Things to come

As my life is becoming more structured I want to get back to trying to write everyday. There are so many thoughts and ideas floating around in my head that I really want to get out. I have an opinion about just about everything; I just haven’t felt that I have the  moral authority to speak about them. The more I read other people’s opinions the more I realize that I shouldn’t let that stop me.  It helps me to see that the crazy thoughts in my head are shared by great thinkers who have actually garnered respect for their ideas. When I find myself still disagreeing with people whose ideas I highly respect I come out thinking that I may have something original to offer. This doesn’t mean that I am right and they are wrong, only that I have a perspective which is uniquely mine. Some people will probably like what I have to say and some people might not. I hope you will let me know either way. I think the conversation is a good thing in and of itself. My thoughts and my beliefs are constantly evolving.

I want to try and tackle some of the big issues even if I can only do it in a small way. I want to share my musings on subjects like, god, meaning of life, good and evil, human evolution, fame and success, morality, inspiration, creativity, society, government, punishment and love. I also want to write my thoughts on the more mundane topics of the day like marijuana legalization, global warming, income inequality, gay marriage, the Arab-Israeli conflict, religious freedom and politics.

I’m sure that I will continue to intersperse some stories about my life but I don’t want that to be the focus. I’ve been using this in-the-moment memoir approach because my memory sucks and I wanted to have a way to remember what I’ve been through. I also figured that if anyone was going to be telling my story, it should be me. What I’ve found is that I don’t find my story all that interesting. I remember what I want to remember and the rest I am more than happy to forget. If someone else finds my story interesting, they are welcome to write about it. I need to write about what interests me.

My hope is that I will be able to develop a structure and framework that will make it easier for me to write. I also want to get to the point where I can write comfortably without the use of alcohol. I simply am not going to have the time to drink like I have been and there are some consequences to drinking that I would like to avoid. I know this will be a challenge for me. I’m much more self critical when I’m sober. I also have a hard time focusing on a single thought. I find my brain racing three pages ahead when I’m still struggling to find words to complete the sentence at hand. It’s really frustrating and time consuming but I need to find some other tools to help me focus.

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Are ideas really dangerous?

In a post I made last week I stated that “ideas are dangerous”. Even as I wrote it I had doubts about whether I actually believed it. It has been the number one question on my mind for the past week as I have been spending a lot of time reading, watching and listening to other people’s ideas. I love learning what other people think. I’m a huge fan of the Aspen Ideas Festival and TED Talks – Ideas worth spreading. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend checking them out.

What I have learned is that not all ideas are equal. Some are really good; some not so much. Some ideas are just downright stupid. Still, are any of them dangerous unto themselves? Robbing a bank is dangerous but so is shooting a manned rocket into space. Both of these dangerous acts began with an idea so perhaps it is fair to say that ideas are dangerous.  However, when I made that statement these were not the examples I was thinking about.

I wasn’t thinking about how an idea can lead to an action that is dangerous. I was actually thinking about how thinking can cause harm. I was thinking about how my ideas may conflict with other peoples ideas, or even my own ideas, and cause discomfort. Well, as unpleasant as discomfort may feel, it is not dangerous.  Experiencing discomfort can actually be very enlightening. In fact I’m hard pressed to find an example of how one can find enlightenment without discomfort or the more often used term; suffering.

Still, I did not start this blog to cause suffering, nor did I start it to find enlightenment. These are merely byproducts of documenting my journey.  As for enlightenment, while I have certainly found it, I see no evidence that it is a final destination. It is but merely a flower upon an endless path. The upside is that suffering is but a stone upon that path. Perhaps it’s the stone that you tripped on that caused you to notice the flower.

As for danger, all I can say is that life is dangerous. It’s probably a good idea to wear a helmet.

a penny for your thoughts, a dollar to act them out

Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. – Jimmy Wales (founder of Wikipedia)

I’m going to try and make this a quick post. I’ve been looking forward to this day all summer and I really want to get on with it. I bought my ticket to see Gogol Bordello outdoors at the Cabooze the day they went on sale. I didn’t think they would sell out (and they haven’t); I didn’t know what the weather would be like (I feel like it was snowing when I bought the ticket), I just wanted to make sure that I put it in my calendar and committed to seeing this show. For the past five years I’ve seen them every time they were in town and it’s always an amazing experience.

I’m also just looking forward to getting out on my bike and having a lovely summer afternoon with nothing to do but ride and enjoy the day. A potential added bonus is that I may get to see one of my friends who needed to be removed from my life for a while. She contacted me Wednesday night wanting to know if I wanted to meet up. I’ve been waiting for that opportunity all summer as well. We’ll see how that goes.

So I’ve been doing some connecting the dots.

I heard recently on public radio that the government is changing the way that it calculates the Gross Domestic Product to include things like intellectual property that currently don’t have a clearly defined monetary value. I still think that we would be better off calculating Gross National Happiness but I this is a move in the right direction. Ideas have value and so why don’t we try to quantify it?

I’ve also been working on eliminated my possessions while maintaining my standard of living. I’ve become fascinated with the movement called Collaborative Consumption where instead of everyone having to own things that we don’t use 99% of the time, we share them so that we can reduce our individual consumption while still collectively increasing the benefit of those commodities.

I have a wealth of ideas but honestly I don’t have the time to use most of them. What if I could share them with people who had more time than ideas? Clearly, that is not an original idea. That is going on all the time, every day all over the internet. That is the driving principle behind conferences like TED Talks and the Aspen Ideas Festival. I’m convinced that collectively we have all the ideas we need to solve all the worlds problems. It’s just a matter of getting them into the heads of people that can actually do something with them.

So I have an idea that I want to share. It’s not going to save the world or anything but it’s a fun idea that I’m not going to be able actualize to it’s full potential. In my last blog post I introduced the words drunkonomics and drunkommunication. I feel like there is a book in there using the principles of alcohol and alcohol consumption to teach otherwise boring or confusing subjects. There could even be a chapter on drunkemistry. Alcohol is a solution after all. So feel free to run with that. Hopefully you will give me credit for the idea. Hopefully you will consult with me because I have many more thoughts on the idea. Actually what I want is a penny on the dollar so if you make a million dollars off my idea I want ten grand.

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