The One or The Many

The One or The Many. The debate has raged for eons in philosophical and religious circles – and even in movies. Today, I was once again faced with the question myself:  Should I continue to post about MANY topics on my blog, or should I narrow it down to ONE topic? Or, posed another way:  Should I continue to have only ONE blog, or should I separate my topics out onto MANY blogs?

Today, I actually purchased two more domain names and pulled my Naked On a Strange Planet blog off of WordPress.com in order to host it myself so that I could “redirect” some of my posts to my new domains.  I spent a good part of my day copying, pasting, and redirecting; as well as selecting new themes, plugins, etc. for my many blogs. When 5:00 pm rolled around and I realized that I had spent my entire day on this insane task, I said, “STOP! What are you doing and why?”

  • Do I really care how large my readership is? No, it’s the quality of the interactions that I have with people on my blog, and not the number of readers that I have that brings joy to my life.
  • Do I really think that I’m ever going to make tons of money from affiliate advertisements on my blog(s)? No, not really. Besides, we all know that’s not what it’s about, right? It’s about being able to express yourself and share your thoughts, interests, etc., with the wider world out there.  I know for a fact that I will make more money actually working than I will ever earn by spending hours tending to MANY blogs instead of ONE.
  • Do I really suppose that if one of my readers has no interest in a particular blog post that they will unsubscribe from my blog? I would hope not. Just delete the email and don’t read the post – knowing that the next one will be right up your alley. Or…try something new and different on for size, you might be pleasantly surprised!

Finally, I decided that I had simply succumbed to a case of temporary insanity brought on by the ever-present, evil desire for MORE, MORE, MORE. More domains. More blogs. More readers. More search engine hits. More obligations. More time spent. More money spent. More aggravation, headaches, and…. You get the picture.

So, it is after much wasted time and effort, that I have finally decided to have it both ways:  I will continue to have ONE blog with MANY topics.

 

 

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Money Changes Everything

Money changes everything. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If we look at money for what it really is, it doesn’t have to be a “bad” thing. After all, money is really only a medium of exchange that allows us to trade and interact with each other economically. Money isn’t something “real,” it is something that we humans make up and decide to use as a medium of exchange. What IS “real” is the exchange. And, it is the “exchange” that we totally lose sight of when we start to look at money as something “real.” The “exchange” is human interaction and human interaction becomes nothing when we begin to place the importance on money instead.

Let’s take going into a restaurant as an example of what I’m talking about. If you are (as most of us are) “money oriented,” you will decide that you WANT some food and that you have a RIGHT to it because you have MONEY in your pocket to buy it. You walk into a restaurant, sit down and start looking at the menu. You look at the food not only in terms of what looks appealing to your senses, but also in terms of what that food translates into in terms of money. You make your food choices and place your order with the waiter. You then begin to evaluate the waiter in terms of money. How polite is he? How attentive is he? Will he get your order right? All of these things decide his worth to you in terms of the tip that you will decide to give him when your monetary transaction is complete at the restaurant. You look right through him. You don’t notice his facial features beyond trying to establish basic recognition so you can pick him out from among the other waiters in the restaurant should you need him to do something for you. Maybe you are even rude and demanding – after all you’re paying him so why shouldn’t you get exactly what you want when you want it no matter how busy or tired or new the waiter might be? When you finish eating, you leave your mess spread out on the table for him to clean up. Why not? It’s his job. It’s what he gets paid for. You leave your evaluation and estimation of the man’s worth on the table in the form of money and you leave. On the way home you grumble to yourself about the cost of the food and maybe how it was or wasn’t worth it. You are tense and dissatisfied.

Now, imagine that you are out walking down a city street. You are hot, tired and hungry. Suddenly, up ahead you see a restaurant. You become filled with hope that your suffering will soon be relieved. You enter the restaurant and immediately the air conditioning cools your skin. A young woman takes you to a seat at a table and brings you a glass of refreshing cool water. You are happy to have a place to sit as your feet hurt from walking. The young woman then comes to your table and asks you what you would like to eat. You choose a sandwich from the menu and a small salad because you only have a certain amount of money in your pocket and want to be sure to have enough to thank this woman for her hospitality before leaving the restaurant. Before the waitress brings your food, you visit the restroom provided by those who own the restaurant. You notice and are grateful for all of the comforts and amenities that have been provided to you. A restroom, warm running water to wash with, towels to dry with, air conditioning for comfort, a place to sit, food to eat, plates and utensils to eat with, cool water and a person willing to bring these things to you. When you are finished eating your meal, you clean up after yourself the best that you can and leave a tip in order to show your gratitude to the waitress and you leave. You feel relaxed and satisfied. You have realized the “real” economic exchange taking place and it had nothing to do with money which was only the medium through which this exchange could take place.

You see, the wrong view of money gives the impression that everything in our lives is a “financial” exchange. But that is not truly the case. Imagine, if you will, that you have millions of dollars in your possession. You could buy anything you want, right? Wrong. If other people had not taken the time and energy and initiative to grow food, make clothing, or build housing, your money would buy you absolutely nothing. You could burn it to help keep you warm as you toil away trying to build your own housing, grow your own food or make your own clothing, but that is all. When we look at everything in terms of what it is worth in terms of monetary value, we are missing the point and missing out on life and what it means to be human. We are also fooling ourselves into thinking that if we only had enough money, we would be set for life. But without other people, we would not get anywhere at all no matter how much money we have.

The End of The World

Why do so many people worry so much and think so much about The End of The World?

Is it a way to escape from the inevitable reality of our own individual departure from the world? After all, when I die (all by myself) my whole World ends – not a happy thought. Maybe some people feel better thinking that when they go everyone else is going to go too. That way they don’t have to worry about things going on as usual after they’re gone.

What I think it’s really all about though is that if we can be sure that the world is going to end sometime soon in our lifetime then we don’t have to worry so much about the future or about following the rules. Maybe it’s all about our deep-seated desire for Freedom. If the world is going to end in 2012, then I don’t have to worry about planning for retirement – I can live it up now. If the world’s going to end soon I don’t have to worry about all the things that we people are supposed to worry about: building a good reputation, putting off our dreams “for later”, or saving up for the future – we feel as though we now have permission to “live for today.”

Of course this is something we should all be doing now anyway – fuck the end of the world – I want to live NOW and if “now” lasts for just 2 years or 50 years it doesn’t make any difference – make the most of life everyday!

Remember, even if the world doesn’t come to a crashing halt all at once – your own “world” will sooner or later. Enjoy your day now.

“M”

Why Should I Worry?

Okay, I just watched a National Geographic documentary today about asteroids. Basically, the story is that there are tons of asteroids flying around out there all the time. A big one could hit without warning and wipe out all life on Earth in an instant; or a much smaller one could hit me in the head at 1 zillion miles per hour while I’m outside smoking a cigarette – so much for SMOKING being bad for you!

Now I have a tendency to worry about a lot of things:

  1. Do I have Cancer?
  2. Will I get Cancer?
  3. Will I get shot in a drive-by?
  4. Will I get killed out driving on the highway?
  5. Heart disease?
  6. Galloping Gangrene?
  7. Etc.
  8. Etc.
  9. Etc.

Sometimes my worrying goes so far as to keep me cooped up in my house for days at a time for fear of the dangers awaiting “out there.” Well, guess what? I could be sitting here at my computer, with all my locks locked, all my vitamins & enzymes, pure-filtered-water, nicotine patch and air purifier and CRASH!!! – an asteroid crushes me to death, house and all. So why should I worry about anything else? Really?

I am going to, at some later date, post an article on like, 1001 ways to die, or something like that. So if anyone has any suggestions or anything to add to that let me know.

Remember, IT’S OUT THERE, AND IT WILL GET YOU ONE DAY NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO – so you might as well relax and live a little.

See: This Poem to put Your Life Into Perspective

Life is Truly Magical

You know what I think is really awesome?  Water.  The next time you pour yourself a glass of cool refreshing water think about this:  Water is made up of two combustible gas elements – Hydrogen and Oxygen – and yet water is what we use to put out fires.  This is because when the two elements combine to make water they lose themselves in each other – it’s like falling in love – and water is the offspring created by their union!

Another really awesome substance is Salt.  Salt is made up of Sodium and Chlorine.  One is a metal and the other is a toxic gas, yet when they “fall in love” they produce something edible and tasty!

I use Water and Salt in these examples because they are both things that I really love and use a lot of.  But when you really stop to think about it and look around at all of the things that we come into contact with on a daily basis you will be filled with awe and wonder at the miracle of the world around us.  Think of a tree:  It starts out as a little seed, add some dirt, some water and some sunshine and before you know it you have a big mass of woody matter!  Where did all the wood, bark and leaves come from?  It’s like a miracle!  Can you imagine a recipe like that – where you end up with way more “stuff” than you started out with?  When you make a cake and mix all of the ingredients into a bowl and then bake it, you pretty much end up with the same amount of cake as the batter you started out with (sure, it may rise some, but not much and that is just air anyway).  But take a tree, or a human being even, and you see that you get a lot more than what you started with – just add some sun, water & dirt in the case of the tree; or some food in the case of the human being.  Wow!

Take some time to look around you and see how amazing and wonderful and Truly Magical Life really is!

“M”

Something and Nothing

It is really hot today and I am so grateful for my air conditioner which fills my office with nice cold air. Or so it seems.

Years ago I took an automotive air conditioning course at a technical school and learned to start looking at things in a different way.

An air conditioner does not add cold air to a room. An air conditioner removes heat. It is the removal of heat that makes the room feel cooler. So what, you might say, what does it matter as long as the room is now cool? Well, comfort-wise it doesn’t really matter, but philosophically it makes a great big difference because it brings up the ontological subject of “something and nothing.”

In the example concerning air conditioning we can look at “heat” as “something” and “cold” as “nothing,” wherein heat is “something” that must be removed in order to make it “cold.” Cold, then, would simply be the absence of heat and not “something.” The more heat we remove the less “something” is there and the closer we get to “nothing.” If we remove enough heat and achieve the condition of “no heat”, we would have “nothing” – which would mean that “cold” is “nothing.”

The same way of looking at “something” and “nothing” can be applied to lots of things in our everyday lives. Looking at things in this way, we can see that so much of what we call “opposites” are really degrees of the same thing, only moving closer or farther away from “something” to “nothing.”

What is the opposite of “Love?” Many of us would say “Hate.” But this is not so. The opposite of “Love” would be “Indifference.” By the same token, the opposite of “Hate” would be the same thing – “Indifference.” Love and Hate are “something,” but Indifference is “nothing” – I have no feeling for you whatsoever. I have removed my feelings so far from you that I have slid from the positive, or real feeling of Love or Hate (it’s funny to think of Hate as a positive thing, isn’t it?) all the way down the scale to the “nothing” of Indifference.

This is a very interesting way of looking at things isn’t it. Try it for yourself and let me know what you come up with!

Disagree? Leave a comment.

-m

Work to Live, Don’t Live to Work

…or something like that. What I mean is this: I was thinking today about people who are passionate about something. Let’s take a sports fan – we’ll narrow it down to a Phillies Fan. They really love their team and take time out to watch every game, maybe even travel to see some away games. They eat, drink and breathe the Phillies. It’s what they talk about, it’s what they think about, it’s what they spend their time and money on. When this person goes to work every day they aren’t totally wrapped up in “making a living” – they are thinking “oh good, I just earned $100.00, now I can go to New York this weekend to see the Phils play.” Their life has meaning and purpose. They work and earn money to be able to pursue that meaning and purpose.

On the other hand, let’s look at a person who has no passion in life. This person’s life is ALL about survival. They just go to work to “earn a living” and “pay the bills”, not to pursue a dream. It’s kind of like being on life support. They go to work to earn money so that they can live another day to go to work to earn money so that they…etc., ad nauseum. It’s a terrible cycle to be trapped in, it’s like running in a hamster wheel. This is how I feel right now at this point in my life. I am consumed with thoughts of “how am I going to make a living” when I should really be consumed with thoughts of “why should I make a living – what is my life FOR?”

Life is so short. Life is a gift. It’s not something to be kept safely hidden away in a closet in order to avoid losing it. What good is it to be alive if you do nothing with it? Sometimes I like to think of life as “a day in an amusement park.” You get dropped off in the park and are given 10 hours to go play and ride the rides and eat the food and listen to the bands play, etc. If you stand around at the park entrance all day long fretting about the fact that you only have 10 hours in the park and how to best spend that 10 hours and how to avoid getting ripped off while you’re there, you will never get to play or enjoy the park and you’ll have to leave when the 10 hours are up just the same as if you had, joyfully and with reckless abandon, taken advantage of everything the amusement park had to offer.

Let’s go out and live a little!