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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Another County Heard From

At last someone took me up on the offer to write a guest blog.  I am hopeful several others will follow suit.  Let this be a forum for any and all men/women to express what is going on out there.  Think of this as your blank canvas.  From my new Central NJ correspondant "Mike Taylor"...

I was flattered to be asked to write a guest post by the author.

When they ask Nobel prize winning writers what their advice is, they always say "write what you know".

However, my challenge is that, of late I have come to realize that I don't know all that much. And while Socrates was considered wise because he knew that he "knew nothing", I don't feel very wise.

I have always been a voracious reader, and not being a sports fan, spend the time on the weekends that would otherwise be spend cheering on some team or another with my nose would be in a book, a magazine, a newspaper, etc. If some item or topic caught my interest, I would spend hours Googling it so I could know all about it. Particularly politics. Especially politics. So, for a long time, I thought that I knew a lot. And I would argue and debate, not just to put my point across, but to destroy the other person’s point as well.

I came to realize that I "know nothing" when on Thanksgiving I decided to go on a news media fast -- no magazines, no newspapers, no websites -- I would only rely on what I could learn from talking with my friends. On Facebook, I limited myself to my friends’ postings and comments, and did not click any attached news links.

This was prompted by my having a political argument about some current event or another with a longtime friend who, in the aftermath, stopped speaking with me. I started to think about what, if anything, I had "won"….

So for about a month now, I have had no articles to fuel my debate, no matters of public interest to comment on, and no political fights to weigh in on, other that what I got from listening to other people.  And once this cheap junk food energy meal of constant input was removed,  I realized that the Hitchens-wannabe debate style I prided myself on had nothing to do with the passion of my beliefs, or my concern over matters of public interest, or nobly soldiering in support of the "good" fights. I realized that it gave me a thrill and a charge to argue, debate and destroy the other person's point of view. And it caused me actual stress and discomfort NOT to argue with someone. Like an addict in need of a fix.

So I realized that all of that stuff I was reading was not really informing me, or enlightening me, or expanding my knowledge. It was feeding something else.

What its feeding I don't know yet, but that's a start….

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