So…now I have a blog.
The obvious question is…why? Why contribute to the millions (literally millions; WordPress alone hosts 60+ million blogs) of blogs that are already out there? What exactly do I expect to add to the “blogosphere”? My reasons for doing this are, I suppose, two-fold: catharsis and responsibility.
Over the last few years, I’ve had a lot of stressful things happen in my life. From employment to graduate school to death, it’s been an interesting ride. Do I want to expound on every detail of these experiences and chronicle it for all time? Not at all. As a matter of fact, I’d like to forget a lot of it. However, I have noticed a shift, shall we say, in my personal philosophy and outlook in general. For those of you that have experienced the death of both of your parents, you’ll probably relate. You suddenly realize that you are now alone in the world. Now, this isn’t really a bad thing and, of course, you have loved ones, other family, friends. But, the two people who were always there, every single day you have existed, the two people who gave you your core support for your entire life, just…aren’t anymore. It’s truly the point in life when you become an adult, the point when you are forced to face the world without support and make your own way, no longer having to worry about the “paradigm” of your life that your parents had. All you have is the memory of the lessons taught over the years and the free will (though that is debatable) to use knowledge in whatever way you see fit. There is a forlorn freedom in it all.
What did my parents teach me? To boil it down to its essence, they taught me not to be an asshole.
So, catharsis comes for me in writing about my experiences and thoughts simply because the process of self-reflection makes you less of an asshole…and that’s what Mom and Dad would have wanted.
When I graduated with my last degree, a Bachelors in Physics, I was forced to sit through an entire day of convocation ceremony. Forced is a bit strong…I wanted to be there, I suppose. But, those ceremonies can drag on like nothing else I’ve experienced. At least I was participating; the only thing worse than graduating for hours is watching someone else graduate for hours. Apologies to my family…
During these ceremonies, a ridiculous number of people get up and talk about nothing, give cliché speeches, and toot each others horns in a process that can only be expressed as “academic masturbation”. However, during one of the ceremonies, the Dean of the College of Science, Dr. Pierre Sokolsky, made a statement which I found profound. He pointed out that we all now held a science degree “with all its Rights, Honors and Responsibilities” entailed thereof. We were now responsible for this body of knowledge known as science and we were obligated to defend it in public and to pursue the quest of curtailing mis-information. We had been tasked with spreading truth, epistemological truth with a capital T.
So, the other reason for this blog is to facilitate that responsibility. I have learned a lot over the last 35 years and I want to share it. I want to share because I love knowledge and teaching and I know that being informed and battling ignorance is important (a subset of the don’t-be-an-asshole lesson from my parents). From time to time, I’d like to talk about certain topics on science, design, and whatever else, simply to attempt to make clear difficult things that I find interesting and think other people would as well, if only they were more accessible. Particularly with science, the amount of “language” one has to learn to even be able to approach the subject is daunting. But, there are so many wonderful things to be explored, so many vitally important topics to be discussed, so many world-changing events that people should know about. Knowledge swings both ways; I can’t spend my entire life learning and not attempt to spread that knowledge to others.
Plus, I can play a mean game of Trivial Pursuit.
So, there you go. Why blog? To spread knowledge, counter mis-information, and make myself feel better in the process. You’re more than welcome to come along for the ride, if you’d like…