Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Your Favorite Blog is Pollution

Anyone can be a blogger, these days.

And just like the realization that maybe Marilyn Monroe, Madonna, Jack Nicholson and Steve Jobs aren't the best role models, comes the realization, too, that our favorite bloggers are broken people.

I was speaking with my father about great scientists and artists, and whether their abrasive, abusive personal lives were offset by their great contributions to humanity.  He seemed to think they were.

I said "Isn't a planet of 7 billion big enough to not need to idolize these deeply flawed individuals?"

He replied "Fair enough."

I think about the thousands who idolized Alex McCandless and his journey Into The Wild, spurred to his death by the writings of Tolstoy and Thoreau and Jack London.

Can we afford this trail-and-error, survival by any means, evolutionary way of living any more?

Today's 'globalized' economy isn't the same as it once was. And while we can admire the writings of these great minds much as we admire vintage cars and antique furniture, we cannot afford today's writers  being the social equivalent of running leaded gasoline and chopping old-growth forest.

It may run great or look good, but at what cost?

We are finally learning that popularity and power have very little to do with sustainability when it comes to our energy sources.  What about our ideas?

This is highlighted best, to me, by our superstar bloggers.

We are enamored that they are like us, better or bigger versions of us, sometimes also with our flaws equally amplified through artfully written personae.  Yet I am afraid we are addicted to them just like we are to 'reality' television.

Are the real people, the ones behind the blogs, the kind of people who can build a stronger society?

My feeling is they are shockingly poorly rounded.  And yet they work hard and achieve all sorts of success.

So how do you choose to measure a person?  By what they say, by the greatest of their accomplishment?  Or by the smaller things?

I cannot help but think of Pete Seeger.  Here is a man who seems to live by his word.  He strummed his banjo on national television the same way he strums it around a campfire.  And a while back, I saw him go out of his way, at 94 years old, to bend over and pick up a small piece of litter.

I said, "Let me get that, Pete!" But he waved me off.

It was just a part of what Pete does, who he is.

I strive to be as true to myself as possible. I aim to deliver what people expect out of me.  At the same time, I have huge expectations of myself to justify my own existence and all the resources I have used up and opportunities I have squandered.  We all have an obligation to cherish this great gift we have been given.

I enjoy the work of trying to be a better person.

Making a positive impact on my world is one of the noblest burdens I could have the pleasure of bearing.

Sometimes, you just have to pick up other people's trash.

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