Saturday, June 15, 2019

On Developing The Inner Man

I spend a great deal of time developing the outer man, and very little time developing the inner man.

On a good week, I have 3 hours of work outs, 2 hours of Iai class, 3 hours of Iai training/practice, and 3 hours or so of aerobic - 11 hours a week.  At the same time, I maybe have 1 hour total of prayer, thinking, and reading the Scriptures.

It is not surprising at all, as I look at that, that the inner man is so greatly confused and impotent.

I need to change it.

How?  It is going to require time:  time spent in prayer, Scripture reading, meditation, thought, and writing.  It means that time will have to pulled from somewhere else for sure.  But it is an investment that I have to make.

How does one go about creating a personal development plan for internal development and character?

I have a plan (I think):

First, one needs to make a commitment.
Second, one needs to decide what it is that one wants or needs to develop.
Third, one needs to define the tools one needs to accomplish this:  books, facilities, classes, etc.
Fourth, one needs to define a specific time for this to occur.
Fifth, one must do it.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Continued Media Withdrawal

The withdrawal from social media - and really most media in general - continues apace.

I have allowed myself again to start participating in the greater review of "media" post Lent.  What I have found - on the whole - is exactly what I left in the beginning:  there are twists and unexpected turns, but on the whole my lack of follow up has not translated into being able to stop anything or even prepare for it more than I am doing now.

The aggregator sites are really no better:  in fact, having been away and then re-visiting them again, I find them even more snarky, condescending, and doom-ish than ever.  It is interesting and informative to read about potential large disruptive events; it becomes less so when ever day seems to involve "The Big One" which, when it fails to happen, is suddenly passed on to the next event.  Think of it as the media equivalent of date setters for the pre-tribulational rapture.

I mention condescending - it had not struck me so blatantly before, but such aggregator sites and their articles are very much "look -down-your-nose" at anyone who does not see things there way (I believe the technical term used is "Idiots").  Which is fine to write and have your opinion on - but if your goal is to convert people to your way of thinking, not a terribly clever marketing plan.

Social media suffers from the same sorts of things for me:  either controversial, snarky, or just plain boring.  ("I finished cooking dinner today.")  Again, there is very little original thought or concepts being shared.   Really more of a time waster (my friend K over at Saturated in Seattle has actually gone to the extent of completely deactivating her account to save her free time and help her to use it better).

(I will say here that Instagram seems to be the one thing bucking this trend for me.  Just the posting of pictures and short movies sort of makes all of this impossible.  And it is a great way to keep up with my children.)

Blogs, of course - as I have written - are the one great exception here, and one that I am actually working on expanding my list of regularly visiting. 

But on the whole - no, social and InterWeb media continues to have less and less to offer me.  I simply assume the worst is going to happen and act accordingly. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Connections

After writing "Too Many Friends" and then thinking about it before I re-wrote it and posted it, I realized that there was one very important aspect that I have failed to cover:  the blog.  The blog is everything that a social media site is not.

A blog is something that an individual authors and caretakes.  It is something that someone has to seek out intentionally - via an actual search or even just a click through - instead of something that is force fed when an individual logs on.

A blog is also something that someone has to take the time to respond to - not just with a click and "thumbs up" sign or a small comment but an actual response to an actual posting.  A sharing of opinions can take place between the author and the readers or even between the readers and the reader - but these are interactions, not 10 second dashed out responses.

A blog is something that author actively participates in the maintenance of, even if it is only once a week or once a month.  Everything that appears in any blog has been hand selected by the author, not merely moved from one other feed to their own.  In some actual way, it is the expression of the blogger in question.

A final thing:  a blog can become a mechanism of friendship.  We proudly have a cast of tens here (instead of the much overused "cast of thousands") that frequently or infrequently post.  Through these posts - really your posts, no third person needed - I get to see a little bit into the soul of the commenter (you).  The exchanges are often short - a post, and a response - but even in these short comments over the years, I have come to know more about some of you than of the many I know on social media where I know is the activities they do and the pictures they post. 

As always of course, thank you - thank you for your readership, thank you for comments, thank you for your patronage (not that there are any bills we are paying here of course - but if there were, you would be doing it).  Most importantly, thank you for being the InterWeb Social Media counterrevolution. 

We are few, but we are mighty.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Too Many "Friends"

One of the great attractions of social media is that you can have hundreds of acquaintances - called "friends", "followers", or just plan "virtual people I know but have never met."  Suddenly you are meeting people all across the world.  It feels, well, connected.

Except that, sadly, you are not.

For any of these services, the more people you have, the more you flow through their radar and the more they flow through yours  Suddenly, your last act is not an act that people see and react to but one of fifty that just runs together in their feed of the moment.  All of these stories become nothing more than a background tide of information, flowing and ebbing across the brief moments that people engage with it.

It is not these people are "ignoring" you (probably not, but there is always a small group that does) as they are just overwhelmed by the amount of information that is coming through - and unless you have been marked as "important", you are likely to get lost as background noise.

Suddenly, those hundreds of connections are completely meaningless as they are not really connections or "friends" but rather statistics.  And you have simply become one more of them.

No wonder so many people feel so disconnected and alone in this age when we are more connected than ever.  We have become not people and relationships, but bytes of information scrolling across a screen and we nothing more than a value, a number to be either bragged about or forgotten about but seldom engaged.

Monday, June 10, 2019

The Collapse: A Perspective.

So this past week, I had the opportunity to try a very small portion of the protagonist of The Collapse.  All the family was gone on vacation and so I spent a week living by myself.

It was not completely the same, of course. I have a much larger house and I had to go work during the week.   But other than that - in terms of contact, media, etc. - I was very much similar to our hero.

Some things that I found out:

1)  Meals when you are on your own often become very short term events, as the intent is to eat, not to eat and socialize.  They become a great deal simpler as well: more than one meal was a peanut butter and honey sandwich.

2)  It is very easy to spend non-work time not speaking to anyone except the animals.  And they make pretty good conversationalists.

3)  One can live pretty cheaply when one is on one's own.  There is little enough that you want or need outside of necessities by yourself.

4)  Just like I have found in my normal life, schedules make life very livable.  It also ensures that the important things get done.

And...5)  I do not do very well when The Ravishing Mrs. TB is gone.  Not well at all.

It was a good experiment.  I hope to continue to analyze the experience.

Sunday, June 09, 2019

C.S. Lewis On Forgiveness

"I find that when I think I am asking God to forgive me I am often in reality asking him not to forgive me but to excuse me."