I Want More Sharing of Experiences in Shared Languages

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.

Source: Own mashup of 2 pics — from somewhere on Facebook, dated many years ago

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? :p ) is the subject for another post … coming soon! 😀

We all Scream for Ice Cream

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”.

Wanting Experiences Wanted

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.

https://markmanson.net/books/subtle-art

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.

I plan to return to this topic in a few (or more) days, in order to give some more details about which direction I hope to go with such ideas as this. In the meantime, I also recommend checking out more of Mark’s ideas, which I also wrote about in “the pervasiveness of technology and mass marketing is screwing up a lot of people’s expectations for themselves” and “mental health and self-improvement“.

I want my own interests to be represented here as well as the interests of others

Over the past several weeks, I have been wracking my brain over something I consider very peculiar. It’s very far from being a clear idea, but I have at least created a first attempt of circumscribing it and maybe even describing it in a passable, yet perhaps not fully adequate way. Here’s an excerpt:

Keywords: freezine , common , community , engage , engaged , engagement , engaging , language , linguistic community , obscurity , participation , people , shared , unique selling proposition , USP

We ought not to celebrate our unique individuality as much as we should stand in awe, wonder and amazement if and whenever we feel we are able to come to a common understanding, to reach agreement, to collaborate and help each other.

Obscurity is an issue we all have to deal with | FREELY BE :: Free Media Associations (remediary.com)

I have shown the article to a number of people, but all of them reacted negatively to it. This is very disappointing. I think the main reason why there was such unified negativity is that the issue is very, very complex … and even more than that — I allowed other (current events) issues to color my essay (for example: the past couple weeks of the debates over the 2020 presidential election in the USA).

The approach I describe in the above article is unconventional. If it were conventional, it wouldn’t really make any sense to mention it at all (or at least not any more than mentioning what I ate for breakfast). I believe this approach to business (and in particular: to marketing) may very well be far more effective at creating a much better world … and I want a much better world.

So that is why I have mentioned it here! 😉

Engagement via Literacy

Miley Cyrus "Happy Xmas" (w/ John Lennon, Yoko Ono)

And so this is Christmas …

John Lennon “Happy Xmas”

We may be mere mortals — but still we seem to feel confident enough to at least aim to grasp immortality.

… War is over …

John Lennon “Happy Xmas”

Immortality and eternity and time and space and energy and wisdom and such … seem to be far-fetched or even completely abstract concepts with little connection to the real world of the here and now, frought with Corona-virus and other diseases, or plagued with the Internet, addiction, technology, global warming, cancer, toxic masculinity, ….

Where does it all end? Let me get back to this later (don’t worry: it will also be sooner, or at least [hopefully] soon enough 😉 ).

Here I wish to stop abruptly and step out onto a tangential notion (which is actually the primary, front and central topic).

When we engage with the real word — or at least with other humans, we typically use language to do so. We can interpret language narrowly or broadly. Certainly, a smile or a frown are both expressions I can understand easily enough.

Let’s stick to a more traditional interpretation of language, with the added caveat that I am more concerned with written expressions (and “reading and writing”) than I am with spoken expressions (or speaking or listening).

That said (or written 😉 ), I wish to start off with examples of people who engage with large audiences — and here I wish to ignore whether their audiences are reading or listening or watching or whatever. Many Americans will be familier with some of these faces:

Joe Rogan, Bill Burr, Bridget Phetasy, Emily Morse

Perhaps one of these stands out as “not like the others”, and that is in fact not at all a problem but indeed it is very central to our topic of discussion.

When we engage with others via literacy (i.e. written language, literature and such), we do so via vocabularies. Your vocabulary and my vocabulary are different, simply because your experiences and my experiences are different. We articulate things differently (Albert Einstein had a great quote related to this — or rather “intelligence” [1]). We describe differently, we think differently, yet we still seem to manage an inkling of mutual understanding — otherwise it would almost seem futile to interact with one another at all.

Let’s focus on the English language, mainly because today it seems to be the most widely spoken language worldwide. I think most people will readily agree that it almost seems ludicrous to act as if there were indeed simply one language referred to as English. Every mother and father knows that the way they speak to (or with?) their small children is definitely not the same way they speak to / with their boss, their teachers or professors, their therapists, their law enforcement officers, or the vast plethora of their superiors (or “inferiors”?) or others — strangers across the street, across the aisle, across the oceans, the airports, the cyberspace, whatever.

We interact with each of these groups with different mindsets, different frames of mind, different vocabularies. Parts of these vocabularies overlap. Perhaps concepts such as “a”, “the”, “ah”, “um”, and such are almost universally understood. “Intelligence”, “immortality” and such are probably hardly understood by anyone — and even people who profess to be experts with respect to such concepts might be hard-pressed if we asked them to clearly and succinctly articulate them so that we might grasp them even if just a little bit.

The other day as I was listening to a business coach talk about long-term “life” goals, I smirked to myself… thinking that the ultimate life goal is death.

Yet before jumping to this absurd conclusion, let’s stick with the various vocabularies of English language we use on a daily basis to interact with each other, to understand each other, to help each other, to survive, to thrive, to go about our daily business, to engage in businesses, to do business activities, to participate either a little or a lot in life before we die.

Many people ask things like “what do you do in life?” They expect a short and simple answer, like “auto mechanic” or maybe “I’m a doctor”. They generally are less interested in such gory details as the intricacies of proctology, the implications of nuclear physics for humanity, the complexities of the more mundane topics such as “environment”, “mental health”, let alone “depression”, “anxiety” or anything at all related to “queer”. Please, just keep it simple: do you make enough money to put food on the table?

Yet in order to truly engage with others, we actually need more than just a few words. For example: take the word “depression”. It could refer to the way the term is used in the “branch of knowledge” known as “psychology” or it could refer to the way the word is used in the field referred to as “economics” (which is also historically related to “politics”). A long time ago, I noted that whereas psychological depression is probably the consequence of when an individual is treated poorly by society, economic depression is maybe the consequence of when society is treated poorly by society. I think I mentioned that on “Facebook” well over a decade ago — so the only people who might know anything about it are the data scientists employed by intelligence agencies.

It is probably easier for a camel to step through the eye of a needle than for an idea to spread through such brand names as “Facebook” or “Google”. If we restrict our interaction with each other to channels based on such brands (which are also known as privately owned “intellectual property”), then we will almost certainly lose sight of each other. In the world of “Google” and “Facebook” (and other brand names), we have no rights, no voice, no vote, nothing at all — we hardly even exist. These companies do not care about us in the slightest. Our existence only matters to them insofar as it enables them to make more money by duping us, misleading us, sending us on wild goose chases, imprisoning us in hell fires of never-ending arguments, fighting for or against anything as long as they are able to earn a pretty penny by enslaving us, getting us to click yet another link, yet another button, yet another ad for whatever dream scheme, dream job, dream offer, dream opportunity, dream dream dreamt up by some hacker in some far away land of dreams to be clicked on but never actually realized.

No, we do not need that sort of irrational behavior. What we want are rational media.

[1] Apparently, while a rose is certainly a rose, some people are not sure whether a quote is indeed a quote:

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

“I’m just not confident that this is something Einstein would say. I Googled it and was unable to find the quote from a source that I feel is reliable. I was hoping someone could confirm or deny this attribution. Wikiquotes does not list it.” [ https://skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/6732/did-einstein-say-the-if-you-judge-a-fish-quote-that-many-are-attributing-to-hi ]