That’s the quintessential motto of each and every pandemic: Everywhere Plans for Everybody
It’s not normal — not new normal, not old normal, not at all … it’s more God-like.
Normal is: Somewhere Plans for Somebody.
In case you’re unaware of this bit of cultural history: It was none other than the Beatles who sang about Nowhere Man … namely, that he had Nowhere Plans for Nobody.
I think many people treat me (and / or my thoughts) that way regarding my thinking about information , information retrieval, natural language processing, etc. They consider my ideas to be irrelevant to today’s “real world” — #IRL.
At the end of the post, I speculate about the divergence between my own views and the mainstream views of the masses in the markets. I think perhaps each of these extremes views the other view as “Nowhere Man” views (interesting aside: the Beatles actually sang that Nowhere Man “doesn’t have a point of view”, and also speculated whether “isn’t he a bit like you and me?”).
So where is this “real world”? Are the markets always right? If so, then how can it be that the markets still have not solved the problem sometimes referred to as the “pandemic”?
Photo credit / commentary: the featured image is from a “new & improved” Photo Directory launched by WordPress.ORG — AFAIK, the correct “source” information ought to be included automatically simply by including the photo itself (?)
Another reflective post from your “host” leading up to our 1st Anniversary. but “host” is in quotes to indicate that my vision for this site is not so much “my way” as it is “our way” (at least I want it to be that way 😉 ). Several years ago (when I was still engaged over at TEH FACEBOOK), I had an online friend there who inspired me quite a lot — in a sort of changed my life sort of way. She was so convinced in “WE NOT ME” that she tattooed that on one wrist sleeve, and the ubuntu symbol on the other. To this day, I feel her influence on me — even though I kept bugging her with wanting to know more and understand more about her thoughts, ideas, hopes and dreams so much that she saw no alternative to my constant bothering than to unfriend me (indeed: even to block me). There are no “hard feelings” involved, it was simply a matter-of-fact solution to my incessantly menacing neediness which simply took up too much of her time.
I learned a lot from that experience, and also from that wonder-woman (which is, I guess, how I continue to see her to this day). Yet maybe she also learned a thing or two from me. For example: she would emphasize how important reading (and also listening) attentively is, and I would emphasize how our shared language exchanges shape the evolution of our future language, the language future generations will inherit, the expressions future generations will be receiving from us, reshaping them yet again — quasi according to a natural law governing the survival of the fittest languages.
So this long-winded preface is perhaps just one of many possible “background” or “historical” antecedents to “how I / we got here”, other explanations go back much further, along different tangents, and quite obviously beyond the scope of what I (and / or we) want here and now.
I want more of “us” to participate. The musically minded among us may immediately be reminded of Peter Gabriel’s “Only Us” (and his entire album “Us”), or perhaps (for the more advanced 😉 ) Pink Floyd’s “Us and Them”. I by no means want to give anyone a “short, sharp shock” — I simply want community engagement. I have been reaching out to “Others” for nearly a year now: many seem astonished, quite a few seem flattered, some seem to feel flustered, but almost no one is clicking “join” (and actually completing the step to become a member of this website).
I want more others to become members, I want more members to participate and become more engaged with unraveling the mystery of both our own individual wants and our collective wants. I want more understanding about how we choose to create the environments we want to live in. I want these and more things to happen, and I also want other things (i.e., wants of others) to happen, too.
I want this increase in engagement to happen here, and I also want it to happen there and everywhere, too. One way of interpreting the web is to see it as one big massive hypertext, with links making connections all over the place.
I wish to close by explaining why I feel people should become engaged more here. Here, I feel we can expect a heightened level of sensitivity to the importance of wants, the awareness of wants and so on. Just the other day I found an article on the web attempting to delineate wants from needs — but in my opinion the author was too conviced of their own ideas, and I also felt the ideas were quite confused / confusing (at best — if you wish to read about it yourself, you may be able to find the text via my review of the author’s “about” page). I had submitted a comment to the post, and it was apparently not approved. I don’t know much about the author, except perhaps that they seem unwilling to engage.
My hopes and aims for this website is that more engaged members will increasingly participate, and thereby help to shape our own future, and perhaps also the future of others. Helping to make this high priority happen is important to me. The path I intend to trailblaze in order to get us from here to there (and everywhere? 😛 ) is the subject for another post … coming soon! 😀
As I indicated on Friday, I intend to write several posts over the coming weeks about the direction I am hoping to continue going to move Wants Blog forward.
In case you have never read the homepage, I strongly encourage you to take a look (it’s at most a 1-pager). I wrote this when I started the blog, and I feel it rings as true today as when I first rolled up my sleeves to write it.
The connection to last Friday’s post is this: wants may be easy enough to pronounce — they seem to roll off the tongue as easily and smoothly as swallowing sweet melted butter — but they are usually quite complex in practice. The phrase “it’s complicated” ought to spring to mind … even though not much schooling is needed for even the smallest of children to express what’s wanted (at times even with a “dead or alive” sense of urgency).
Yet as I tried to point out on Friday, we need not pretend (as Bob Dylan did in his “Talkin’ World War III Blues”) that we are all separated — we aren’t (as I indeed attempted to hammer home on the, er, homepage).
So I hope to first of all raise everyone’s sensitivity to a level at which we all realize the need to replace any simplistic views of individual, egotistical wants with a much more sophisticated model of a more socialized sense of collaborative wants — not merely because I personally feel that communal goal setting is the right thing to do, but rather because any matter-of-fact, evidence-based belly-button gazing exercise — whether super-simple or extremely complex — will easily show that there is no other world for us to live in than this “one world” we have to share with each other. We need to accept that one world is enough for all of us — because regardless of the stellar marketing pitches of the most advanced Silicon Valley celebrities another world is not (and probably never ever will be) “coming soon”.
In a few weeks, Wants Blog will be able to celebrate its first anniversary, and although I have not set any clear goals for this site yet (in the realm of success and / or evidence-based statistics types of results), I do feel both good and confident enough to call the first year a satisfactory start, at least enough so that I am willing to continue with this project for the moment, for the foreseeable future, hopefully for many years to come … and I intend to make some more announcements in the coming days, or at least in celebration of the first anniversary itself (in about 3 or 4 days) — so stay tuned! 😀
Today I would like to change the pace a little and do something of a more reflective, theoretical post.
But there is no need to miss out on quoting some intelligence from the web (or, in this case, a book published by a blogger):
Wanting positive experience is a negative experience; accepting negative experience is a positive experience.
Mark is prone to making bold statements, and this a beautiful example. I by and large agree, but in my humble opinion, I feel it’s necessary for me to add some caveats.
First of all, I strongly agree — insofar as my own interpretation of “wanting” is similar to Mark’s in that to want is (AFAIK) a germanic verb lamenting an ill state of affairs — it is “needy” (cf. “To Want“).
Lest you think I intend to move on to the rest of the sentence, I myself want to focus more on this one word. Even more than that: I intend to go off on a tangent to an experience I had several decades ago, as a graduate student of linguistics. It was in a class very focused on some of Chomsky’s theories — probably named something like “syntax”. I think the particular topic of discussion had something to do with a theoretical construct like “subcategorization frames”, and we were discussing examples of sentences like “Jack rolled down the hill” vs. “Jack rolled the ball down the hill”. I argued that I felt as if the sentence which exluded “the ball” had an implicit default scenario, in which “Jack” would simply be duplicated — as if to say: “Jack rolled Jack down the hill”. The professor and pretty much the entire class immediately put my supposition into the realm of lunacy, thereby completely disregarding it as an unthinkable thought (never mind that I am actually a native speaker of English 😛 ).
In a similar vein, I wish to now suggest that I feel it is perhaps possible to reach a frame of mind — sound mind, mind you — which may call Mark’s statement above into question, maybe even undermine it so much that it would seem to invalidate its bold and eloquent nature completely.
For this amazing feat, let me ask you to consider that the default case of statements along the lines of “I want something” may actually be “I want something for myself” … and that this default case is not necessarily always present. On the contrary, it is possible to imagine a scenario in which someone who wants something actually wants something for someone else. My hunch is that Mark would argue this point as an invalid case, insofar as we cannot truly want something for other people, those other people must want things by themselves. I think I can acknowledge that as a valid argument, but I also feel that even though to say something like “everyone must heal themselves” may sound valid, I remain quite skeptical that many people would be so foolish as to condemn the entire healthcare industry — the sole purpose of which is to heal others — as something akin to an impossible fantasy.
Therefore, I come to the conclusion that since wanting something for someone else may indeed be not only possible but also quite likely a positive experience (insofar as that wanting is not egotistical, but an experience which is quite reminiscent of the “golden rule”), leading me to believe that it is indeed quite a good thing to practice.