Burning Time

 

time-equation

Time can be burned in a combustion reaction requiring an equivalent part oxygen

Combustion byproducts include an equivalent part water, 2 parts energy (prefereably power), and a single part regret

Too much oxygen, and time will burn bright, indicating an inefficient conversion into power and loss of energy in heat and light

Too little oxygen will favor the production of regret which is lethal in high doses

 

Freedom of Self

Photo: “Change or Die” of a creepy bar statue at Pauly Saal Cocktail Bar

What good is freedom of speech when no one can hear you?

It’s hard to hear people. To understand what they mean, even as they construe their meaning with inadequate, sparse, or excessive language (words). Worse yet, when others use words as weapons; speaking in jargon that only serves to alienate a listener. Effectively conveying meaning requires a speaker to adjust their language to the listener, just as the listener, well… you know, listens.

I consider myself a “compassionate intellectual”. This is a very broad term that has been bandied about recently to describe those that gravitate to the left of the political spectrum. This predisposes me to empathize with others, so I’m told. The compassionate side of me wants to believe that language is used by humans as a tool to exchange meaning. While the intellectual side believes that this exchange, or dialogue, is the ultimate progressive act. However, this act requires that both sides give each other the benefit of the doubt and not freak out when conflict arises or language gets in the way.

At some point, we learned the difference between ideology and pragmatism. Ideology seemed the higher calling: to hold beliefs so fervently and fight for truth. Pragmatism seemed tainted by comprimise and prone to human fallibility. Yet how stalemated a society, pervaded with idealogues, can be with no focus on actually getting something done. It seems better to have ideologies tempered by pragmatism and vice-versa. And I, for one, believe the idiom “you’re either growing [changing] or you’re dying”.

If you’re reading this, I likely have a lot in common with you and share a lot of your beliefs. However, these beliefs likely take on different meaning for me than they do for you. If you have a strong reaction to the next paragraph, do me a favor and ask yourself why you’re having that reaction.

I have recently noticed that there are key phrases that I need to avoid if I’m speaking to someone(s) that identify with a particular group (Pro-choice, Pro-life, Black lives, Blue lives, Gun control, Gun rights, Feminist, LGBTQ, Alt-right, Pro-Trump, Anti-Trump, Globalist, Nationalist). Sometimes I stumble into these phrases and I instantly lose the person(s) I’m conversing with. In some cases, I can tell that their whole perception of me is altered because I said the “wrong” thing in trying to exchange meaning about a touchy subject. And often they become very emotional. Dialogue ceases.

Without dialogue and a desire to keep our society moving, it seems, American democracy will fade. And something will take its place. “Alternative facts” are a real thing in a civil society that is predominantly composed of groups that are more interested in pushing ideologies, than engaging in dialogue. Dialogue leaves room for alternative truths, but not alternative facts.

The Observatory

Photo: Lab Notes and Illustrations of Fibers (120x magnification)

This is why you turn to the internet, right? We exhalt in our voices. Our contributions create the social fiber. A sharing of our individual experience… through photographs and text. Perhaps that’s why I’m here: to communicate my observations of my own experience, and then check back to see who cares.

I had always thought this a boring pursuit. To share one’s observations of the world with others. Why do they care? Others have their own experiences to fill their mind and consume their capacity for concern. It is only recently that I have come to conceive of how infinite human experience and curiosity is. Who am I to judge what other’s find interesting?

Anyways, the lens through which each individual views thier world is what interests me. Not what others see, but how they see it. Since social media is all about sharing, I have chosen to take a very specific approach to sharing how I see my world. To help you understand what you’ve signed up for, my social tao is as follows:

  1. Only original content: any and all photos or writing appearing on this blog will be generated by yours truly.
  2. Photos are (loosely) topical.
  3. No more that one post per day. Exceptions for rare occasions.
  4. Truthfulness over fuzzy feelings.
  5. Focus on science, art, architecture, and engineering.
  6. Limited-to-no nostalgia. I will reflect on the present while anticipating the future.

Amateur

My grandfather was Irish. He spun narratives and told tales larger than life and, most importantly, larger than himself. I understood at a young age that my maternal grandfather had a gift for writing and storytelling. There was nothing better in this world for Leo Raymund than when he had a captive audience. It gave him energy and life, which he in turn shared with those around him.

Sometimes I wonder how my mother’s and my life would have been different had Leo, or Blue Twisted Steel as he liked to be called, pursued writing as a profession. To know what gives you energy and have faith in your ability to wield that gift with so much force, so much passion, that you can support your family through it. When your passion is your work and your work your passion, meaningful creation is not hard to come by. Alas, it’s a risky business pursuing dreams.

I am not picking up where he left off. Rather, I hope to overcome my violent silences through exercising the gift he’s passed on to me, as an amateur.

Stay in Touch

Every time upon hearing this phrase, I cringe. Not because of the belief that it is a negative thing, mostly the opposite. There is a voice in my (hopefully) distant future that calls back and derides. For he knows that the people are right and that life’s value is directly proportional to the friends and family that comprise it.

If I don’t try, neither will they. Friends will be lost and family will think themselves scorned. When it comes to staying in touch, intentions and strong feelings of affinity mean nothing. It’s the commitment to continuous action. This is the part that frightens and intimidates. Establishing a precedent for staying in touch will develop an almost infinite expectation for doing the same. This expectation will continue to expand with each new contributor to life’s beauty. Besides, mystery is evicerated by intimate connection.

To whom much is given, much will be required… if I want to call myself a man, I better step up.