Sunday, August 24, 2008

Art. Reason. Liberty...

I'm now blogging in effectively 3 places... Here, Facebook and my brand new "Tumblr", which was created at the behest of my friend Ronen. The Tumblr is currently the most interesting one to me to be honest, it was designed to throw together some of my thoughts in a more brief format along with pictures, video (if I ever had internet access good enough to upload video clips) and audio (...likewise) files. The multimedia features of the Tumblr are a lot like some of the other sites that have proliferated around the internet recently like Flickr and such, designed to provide a medium to share media with family and friends. However, Tumblr makes short-form blogging incredibly easy - which makes it perfect for my current gig, as well as a myriad of other sorts of little projects.

But what about the other two blogs? Well... first of all, Facebook is a parrot of some of the things I write for this blog that I wish to share more publicly with my friends - and a place where I post links to various interesting news articles and such that I discover and read day-to-day. This blog is, and will remain, a repository of much more in-depth conversations (most often with myself) and more personal issues that are related to my life and interests. Sometimes that comes in the form of bitching (or as Ira always says, "kvetching") about work, about relationships, about friends, about politics. Sometimes, those things might offend people - indeed, it already has...

For example; several months ago I re-posted my comments expressing disgust with the citizens of Nebraska for failing to vote for a legislative spending limit which was tied to tax revenue. I could not believe that even the people of a generally "conservative" state (whatever that means anymore) wouldn't see the value in preventing their own government from engaging in the kind of grotesque deficit spending that has really destroyed states like California. Naturally - a few of my old friends from Nebraska were insulted that I was so harsh in my views and was essentially questioning their foresight & intelligence. Of course they were. So what?

Likewise, sometimes I might bitch about my job... Considering it's literally the only thing in my life right now, it's pretty unreasonable to expect that there won't ever be any complaints. To be honest, if I didn't talk about that from time to time, at the moment, I'd simply have nothing at all to talk about ever. But this does bring up an interesting question... Your employer pays you to do a job. Because your employer is paying you, they are generally in a position to make requests of your time and to ask you to do said job in a specific way. That's fine. But does that mean that one completely gives over all individuality and ability to speak your mind on your own time in your own space? Then again, is the internet a public space? I pay for my own website, which hosts this particular blog... I own this space for all intents and purposes - as much as anyone owns a house (sure, I pay $10.00 a year to keep the domain name... but if you own a house you pay taxes every year to keep that too, right?). Furthermore, this site isn't linked to my websites' main page... which means that the only way you'd know where it is if I told you where to find it. I've told very few people... I'm not seeking out random readers, though I certainly don't mind if I get a few. But what does it mean if I bitch about my friends, or my job, or anything else through this medium?

Honestly... Nothing!

No... really... Nothing. Does it mean I don't love my friends? Does it mean I hate what I do for a living? Does it mean I hate all Nebraskans?


Of course not... what it means is, I am - for this moment in time - feeling or thinking a certain way about a certain thing. Free speech really doesn't mean that much if you are afraid to offend people, afraid that someone might misinterpret it or that you might lose your job. The important thing is to speak the truth, as you see it. And often.

Don't withhold information from people because you want to keep a position of authority or to maintain some false sense of superiority. Don't strategize or posture in order to get people to like you or pretend that you have one feeling or another, or no feelings at all on a particular subject. Just be honest.

As far as I can tell, the vast majority of problems in the world stem largely from people being dishonest, withholding information and being partially trutfhful in the name of preserving some type of status quo. In the end, all that path leads to is a bunch of worthless secrets and a stagnation of progress - which is borne largely through the exchange of ideas, often oppositional ideas. It's also incredibly disrespectful to the people you're speaking to... as if they can't handle your honest opinion?? To do otherwise comes down to nothing more than a petty power-play... an information cold-war.

Interesting to study if you're John Nash I guess, but practically speaking, makes for a crappy world in my opinion. (Uh oh, there I go offending someone again!). So getting back to the point... blogging. What's the point of recording your thoughts if they're not going to be honest? What's the point of contributing to your own on-going memoire if you're going to gloss over the salient moments, the strong feelings, and the big ideas? What's the point of any of it if you're just going to be coy and hide from yourself?

If there is a point to that, I'm sure it's not a one I would want to make... I'm no nihilist. I won't pretend to be. I have thoughts, ideas, concerns, comments, complaints, and compliments about a wide variety of topics - some taken from my own life, and some drawn more broadly from the world at large. And that's what this forum is and always was meant to be for! The Tumblr can be about my travels, the day-to-day side of what I do for a living, where I am, who I've met and what I've just seen... but this one is just about ideas. It's about art, reason and liberty... the the broadest usage of each of those terms. It encompasses my world. It will continue to do so...

And that, as they say, is that.

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