Summertime, and the Living is Crazy

Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly NOW. Love mercy NOW. Walk humbly NOW. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.

It’s coming up on that time of year when I mark the passing of yet another milestone of life on this planet. This summer, given the various upheavals of COVID-19, adjusting to a long-term stance of working from home (NPR ran an interesting piece about the likelihood that most of us going to be making that shift permanently), and the protests calling for police reform and recognition of racial injustices, it doesn’t feel like there’s much to celebrate, let alone a birthday. Especially the last birthday of my fourth decade.

While I still haven’t found my own creative zone, hubs is chugging along with his. He created a lyric video for the first single off his new album, honoring his brother as an interpretive dancer: (The single is now also for sale via pretty much any channel you wish, too: iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc.)

I have apparently been profoundly inculcated with the belief in “productivity” that drives my own value. So it was interesting to read an article in the Atlantic that talks about the historic shift that drove the assignment of dollar values to everything. And then there are the neuroscience studies that show just how flawed human perception is; our brains are designed to tell stories, largely based on past experience, none of which manage to faithfully portray reality with anything approaching reliability.

Those underpinnings put a different spin on history. The arrogance driving colonial rule in India, as described in a book review by the New York Review of Books, the article about the godfather of sexist pseudoscience, and a different article about the Enlightenment’s Dark Side, all reflect obvious failures of both logic and empathy. Is it possible that statistics could help provide clarity? There was a whole article about four charts that reflected the current problems with policing that could provide some insight. But that puts me back in memory to the old quote about “lies, damn lies, and statistics”–that has a slightly different inflection on that earlier article about how Americans value almost everything in terms of finance. There is an underlying lie in saying a human is in anyway reflected in a dollar value.

In the face of all that, my optimistic nature inclines to the Polish phrase Jakoś to będzie. Thus I was reminded of my youthful aspiration to speak as many languages as possible, and found it an intriguing coincidence that there’s a whole conference dedicated to that pursuit.

So I will continue to interrogate my own blinders and biases–and encourage those around me to do so as well–and hope that someday I will find my way back to the energy necessary to continue with my creative writing.

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