1. Because of where I am in life and what I want to do, I can’t help but feel that the fundamental fact of American life is that the university is a predatory lender. I live in a republic that was established by men like Jefferson and Franklin for the advance and free exchange of ideas. That republic now has plenty of people who like to sue each other over nothing (sometimes, “nothing” is called “intellectual property”), put entire generations into debt teaching nothing, and respect nothing but status and money. I can’t even say “power” because power implies consideration of means and ends. When we consider the “power” media companies exert – some trying to rope children into being consumers of their brand for life – it’s not really power being exercised, but a fear of losing out on money.
2. My name’s Ashok. I’m a writer. I choose to publish on a blog because I think it important my thoughts and work are out there sooner rather than later. I choose to be accessible while I’m searching for something interesting.
I choose to give away what I might know for free.
3. I don’t know whether this is radical act or not. It probably isn’t. Lots of us are writing and trying to give away what we know, hoping a seed will be planted that creates some change for a greater good. I suspect one of the deeper failures of American life – that we spend all this money on education, yet few of us even respect learning or bettering oneself – has brought many out who just want to see if can have a more thoughtful world.
What’s hit me like a truck recently is the realization that this fight isn’t about the “world.” All of us who are teaching or creating are really fighting for one or two minds only. We’re competing with each other for their attention, even as some of us are fully aware that we can only convey so much. I count my blessings that in my short life, I’ve got about 10-20 people who care for what I have to offer, and have taken it and made it flower into things I could never have dreamed of.
4. I don’t like talking about authenticity much. It becomes too involved with political views I find shallow. But when all is said and done, what stands strongest about the blog is its directness, frankness, immediacy. It’s important when we try to use our musings on history and philosophy to push an ideology (I am not innocent of this, I admit). It’s important when we can’t just say something is beautiful after we’ve seen it. It’s important when coaches read from prepared statements when their players die.