Saturday, January 18, 2020

A Few Words From...William James

"I have always thought that the best way to define a man's character is to seek out the particular mental or moral attitude in which, when it came upon him, he felt himself most deeply and intensively active and alive.  At such moments, there is a voice inside which speaks and says 'This is the real me'."

Thursday, January 16, 2020

The Collapse XLII: An Opinion Piece


20 October 20XX

My Dear Lucilius:

Our power has again been spotty of later – although I admire whoever is on the other end of the power lines for continuing to keep what power the do on. They have done yeoman’s service in this regard, although to be completely honest I not sure what the point is, other than to give the window dressing to the concept that everything has not completely collapsed.

Enforced in-house living, due to the snow, has made for the re-inventorying of everything – both because it is a useful exercise and, frankly, keeps the mind occupied. I have gone through every room of the house (all 3 of them!), checking against the list and inventorying against the day that some of the items will have to be traded for something else.

In digging through my inventory of paper – junk mail, the local newspaper, and the like – I came across an opinion piece we had discussed when it came out (as I recall, anyway) about how once again we were literally within years of reaching the point of non-sustainability, that one with immediate and intrusive government action would life be able to be maintained at some level (interesting, how only government action is only, ever, the way to save the day).

I laughed to myself – somewhat bitterly- as I re-read ot/

One wonders where that opinion leader is now, or the hordes behind them that felt that only government action could stave off the end. The end, or at least an end, has come – ironically enough somewhat enabled by government action. The very body that was supposed to save everything has instead just enable the destruction of the same.

If they were in a city, their circumstances are hard right now, if not awful. I can imagine, even though I am not there: some hours of power, no food beyond what may be distributed, and the sinking feeling that nothing good is coming out of this situation. The very “government” that was supposed to save things has become the instrument for ensuring that (almost) everyone suffers equally. Despair, if not death, has taken hold.

Not to say that all of that is not true out here in the non-urban environment either. Almost all of the same items potentially apply, with the exception of the government ensuring we all suffer together. Government out here was only ever able to manage things a little in the best of times; now they have retreated to the core or to their own part of the countryside to make their way.

I pulled that paper aside to save to read again, perhaps in another year or so to amuse myself again. Or to keep ready when whatever comes after happens and people again believe that government is their only salvation.

Your Obedient Servant, Seneca.



Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Of Cheese And Harps

This past weekend I did two things I have not done in rather a long time: I made cheese and I pulled out my harp.

The cheese was Domiati, a North African cheese known for its heaving salting, which allow it to be stored at room temperature. The harp was still there and (after having to replace two wire strings, which is always annoying) was tuned up and played as always.

I am not sure how these things fell out of my life - after all, my weekends have not been so full that these should have been an issue.  They are certainly things that I have enjoyed in the past. The cost of them is rather low - free for harp of course, and almost nothing for cheese (you have to buy milk, of course, and perhaps some bacteria from time to time).  They are just time.

But I let myself get out of control.

Really, I let myself get over-run by "work" - and by over-run, I mean my inability to manage time effectively to be able to cut off and check out.  I have, sadly, convinced myself that "work" takes precedence at all times over such things.

Now yes, work is important - it does pay for a rather great many things.  But it should never be so important that it completely consumes all that I enjoy in the quest to "always be ready" and "things get done".

To quote my friend Glen, you have to plan your time as much as your money for the day you are not working.  There are worse things than cheese and harps.

Monday, January 13, 2020

A Brief Time Reminder

In case you were dwelling under a rock (or out of any sort of news cycle) last week, we may or may not have avoided Armageddon. 

Yes, as usual, the point of this reminder is not to discuss politics around here (recall, that is something that we do not do).  What I thought was remarkable - and worth discussing - was the speed with which everything happened.

In approximately a seven day cycle, we went from the initiation of the event (a missile strike) to the end of the event (missile strikes).    In a seven day cycle, we went from "The world is over" to "Well, maybe the world is not over.  Our bad.  Carry On."

The reminder to me - hopefully the reminder to you - is that by the time something significant and potentially life shattering can happen - a war, an economic collapse, heck - even a serious weather event - there will be little to no time to do anything about it.

For those that put aside getting ready for any kind of emergency on the basis of "When it is time, I will know it", you logic is flawed.  If we are extraordinarily lucky, you may get a few days of a grace period.  But that will be it - and to be clear, the grace period is really just the time to finish off with the last little bit of what needs doing, not start from scratch for what needs to be done.

It was a good reminder to me - and hopefully to you - to recall that when you really need the time, it will not be there.  The only way to have it will be to be ready so you do not really need it.