Monday, August 20, 2007

Anniversaries, Birthdays and Blogging

24 years ago today my wife and I were married up in the Hollywood/Griffith Park area of Los Angeles. It was my 30th birthday. I thought it was a clever way never to get stuck (like so many a married man before me) coming home to an angry wife one day, having completely forgotten the old anniversary! Now, if you actually care about your birthday, this is just a stupid idea because you never really have your special individual day anymore. Think about it and you'll completely understand. Fortunately, I haven't really cared about my birthday, probably since I turned 21. At first they were a mild annoyance. Then they became a tiring reminder of my aging process. Finally, I just don't care anymore. Obviously I'm not writing this because I'm looking for a "Happy Birthday, John"!

"Happy Anniversary" is probably more in order. My wife is a wonderful human being and really much too good for me. I married "up"... way up! So, on the surface it's no particular achievement that I remained married for 24 years. But understand a few things - I'm not "built" for relationships. I'm a loner and a hermit. My wife is a Christian, so you can imagine the potentiality for conflict in this rather major area of philosophical difference. So on these counts it is mildly impressive that I have been able to keep it together with her for 24 years and raise a couple of great kids.

I also thought I'd take today to give a little insight or two into my blog. I think I'm a decent writer, but know that I'm nothing special. I have some things I'd like to share and that's what I do. The reason for the frequent video posts is that the one thing my writing absolutely is not - is prolific! I could go a week to 10 days at times without feeling a compulsion to write about anything. I could even go longer at times. If you scan back through the past two years of this blogs existence, you'll see exactly what I mean. That's no way to maintain a blog. If you are going to do it you have to continually provide new material for people, or you really can't expect them to stop by.

So several months ago I decided to go this direction. I post videos that speak to something that is inside of me. I might have found it funny, educational or interesting in some other way - but if you see a video on my blog it speaks to my way of seeing the world. And you can be sure that I don't just toss something up there as "filler". I spend hours viewing videos and see a lot of trash - hey, it's my job and I do it! I also come across material that's "OK", but never makes it to the blog. If I post it, I really like it for some reason and hope visitors will also.

I realize that I have a very bad habit of sounding arrogant. I honestly do not feel arrogant. I have no reason to be. I don't think I have all the answers or that I ever will. In private, I constantly doubt myself and second and third guess myself. I'm open to being proven wrong and I always hope I can admit it when it's the case that I am. That said, I do feel I have one fairly uncommon trait that is worthy - I always try to live my life and view the world through a lens of reason. I think it's the only way to go and I try to encourage people I come in contact with to do likewise. I think it would be a better world if more people did this. That's primarily the focus of Evolutionary Middleman.

If you took the time to read my words today or have done so in the past - thank you.


The Exterminator said...

Just to let you know that someone did take the time: You're welcome.

Nice little personal post. And FYI: I've never felt that you sounded arrogant. But, then, I'm so arrogant that I might not notice.

Don't forget to buy those flowers.

John - Evolutionary Middleman said...

Thanks! But what kind of flowers do you like? :)

Here's the thing about the "arrogance"... I don't think too many of us in the reality based community will see EACH OTHER as arrogant. But to those outside of our "in-group" (people who I like and would hope to hold rationally conversations with) a reasoned approach can sound arrogant. I personally don't think it is - in the least. But I've been told often enough in my life that I sound like a pretentious pseudo-intellectual that I know it must be true, in the experiences of some others.

I could say "OH WELL"! You might, and many of my other friends do, but that's just not my style. It's not that I particularly care about the impression I give off ("care" in the sense that it hurts me in any way) but I just believe that when people see me that way, they're more likely to shut down their reasoning ability and discontinue allowing my points to impact them in any meaningful way.

I'm not trying to score points in debates. I know what I believe about life and if I'm going to share it, I'd like them to at least reflect on my points. If I alienate myself they won't.

By the way - "Julian" rocks! What a great book. THANK YOU again!

Sillysighbean said...

My sense of arrogance means having a somewhat exaggerated belief of one's own importance. I do not get the feeling reading your blog that you are 'talking down to me". Richard Dawkins is criticized by detractors for being arrogant. Is it because he has an exagerrated and inflated opionion of himself or is it because a particular belief is being challanged? I feel it is because of the latter. The bottom line for me: Is something true or not and show me some evidence so I can make my own decision. I am not that concerned with what people think about themselves... The videos are the best, keep them coming! Many more Happy and Healty Birthdays to you and all your loved ones.

John - Evolutionary Middleman said...

Thanks for the kind words, Sillysighbean.

I agree about Dawkins, but it is true that even many atheists find him hard to take. Like I said, I'm not one of them.

I've read all of his books except 2 and I think when you read that much of someone, you get to know what they are really saying as opposed to how it can SOUND to someone less initiated.

Also, I don't THINK of him as an atheist. That's just kind of irrelevant to me once I know someone is a fellow free thinker, and I move on to looking at what else they have to offer. In his case, I don't know of any modern scientist who has done more to make evolutionary processes accessible to guys like me. And I've read a lot of people.

I put him in a group with Dennett, Steven Pinker, E.O. Wilson and a small handful of others who have both done original research of consequence AND been able to make it fascinating to a layperson.

Renegade said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Renegade said...

Happy Anniversary!

I had came across your blog a few weeks ago and, since then I have been a regular visitor.

Your videos are the main attraction for me. They are funny, interesting and at the same time really informative and educational.

Keep up the great work!