to write about than I thought it would be. When I first started, I determined I wouldn’t try to monetize my writings because that would give me the freedom to write what I wanted. I am sticking with that, but I am looking into ways to increase my circulation as a secondary function to the writing. What good does it do to write things you believe if nobody reads it? I am still going to throw in the occasional off topic post, but that will be the exception and not the rule.
In keeping with the heading on my home page, I don’t expect you to agree with everything I say, but I do hope it causes you to think. There will be more topics touched upon under this broad umbrella. I don’t believe anything is off limits. If there is anything you would like me to address in a post, just message me and I will give it some thought. Just be aware, the post may not be exactly what you expect, but I will try to keep it consistent with the philosophy of this blog as it evolves.
The American education system was designed in the early 20th century around a pragmatic philosophy. It teaches practical knowledge. This is very important but is short of what is needed to prosper in the 21st century and beyond.
We need to spend more time on fostering thinking skills and critical reasoning. Problems that we have previously been unable to conceive of will confront us at an accelerating rate. If we don’t want this Tsunami to wash over us, we must be prepared to deal with it.
Somehow, we need to reduce the inequality of opportunities among various schools and districts. I know it’s hard to get a good educator to move to a school district 100 miles from the nearest Costco, but we must deal with this. It’s not just a matter of money, but that is a huge factor. Maybe visiting lecturers or rotating duty assignments, or anything else you can come up with. Maybe more remote learning or better education software. It seems a travesty to waste a good genetic foundation with inadequate nurturing.
Balancing state and federal budgets by reducing funding for secondary and post-secondary education is so short sighted. It reduces future economic expansion and saddles those who do get a college education with student debt, while the education is a benefit to society.