Wednesday, October 28, 2009


"...a fish in the water doesn't know that it's wet"
- Unknown

"...a fish begins to stink at the head"
- Unknown

"...even a dead fish can go with the flow"
- Jim Hightower

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Few Terms

While not all inclusive, the following terms, in many ways, describe the way I see the world:
  • notan
  • patina
  • terroir
  • wabi-sabi
  • chiaroscuro
  • provenance

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Anthropocene Epoch

Astronomers recently discovered 32 new planets outside our solar system that might be capable of supporting 'life'. Anthropologists unearthed the skeleton of 'Ardi' - a 4.4 million year old female that may reveal clues as to our origin as a species. And, scientists from the University of Portsmouth have concluded that humans' impact on our planet in the last 200 years is so significant that we may have ended the Holocene and begun the Anthropocene Epoch.

Apparently, the impact of physical, chemical, and biological changes we have made on Earth now mandate a change in philosophy about our place in planetary history. The recent Industrial Revolution has so impacted our environment that we must now make a mental leap in understanding our place in geological time.

Only more time will tell us if this theory will hold true. For now, however, it's worth considering where we might be headed, and at this rate, we're certainly getting there in a hurry.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Pace Of Change

In this morning's Wall Street Journal, there's an article about how communicating by e-mail is being supplanted by newer, faster technologies such as Facebook and Twitter. No longer will you have to wait as long for responses. Electronic communications will be near real time and we'll always be connected with instant gratification. The article closes by postulating that these new services may not save time, as much as they eat up more of it. And, if you read my previous postings about being busy, you'll know where I stand on the subject.

For years, I have puzzled over the notion of change. I frequently ask others about their sense of how things are now versus what they used to be - human nature, relationships, lifestyles, the pace of living - nobody seems to know with any certainty. However, one thing is for certain and that is the inevitability of change. Change has always been and it will always be, but not all change is progress.

I firmly believe that the pace of change is a significant issue. Our abilities to recognize and adapt to change are threatened by its increasing acceleration. As we are constantly confronted, if not bombarded, by new inputs, our need and ability to establish foundations is impaired. Before we fully understand the operation of, the implications of, and perhaps our need for new technologies, we are presented with a new menu with newer options. Often it feels like we embrace change for the sake of change, whether or not the old methods did the job adequately and certainly before we fully comprehend value, efficiency, relevance, and functionality.

So, buckle your seat belt and hang on, because we humans evolved long before Blackberries and wireless networks showed up. Unlike a friend of mine who was chastised by her family for writing a letter to someone instead of sending an e-mail, too many electronic junkies are looking and waiting for the next instant hit. And, it's acceptable, if not essential, to stop, think, and reflect before responding to the next instant message that shows up at your electronic doorstep.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

To Get Anywhere

"To get anywhere, you have to have the patience to fail"
- Anonymous

"To dare is to lose one's footing momentarily - not to dare is to lose one's self"
- Soren Kierkegaard

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Chocolate Or Vanilla ?

I was thinking recently about the choices we make and wondered about the differences between children and adults. It seemed to me that children's choices are often simpler - chocolate or vanilla, where as adults we choose from more complex variables - French vanilla, vanilla bean, chocolate fudge brownie, chocolate marshmallow and so forth. I think that it's not that children can't taste the difference between flavors - it's just that they are satisfied with fewer options and are maybe less jaded than adults. On the other hand, I enjoy the spectrum of a rich and varied palette made possible through experience, experimentation, and a wide variety of choices.

Thinking about choices led me down a another path. When we choose 'X', in effect, we un-choose 'Y'. By selecting any given flavor, trip destination, political candidate, career, etc., by default we de-select other options. Life doesn't really offer us control groups - once we begin down a given path, we can never quite replicate a different choice or direction from the same starting point. Even if we retrace our steps, literally or figuratively, change has occurred and the new direction is ultimately different in more or less subtle ways. And, since time moves forward in an apparently linear fashion, it seems that decision making is as much about what we don't choose as what we do.