Man Dog!

man-dogIf you’re wondering about the Gravitar change, it’s because I’ve temporarily switched my email notification address. I’m switching to a new service provider for my main email and personal website, so there needs to be an alternate for WordPress during the cut-over.

I could have used the gmail account I set up for this blog, but gmail and Goggle+ are too complicated for my taste. Maybe I’m getting old, but I’ve found it extremely challenging to learn my way around Google+ and YouTube.

Anyway, the Gravitar image is from a trip to Disney World — Epcot, to be specific. This would have been back in 1999, I think (wow; fifteen years!). They had a thing that would take your picture and merge it into one of several possible animals. Naturally, I picked the dog (my first dog as a child was a beagle, in fact).

It’s been a while since I posted. I’ve been feeling a severe sense of acedia (a great word for our times) the last few months. This cold snap and the dying of the light doesn’t help. (On the other hand, I really do love autumn, so there’s that.) The collapse of the Minnesota Twins just adds to the insult. And the grocery store only made iced ginger cookies that one time (they sure were good, though).


Bear with me while I try my face on another animal.

I’m just bumming, is what I’m saying. The malaise comes from Weltschmerz (another great word for our times). Weltschmerz — which translates as “world hurt” — is the disconnect one feels between the way things are and the way they ought to be.

Obviously, one’s perception of “ought to be” is subjective, but we do have all of human history (and literature) to borrow from in defining some objective criteria for “ought to be.” We can also use moral philosophy — a tool that goes back to those infamous ancient Greeks.

And as I’ve said here many times before, I see a pretty big gap between almost all objective views of a happy and healthy society and what I see around me today. The thing is, I’ve been trying to foment change for almost 50 years, but the world just gets more and more insane and stupid.


A bit of secret fun with my corporate id badge photo.

I get to the point of seeing no point to even thinking about it, let alone talking (or blogging) about it. Or perhaps it’s that I get tired of singing the same damned song.

All I know is that every time I stop blogging, it’s really hard to get back to it. The artist in me wants to keep on, but the human shell is outta gas.

I mentioned before that I was going to try to make posting more low-key and off-the-cuff (kind of like this one) in the hope I might post more and might clear out a vast backlog of ideas and notes (I really do have a lot of material in the queue, and it would be a shame to never use it).

So we’ll see how it goes.

[Sorry! This turned into a post of weird “selfies” (before such really existed).]

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

22 responses to “Man Dog!

  • Hariod Brawn

    If a thing originally perceived as bad, is subsequently perceived as worsening, is that necessarily a bad thing?

    • Wyrd Smythe

      You mean as in: “My cold is doing great, but I feel like shite!”

      Shows how self-centric we are! My cold is worse for me; the situation is worse to me/us.

      • Hariod Brawn

        No, that isn’t what I meant WS. If it’s acedia you’re experiencing then you would be indifferent, and not attribute your ‘shite’ feelings to externalities – like the state of the world, or a pathogen.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        I apparently don’t understand what you meant by, “If a thing originally perceived as bad, is subsequently perceived as worsening, is that necessarily a bad thing?”

        Generally speaking, if a bad thing gets worse, that’s a bad thing.

      • Hariod Brawn

        ‘But have you ever asked yourselves sufficiently how much the erection of every ideal on earth has cost? How much reality has had to be misunderstood and slandered, how many lies have had to be sanctified, how many consciences disturbed, how much ‘God’ sacrificed every time? If a temple is to be erected a temple must be destroyed: that is the law – let anyone who can show me a case in which it is not fulfilled!’

        – Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morality

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Cagey and opaque as ever, Hariod; not a quality I find engaging. I’ve always held that communication is a two-part process — both sender and receiver are required to participate actively in clarity. I mistrust those who, when asked for illumination, provide only riddles. Somehow, between us, I never know WTF you’re talking about. Maybe I’m just slow and stupid and I don’t get you, but… I don’t get you. I like you… I just don’t get you.

      • Hariod Brawn

        The Nietzsche quote is about how things have to fall apart before they get better WS. This is why I suggested that if a thing originally perceived as bad, is subsequently perceived as worsening, then that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

        What is it that you perceive as bad about the world WS?

        Maybe it’s the abject failure of the current political system or the harmful and unfair nature of neo-liberal economics – you must say. But if it were those things, then they should need to corrupt even further before they entirely self-destruct.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Okay, thank you, now your meaning is clear. The Nietzsche quote didn’t speak to me about “hitting rock bottom before turning things around” — at least not unframed and out of context. (Or I could be dim; that’s always an option.) To me it spoke about how social fabric is based on invented (or discovered) shared ideas — “lies” in some sense, but I might debate that word — and how new paradigms deny old ones.

        Which I basically agree with. And I agree about bottoming out. The problem is… would you rather patch the dam when it just has cracks — even severe ones — or deal with the catastrophe that results from the problem reaching its final stage? And consider the guy sitting on the hillside watching it all. If you care about the village down below, you can’t help but bum out over its seemingly inevitable (and pointless) fate.

        But I’ve said before that I think it will (maybe even has to) happen before things change. There are hints of it already. People starting to talk about — and to take — internet etiquette seriously. There is pushback to the invasiveness of technology. The young have a new ethic of sharing and openness — there is a growing sense of a real “global village.”

        The next generation or two will, I think, be very interesting. We might be at a crux point for humanity.

        As for me, I don’t blame things. I don’t blame politics or economics. I don’t blame the wealthy or those of any group you could name. Except for one group: humanity. I blame us. Politics, economics, law, all the rest, are our inventions. People get the government they deserve. We build temples according our own ‘sanctified lies.’

        One concern I have is how science and technology objectify our worldview — our reality consists of objects we use (and claim to understand). Does that make it easier to objectify other people? To just about every corporation on Earth, “customers” are just data points on graphs.

      • Hariod Brawn

        WS said: ‘I get to the point of seeing no point to even thinking about it, let alone talking (or blogging) about it.’

        I see my opacity and caginess have snapped you out of that then. . . 😉

      • Wyrd Smythe

        No, those are impediments, but engaging in interesting conversation is something I enjoy. And I do tend to natter on in comment sections. I see the blog post as more formal — requiring more thought (and pictures) — but in a comment I can… just talk.

        I kind of miss the pre-web days. Back then, there wasn’t the article-comments dichotomy. It was all, essentially, email based. Someone would start a new topic of conversation, and others would join in. And all text — no images. Content was king, and debates could rage on for months. Comments don’t lend themselves well to that.

  • dianasschwenk

    Funny pictures Smitty. You’re a better man than beagle though… How many days until the winter solstice marking the beginning of longer days anyway? 🙂
    Diana xo

  • Lady from Manila

    But, Wyrd, isn’t life too brief for us to keep brooding over circumstances that seem to be already set in stone? The world is getting more and more insane and stupid, I agree. But not that good a reason for anyone to feel down much of the time. Who knows, the world might get so crazy it’ll recreate itself and, suddenly, iced ginger cookies will become abundant without cease once more. 🙂

    “I really do have a lot of material in the queue, and it would be a shame to never use it.” Oh yes, yes. 🙂

    Okay, so I’m actually glad every time you show yourself up here. And for what it’s worth, I still prefer your all-human selfies.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      People being helpful often say to someone, “You shouldn’t feel that way.” (Or similarly, “You ought to look at this [in a certain more positive way].”) And they’re almost always right; it would be better to follow their advice.

      The question that always stymies me is: How do I do that? How do I change a viewpoint based on my values and experience and beliefs? ❓ I wish I knew… it’d be really handy sometimes! ❗ Sadly, I seem to be stuck with myself. o_O

      • Lady from Manila

        Shucks, that reminds me how I often need to get unstuck with myself, too–especially when things work out in my favor. In my case, indulging myself to the exclusion of others is what I should watch out for. 🙂

        But hey, today is a special day. You ought to have a party. 😉

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Let them eat cake! XD

        There is a tension between parts of the self that seem capable of changing and parts that cannot. One some level, we’re all still the same person we were in high school, but on other levels we’re a long ways from there — more scars, more experience, perhaps more wisdom.

        Opinion seems changeable — at least mine has changed fairly often as I’ve learned new things or considered a situation in more detail. Tastes in food, people, all sorts of things, can evolve and change for many reasons. Compare that to, say, sexual orientation, which seems fixed. I wonder if many core values aren’t almost as fixed.

        My spiritual viewpoint has changed over the years, but I think always in reference to the initial programming I received as a child. I’ve been a full-on atheist, I’ve been pretty full-on Lutheran, and I’ve been several points between. These days I identify as agnostic with spiritual, even deist, leanings (and moments of wondering if theists weren’t right all along). But I was raised genuine Lutheran, and at the core, I suspect I frame my spiritual viewpoint in reference to that (which may account for those moments of wondering).

        There is also such a thing as preponderance of evidence. Some viewpoints result from lots of data over time. We learn things about the world and ourselves — things that seem to be true facts backed by experience. Finding oneself (as they say) is the search for those facts.

        Isn’t that part of some mantra? “Give me the strength to change the things I can change and the wisdom to accept the things I can’t.” That doesn’t mean there can’t be some regret over those closed doors or sadness regarding the possible fate of humanity.

      • Lady from Manila

        It’s refreshing to read what you have to say about your spiritual leanings, Wyrd. That you leave your mind and heart still open to the ways you’d been raised by your parents is the finest way to honor them–which I (in spite of my atheistic inclinations) find worthy of deference.

        So it was the pre-web days that mainly polished up your “tendency to natter on in comments section” — distinguishing you from a typical blogger. I’ve read somewhere how the few really smart ones are likened to encyclopedias–waiting to be opened; invariably culminating as a pleasant treat. 🙂

      • Wyrd Smythe

        I think the nattering goes back to childhood — I could always talk your ear off. (You’re not the first one to call me an encyclopedia!) I’m good at listening, too; I just love a good dialog and whittling away on an idea. The 80s is where I learned I could do that online with people all over the world. Then came the 90s and the web, and a lot of that conversational ethic went away. Now so much is drive-by commenting. And tweets. Brevity is the modern word. Pith is in. (Because tl;dr is an actual thing.)

        Actually, these days, I guess one would go, “Brev is the mod word, yo!” (We even “go” rather than “saying”.)

        Do people even read encyclopedias anymore? I don’t mean paper versus online. I wonder how many people ever spend time just browsing wikipedia (or similar resource)? Some used to study maps for fun; I wonder how many spend time using Google Earth to explore (it’s kind of neat and totally free).

        Blog question of the day: How often do people, when they meet an unfamiliar word, phrase or whatever, take the time to look it up and learn a new thing? (That’s how people become encyclopedias — by doing that a lot.)

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