I was pondering my New Year resolve. I was thinking how do I take my resolve, and spread it out manageably across 365 days, so that I can have a positive report this time next year. This is no small concern. In twelve step meetings across the world, in many different languages, people say “Easy Does It.” This, in some circles is followed by the informal addendum: “But do it.” That is the part that seems so stifling, so intimidating. (It is often best to keep the more practical aspects of action in the theoretical). So, 2008 I had more practice being active, and getting things done.
I just watched a talk by a Darwinian philosopher named Dan Dennet, and he spoke eloquently about dangerous memes. What memes, what infectious ideas are we willing to die for? What ideas can I share today that may infect your mind, and pass on like a virus to be planted indiscriminately in someone else's world? I have exchanges with people from many different cultures. I know that just asn western Europeans had immunities to parasites against which indigenous populations were totally defenseless. Am I so bold and ethnocentric to think the culture that spawned me has a lock on truth?
When I go out in the world, I try to be respectful of other worlds, other cultures. My opinions are not so cherished that I would hoist them on the unprepared. I know many people try to check me for my opinions on things. There is a process of testing. In the virus world, this is akin to testing for antibodies. I know that when people want to share their ideas, they want to see how open, how vulnerable to infection I am. I have been examined for my attitudes on religion, politics, sexual orientation, abortion rights, attitudes on real science, pseudo-science, skepticism, open-mindedness, and the list goes on ad nauseam.
I will share freely on what I find interesting. By mentioning relative dating techniques, I can watch a person's face to see what they believe is the age of the planet. Before carbon and uranium dating techniques, one unbiased researcher in the 1800's proved conclusively the planet is only about six thousand years old.
So, with this being one year later, I might want to get to the point of this discussion.
I bought a book recently called Animal Liberation by Peter Singer. This man, an accomplished philosopher, made a case for the ethical treatment of animals that makes me rethink my carnivorous ways. This man makes me rethink animal treatment with a philosophical, but wholly dispassionate analysis of the relationship of humanity to the animal world.
I sit and eat my pastrami Reuben sandwich as I read in detail why supporting the factory farm industry is wrong. This book helps me to see the fractures in my own thinking. It is easier to talk about integrity when I believe it some attainable ideal. I know my soul always suffers fractures. It will always know some disparity between what I want to do, and what I end up doing. There will always be some disparity between what I say I do, and what I end up doing. So, what is this renewal of which I speak? Perhaps with these admissions alone, I will move myself more into alignment with who I want to be.
In these admissions I hope to get closer to meeting the ideals I set for myself in 2008. With my health, with my money, with my dreams of social advancement, and my hopes of spiritual balance, I have to make small changes in my life, many of them. One day at a time, I believe this year will be spectacular!
My friends in recovery warn me against planning outcomes. Still, my most wise and prudent friends assure me planning my actions, and mapping out my wants, my goals, is a must. So, Today, at least here in California, it is still January 1. Today, I still have 364 days to see how close to the mark I can get. I have my body, my spirit, and my mind. By taking little steps (“Baby steps, Dr. Marvin”) I can achieve great things this year.
Thank you for reading.