This blog has served many, many purposes; it has been kind of a catchall for what ever passed through my mind and out of my fingers. I used to post many times every month and while the postings here have diminished to less than once a month, the writing has never stopped. Today I am starting three stories for a local newspaper that I used to work for. Freelance news writing does not pay much, but writing for the newspaper has reawakened my love of local news reporting. No, I do not wish to re-enter the field on a full-time basis, but keeping my hand in it from time to time reconnects me to my youth – not as a news writer, but as a newspaper delivery boy. While I was probably too young to understand the vital public interest I was serving, the ancillary benefit of reading my newspapers as I was carefully folding them, preparing to fling them at my customers’ doorsteps, has lived with in my soul to this day. There was no Internet, no cell phones, no personal computers at all – people relied on their daily newspapers to keep them informed.
Like so many others, I get most of my news today via the Internet. I prefer sitting down to read my local daily newspaper, but sadly the days of washing the newsprint off my hands are gone. My news now comes from my local newspaper’s website as well as many other sources and although I like the almost unlimited availability of news sources, I really miss holding the paper in my hands. Oddly enough, I used to write with a typewriter and I do not miss that at all. I was, in many respects, a “techie,” I was onboard with the Internet in its early stages and stayed current until the late 90s. Now, however, I am more accurately a nostalgic techie and an experienced end-user; the kinds of things I used to know have no current value, but I do know my way around a computer. Technology has, of course, changed things. This ongoing rambling of “perspectives, purpose and opinion” would not have happened had there been no technology to drive it.
I have been around for nearly half a century. The past 50 years have been witness to evolutions and revolutions at a pace perhaps unprecedented in human history. Yet much remains remarkably the same. Humanity, while it might appear less humane than ever, still rests on a foundation of intangibles. There are “things” that exists outside of matter and energy. Truth, beauty, goodness, justice, love and a host of other intangible things are real, yet they cannot be quantified. Now, there are some scientists that might tells us that those things are simply the electrochemical impulses of our nervous system, that they exist as love, justice or what have you are simply human creations; they are labels or symbols to describe a physical reality – a nervous system response to stimuli. Even less appealing – they are instinctive survival responses. But that explanation does little to explain why love occurs, why some things are universally beautiful or why injustice is recognized as such even by those who are the most frequent offenders.
Fifty years is a long time, and I used to look at 50 as “old.” Now a little more than six months short of that milestone, I do not feel “old.” In fact, I am doing much of what a man half my age might be doing. I recently earned BA and MA degrees and I am one year into a PhD program that, if successful, will have me sporting the title of “Doctor” sometime in 2015. I am getting married in just six weeks and while I am not new to parenthood, new children are coming into my life. There is, of course, much more to this story than this rambling mind-through-fingers symbolic representation, but the very fact that these words will be read by someone else will help form what they mean. They are an addition to the wealth of human experience that has been recorded over the past few thousand years and the more I read of those who have gone before me, the more I realize how little we have changed. We have adapted the environment to meet our needs, but we have not conquered the world. We have technologized much, but that essence that makes us human has not changed one iota. Paraphrasing Kenneth Burke, we are animals that communicate and miscommunicate and it is perhaps the latter more than the former that truly makes us human.