Monday, August 17, 2015

Five Years Later

Personal Reflections

“The search for truth and knowledge is one of the finest attributes of man—though often it is most loudly voiced by those who strive for it the least.”
Albert Einstein,  The Goal of Human Existence
April 11, 1943. AEA 28–587

The Way It Is: “The reasonable voices get drowned out by the unreasonable and irrational ones, appealing to the baser instincts and desires of men. It would seems that a small minority have dominated the conversation of nations, where resentments are fed till they become obese and misshapen, fueled by the use of demagoguery and scaremongering (and money) to achieve their aims.” 
Photo Credit: ©Perry J. Greenbaum, 2015


Yesterday marked the fifth anniversary of this blog; it was on August 16, 2010, when I took the first tentative steps of maintaining a personal blog.

I can talk about numbers, since they have some relevance in measuring something: 1,830 posts; 933,000+ total page-views; a few thousand comments, and the online meeting of many fine and thoughtful people. If this blog had a goal, it was to engage people through the many articles, stories and ideas that people are talking about. It was never about numbers, which become less important when the numbers are tiny compared to the major publications that reach millions daily.

It is true that my blog does not have one particular interest, but multiple interests: science, medicine, cancer, politics, philosophy, nature, books, literature, and so on, covering many of the ideas and thoughts that drive humans to act the way that they do. It is a sign of a meandering and curious mind, more wide than deep, some would argue. Despite the lack of dedicated direction, I hope that I have made a difference, a small contribution to shaping private and public opinion. My views as a classic liberal are well-known, which places me in a rare centrist position among those who hold political views. I wish it were not so, but such are the times in which we are living.

Speaking of which, public opinion is deeply divided, which is often a sign of a healthy and vibrant democracy. But when I read articles and the comments that follow, I become tired and discouraged. Many of the stated views are nasty, thoughtless and often filled with senseless hatred, which is not a good sign. No doubt, at the moment we are living in a time where inflexible ideologies and intolerant ideas fill the hearts and minds of men with extreme views, which, to the detriment of humanity, have become normalized. Attacks of the person have replaced attacks of the idea. (Why attack? Why not discuss, dissect, debate?)

Negative ideas dominate, where the “talk” is focused on what people are against, with little or no genuine positive sustainable ideas on how to govern. The reasonable voices get drowned out by the unreasonable and irrational ones, appealing to the baser instincts and desires of men. It appears that a small minority have dominated the conversation of nations, where resentments are fed till they become obese and misshapen, fueled by the use of demagoguery and scaremongering (and money) to achieve their aims. For now, the loud and outrageous voices dominate, the language of power and aggression normalized.

How this climate of negativity genuinely and truly helps most people is hard to understand. I do not sense that this trend will continue for long, but for how long is hard to determine at the moment.This might last decades. Hopefully not.

Some calm sanity is desired, and I have done my part to be a voice of reason. In some ways I have the sense that I have achieved what I had set out to do, which always raises the question of whether to continue or put it to rest. Is there anything more that I have to say, that I ought to say, using this medium? Before I forget, I want to thank the many dedicated readers and all of my contributors who helped make this blog what it has become. Most notably, I want to thank Prof. George Jochnowitz for his many wonderful and thoughtful contributions. His articles have helped make this blog what it has become; we disagree on a few things but agree on many more. He has made me think about things, which is always good.

I am thankful and have gratitude that I have been able to write and share my views in so many areas that interest me. I will continue to write and share stories, but will now focus more on some areas and less on others. You will notice less politics and more human interest, with a great emphasis on the beautiful and natural world in which we live and breathe. There will also be more music, art and literature, the three universals of humanity. It is from this place, I believe, where the search for truth, for knowledge, and for love can and does begin.

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