I’ve been a bad blogger. I haven’t been giving back to “the community,” nor have I even found time to read what “the community” is writing. engtech says:
“…blogging is a 10 to 50 hour a week commitment when you include reading and commenting on other blogs. Blogging takes away from other aspects of your life. Are you prepared to make that kind of commitment? Is anyone?
I’ve realized I don’t blog here. I journal. I’m leaving a trace. It’s time to explain my motivation:
An Atypical Manifesto
last updated: March 4, 2007 23:00 UTC
- Tell it like it is, politics and career be damned. Living in abject poverty with your morals intact is better than living in a mansion with slaves doing your bidding.
- Remember that, no matter how well you’ve researched your position, you’re still probably wrong. I prefer this variant of “the scientist’s credo.” It keeps you humble. Isaac Newton said: “A body of assertions is true if it forms a coherent whole and works both in the external world and in our minds.” Phenomenology teaches that what we know of the world is perceived through our senses, and also that we cannot be sure our senses are not giving us false data.
- Eliminate dogmatism from your life. This is a variant of the previous rule. Basically, it’s OK to jump to conclusions – as long as you’re willing to accept that you could very well be wrong. Getting “stuck” in any given decision leads to inflexibility. And who has ever said that inflexibility is a good thing?
- Choosing a faith (or a lack thereof) does not give you the right to abandon morality. This is my response to the new Pope, and others who assert that the modern world has descended into moral relativism. A lack of dogma means that not everything is either black & white – not that everything is some shade of grey. Sartre put this succinctly: “Man is nothing else but what he makes of himself. We can never choose evil. We always choose the good, and nothing can be good for us without being good at all. Therefore, I am responsible for myself and for everyone else. I am creating a certain image of man of my own choosing. In choosing myself, I choose man.“
- Learn as many new things as you can every day. Similarly, understand the price of choosing not to learn. I’ve occasionally thought that I’d journal what I learned every day here…but sometimes I can’t discuss what I’ve learned (work, privacy, etc.) I at least meditate on it every night before bed.
- Deal with everything, now. I’m not a hard-and-fast GTD adherent, but I do live by keeping my inbox empty, filing everything, and keeping my mind clear. Otherwise I end up incapable of handling anything. This is how I handle pressure, not by eliminating it, but by controlling its effect on me.
- Neither a hero nor a mundane be. I acknowledge that I’ve had more education, more opportunity, and have as a result achieved more than many others. But I don’t like being a hero — anonymity suits me just fine. (So does not having all of the responsibility on my shoulders.) But I’m not “just another face.” I never will be. Maybe I’m too American to give up that shred of ego…but maybe I’m also too Canadian (cosmopolitan?) to believe that my actions can change the world without the consensus of my peers.
- Think lots. Act less often, and surreptitiously. Basically, I mean to be careful, consider your actions, and understand the ripple effect. dys4iK proved this one to me with Futurama: “When you do things right, people won’t be sure you’ve done anything at all.“
- Your job should not define you, nor be your only passion. Exception: Artisans seem to make it work. The jury’s still out on this one, but my personal history shows it to be true. Love your job just enough to keep you from walking off, but not so much that when you need a break, you won’t let yourself take one. And take breaks. You deserve them.
- Don’t be afraid to reach out. Also, don’t wallow in self-pity. We die alone, without dignity, and it’s always ugly. But there’s beauty before then, and there are many things to be gained in conjunction with others. Even when you’re a dyed-in-the-wool introvert.
- Achieve something, even if it’s nothing “big.” I do a lot of things that I don’t feel are particularly special, but others apparently do. That’s why I’ve finally put up a link to music from my studio, why I’ve posted schematics I’ve reverse engineered, and why I still look for new projects and collaborations. Someone will probably find it useful; whether that’s true or not, it’s still worth doing. It feels good to accomplish things, no matter how small.
- Never settle. Everything in life is only for now – be a part of affecting where it will go.
- Finally, know your limits. And reinforce them with people who don’t respect them.