Monday, January 5, 2015
2015: Taproot Resolution
Here's to passing another milemarker! And let us also celebrate the typicality of the personal blogger laying out his intentions for self-improvement in the coming 365.2425 days.
I don't even want to revisit my list of resolutions for 2014. Many of them remain unaccomplished, but so much for them. There's always next year.
I have one specific goal in mind for 2015. There's something I recently read in the Analects of Confucius that got under my skin and into my imagination:
Confucius said, "Ah Sze, do you supposed that I merely learned a great deal and tried to remember it all?"
"Yes, isn't that what you wanted to do?"
"No," said Confucius, "I have a system or a central thread that runs through it all."
That's what I would like to find or construct for myself. I have a lot of interests—the various focii (as opposed to any single focus) of this little blog attest to that. But there's nothing that unifies them. I run off in different intellectual directions all the time, but my advances in one area never seem to amount to overall progress, because it's all disconnected, scattershot. Even when I look at all the fiction I've written, I'm at a loss to find some theme or idea common to it all.
It would be wonderful to cultivate a central taproot from which all of my other informal "studies" and pursuits extend as natural and useful outgrowths. I'm interested in ornithology, astronomy, behaviorism, the economic and social effects of mechanization, the position and uses of old media and art with the emergence of new forms, climate change, cartoons, the spiritual desolation of modernity and the ways in which it might be counteracted, arcade games, mathematics, and so on and on. But I'm an expert in none of these things, and my probes into any one of these areas aren't of much use elsewhere.
Maybe what I'm looking for is an ultimate sense of purpose. Sheesh. A more traditional unrealistic resolution to quit smoking, go to the gym six days a week, learn Spanish, do charity work every weekend, and master the unicycle might actually be more viable.