Another Try

Maybe it is the change of seasons—the fact that Winter is officially over and Spring is upon us (or, for those in the southern hemisphere, Summer just ended and Autumn has begun). I doubt the change of seasons in the southern hemisphere can be held to account, so if there’s a seasonal connection, it must be the version reserved for the northern hemisphere. While the seasons may play a part, I am certain they are not entirely responsible. It’s the wanderlust again. That’s what’s making me edgy—the urge to hit the highway, Route 66 style. That is, with no constraints imposed by a plan—because there would not be one. And no destination; just “go.” I long for that boundless road trip, but I like having my home base, too. In other words, I want opposites: dangerous safety; boring adventure; freezing heat; boiling ice; you get my drift. The impossible. But that is what drives fantasy, is it not? Impossible dreams. The unfolding of the world—and events in it—in magical fashion, free of life’s ugly flaws and traumatic disappointments. That, in itself, is a fantasy.

The sudden disappointment of a hope leaves a scar which the ultimate fulfillment of that hope never entirely removes.

~ Thomas Hardy ~


My philosophy is fluid. Or, as I am wont to say, it is contextual.

Wait! THAT statement could be misinterpreted. Someone might interpret it to mean my core beliefs could be swayed by circumstances. It’s not the BELIEFS that could swayed; it’s the circumstances surrounding their application. For example, I oppose the euthanasia of animal rescue shelter guests after a certain period of time passes. On the other hand, I favor euthanizing animals, rather than leaving them to fend for themselves in a harsh environment.

It is hard to say how the paragraph above coincides with my philosophy about humanity, but, somehow, it does. Perhaps it is because it reveals that the addition of information to one’s understanding can alter not only one’s understanding but the way in which one reacts to it. A person who vacillates between opposing positions is not necessarily “wishy-washy” but, instead, may simply be highly discerning. He may be able to simultaneously see a set of circumstances from multiple perspectives. Depending on perspective, then, he may made very different decisions about what he experiences.

Logic tells me to bear such stuff in mind before making judgments about people. But emotion tells me to disregard logic and go strictly with my gut. Naturally, I sometimes find myself hating and loving a person at the same time. Fortunately, my ambivalence usually applies only to people I do not know well.


We humans measure wisdom with antiquated tools. Rulers and balance scales cannot do an adequate job of determining the scope and size of an immeasurable characteristic. But we try to employ the tools we use to measure the physical world to measuring the philosophical world. Those two worlds are in different places. Different dimensions. Different purposes. Sometimes, they blend together effortlessly. But, often, they clash. They square off, passionately insistent that only one worldview really matters. They learn, though, the truth: one’s worldview is irrelevant. It’s one’s ability to adapt to radical change.


I do not understand the “threats” posed by China. Though I see clear evidence of belligerence and hostility on the part of Russia, China does not seem especially bellicose. I sometimes get the sense that the USA is, as often as not, the one stirring the pot between us and them. Let me add this: if the “threats” include the natural byproducts of competitive commerce, I do see them. China seems fully prepared to take over the world from the standpoint of economic muscle and precision focus. In my opinion, that competition is not necessarily politically combative or contentious; it’s the nature of capitalism. Obviously, China is quite adept at capitalism, despite “our” claim to fame as the world’s preeminent capitalist society. We might once have legitimately held claim to that title, but no more. We rested on our laurels while China and various other Asian countries/economies perfected their strategies. That’s the way the cookie crumbles.


Talent. Is it an innate characteristic, or does it require planting and intense cultivation?


The crows outside my window are loud. Obnoxiously loud. Annoyingly, irritatingly, offensively loud. I generally admire and appreciate sounds from the natural world. But these…these disgusting squawks that sound both artificial and demonic…they are right up there with chiggers and mosquitos, in terms of their repulsiveness. They give the natural world a bad name.


The topics of intimate conversations can be dull. Deadly dull. But intimate conversations can save a person’s sanity. They can reinforce one’s sense that the world is not entirely chaotic; that there are fundamentally good aspects to a sometimes seemingly miserable cesspool of irredeemable losers. Intimate conversations are the discussions about anything and everything that take place between good friends; meaningless drivel and life-changing secrets, all kept in strictest confidence without need of a reminder about its confidentiality. Because intimate conversations are, by nature, limited. Never more than two people. Even in their drab overcoats, these dull, grey conversations can revive the irretrievably lost, bathing them in colorful garments invisible to everyone else.


I am drifting in and out of vacancy. My mind wanders off and refuses to return without significant prodding. Enough. Maybe I should light some incense and tell my mind to chill.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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