I missed my evening blogging session yesterday. I wish I could claim that I some excuse of a major distraction that kept me away from the computer. To be honest, I spent the time staring at an empty editing pane not knowing what to write.
It amazes me that another week is ending. It amazed me even more that another month ended. When I woke up yesterday I recall thinking that maybe April was one of those months with 31 days and only later learned it was May. Maybe my lack of contribution yesterday was my way to protest the theft of the additional day in April. Or, maybe, I decided to take the day off as a holiday.
I could claim some heightened anxiety during the week and maybe that finally caught up with me. I do know that I slept unusually well last night.
One reason I was stuck was trying to decide where I want to go next with this blog.
The original intention of writing about my technical experiences in abstract terms is becoming more difficult. Technical work involves technical details that lose the bigger points and unnecessarily highlights the specifics. Also, working with data is working with a specific type of data in specific technologies. Unfortunately, in my opinion, we are all too quick to jump to the conclusion that the specifics are everything. Someone who works in one type of data is not a data expert but instead an expert in a particular type of data. While there is some truth to that, I think that diving into the details of a particular type of data is the way to learn about working with data in general. The general skills are far harder to obtain than the specific details. But the job market takes the opposing view.
I have been dabbling along the edges of other topics.
I’ve written a little bit of autobiographical snapshots. I am not about to write a lot about myself. Instead I use my autobiography as a way to illustrate something more general or perhaps to offer an explanation for why I think the way I do. That will probably continue, but it didn’t rescue me last night with a nugget to write about.
I’ve written philosophically about several topics that approach modern discussions. I will probably continue to do that. It is my nature to look at current events and try to take a step or two back and look at the problems more broadly or attempt to tie things together.
It is also my nature to avoid getting into the specific debates. I learned to accept my grandmother’s observation that I’m chicken. That’s fine. But at some level the immediate debates bore me. I just can’t convince myself that one side or the other makes any real differences. Things work out no matter what we do. The only thing that changes is who is on the winning and losing sides.
I’m reminded of my experiences from two decades ago when one of my duties was to teach a product training course. At first I trained from preexisting course material. I observed about one third of the class loved the course, about one third of the class hated it, and about one third of the class struggled to come up with either opinion. Being so wise and creative, I decided to completely invert the emphasis of the course to be more hands on and less theoretical but still covering the same basic concepts. I observed about one third of the class loved it, one third hated it, and the rest struggled to come up with any opinion. Having taught both, I could tell that types of people in each group were different. In my class design the third who loved it were the ones eager to use the software. In the earlier design, the third who loved it were the ones who wanted to understand what made this software different from other software. But from the point of view of persuasion, it didn’t make much difference. I doubt if a compromise between our two extremes would have made any difference either.
I mentioned in an earlier post my feelings that central to the concept of our government is a super-majority to consent to be ruled by a simple majority. That consent is a recognition that there are opposing views. The disagreements may be very strong and yet we consent by granting acknowledgement that there is reason to debate what the right answer should be. Whatever happens, we’ll figure out what to do next.
Also, whatever happens, it is probably going to be somewhat messy. The reason why the super-majority consents to the majority is because the majority has the numbers to work through the mess. It gets really annoying when the majority wins their argument and then that majority falls apart when the details get messy.
My complaint is mostly that we are more interested in winning arguments than we are in following through with our winning arguments. When the winning majority confronts the messy details, it falls apart and a a new majority forms with the mission to win the counter-argument.
If all there is to modern discussions is winning the immediate argument, then it is immensely boring. I have a more corporate viewpoint, I guess, where a won argument is the key that allows a project to proceed. The goal is the project, not the argument. That’s just me.
Since it appears most arguments are focused purely on winning the argument, I look for a broader project that can proceed. I’m not saying I know what that is. I’m only saying that I try to find one.
I love an metaphor I heard at the start of my career. It is the metaphor of a log caught in a torrent of raging flood waters being tossed haphazardly. The log is full of ants scurrying around. Every ant thinks it should be the one in command.
I try to be the ant that recognizes we are on a log caught in flood waters. I try to stay out of the way of the rest.
The log in flood waters that I see is sociological in nature. The sociological theme I’ve been building is around the acknowledgement of intelligence and intentions of good will. In particular, how far are we willing to extend that acknowledgement. The answer to that question will have far more import for the future than who wins a particular argument.
Anyway, even that sociological perspective failed to inspire me last night.
I agree with the sentiment that to be a writer, there can be no such thing as a writer’s block. A writer should write even when there isn’t anything in particular to writer about. A writer has no excuse to have nothing to write about. I’m proving it somewhat right now.
It probably was not a lack of ideas that stopped me from writing last night. In fact I know what it was that stopped me. I was hurt and didn’t know how to describe it. The hurt went away with a good nights sleep. It happens. It won’t be the last time.