Saturday, July 08, 2006

Got Your Fortress Of Solitude?

As is most famously known, the man of steel, Superman, has his fortress of solitude way up in the icy North Pole, where he could literally fly off to get away from it all and get re-acquainted with solitude. Do you remember that huge key housed on top of a mountain that he uses to open his fortress? fortress-solitude
And other comic heroes are also gifted with one, or two. Wealthy Bruce Wayne aka Batman has his dark and eerie bat cave. Even the very visible and hard to hide The BlackHawks have their island getaway where they can scamper to and lose themselves, and those huge airplanes they fly, when they are not battling those nefarious Nazis. And others have less, like only their alter egos to shield themselves from the prying eyes of the world. Thus, we have Spiderman aka Peter Parker, Cap’n America, the Green Lantern, etc. And oh, those underwater heroes, like Aquaman and Submariner, Prince Namor, they have their watery getaways, too.

Now, in the real world of the rich and famous, we admiringly hear about their island paradise, getaways and hideaways, isolated coves, summer and winter homes, etc. No scarcity of choices there. Think your own and make it happen.

But in the everyday world of the average Tom, Dick, and Harry, where many of us proudly belong, we do make do with what we can find and call our own little fortresses of solitude – our little oasis, cozy nook, or secluded cell, where we can shut out the world and get away from it all.

Just finished building mine, just the other day. And I have a stubbed thumb, aching muscles, and burnt skin from the hot summer sun of Tracy, and some uninspiring pictures, to offer as evidence.
But it is all mine and built entirely with my own puny hands, from cast-off, left-over, and remnant lumber some dating back 15 years ago or as recent as the other day from a Home Depot purchase.

Yes, my own little cozy nook in the coolest spot of the entire house and yards, very much noticed and appreciated during these hot summer days and nights. Tucked in a smallish, odd-shaped left-over but secluded part of the front yard. But allows for visual contact of the front street beyond which is the nicely-maintained park where I jog regularly. But I grant taller hedges could correct any problem of ample secrecy.ParkView
Thus, a few steps away from the front door and one, or at least I, is transported within the walls of silence and solitude. Or maybe just a bit of solitude and not enough silence.

But I love it.

Bloghopping: Uplifting or Unraveling?

While my own personal blog suffers from insufficient diligence, care, and effort, I consider myself quite exemplary in another realm. I spend a good part of my time in the Internet reading other people’s blogs, opinion pieces and news writing, at times squinting down to the last ounce of comment allowed from readers.

Thus, when on-line, I click-click away giving rein to my harried mouse to bring me to places, as fast as a thought, at the very least. I diligently ready, set, start from my comparatively shallow blogroll and from there, it’s anybody’s guess where I will end up – until the IE browser or Windows behind it cries ouch or foul and freezes up on me. Then a quick reboot pit stop and back to the race.

And much like the speedway oval, one goes round and round, registering miles and miles of track, one tedious hour after another, but really going nowhere. And then stopping in the same old place where one started. None the worse for wear, but gratefully loaded each time with a busload of information, opinion, news, and other nuts and bolts that could be sorted and arranged into some kind of practical wisdom applicable in the real world where we all have to live in.

So far so good, and things appear to look good on paper.

But is it really so?

Is the now unquantifiable Internet, the exponentially expanding blogosphere in particular, the place where one goes for such a commendable and crucial task? To try to expand one’s horizons by reading and listening to all possible ideas fleetingly wafting out there in the ethereal firmament?

To seek knowledge and wisdom away or aside from the traditional deference to solitude, or the other more mystical and contemplative modes such as the deep altered states of meditation?

I have no ready answer.

But based on personal experiences derived from my regular sorties, I find troubling developments to say the least.

First to drop by the wayside is civil and polite public discourses. Most everywhere one visits, especially the partisan political blogs and their cadres of regular commentators, vile, incendiary, or hateful rhetoric is quite typical and generally accepted or implied as acceptable through silence or inaction. Even when the host blogger shows good circumspection and respectful rhetoric, comments are allowed to run haywire and thus when at times called to task, instead of the blog entry itself the comments are highlighted as objectionable or worthy of reproach. I suppose behind this seeming nonchalance by the host is maybe the self-serving goal of keeping and attracting more readers. Or a vicarious way of saying things one cannot personally articulate?

Then we have those maybe because of the anonymity and yawning distance accorded by the medium, yet who should know better because of their education and background, who somehow have lost the ability to apply logic and ethics in their blazing statements. Like making blatant and uncorroborated generalizations with obvious willful design to deface another person’s (or even a country’s) humanity, his/her intelligence, even his/her physical looks. All with the easy flourish of a keyboard stroke. And yet nary an analytical word about the issues espoused or debated. And the bigger the political figures, the nastier the rhetoric.

And what about those who are somehow intellectually dishonest for gratuitously throwing in trite or proved-false talking points, simply to depict another who espouses a different ideology in a bad light? The comment sections seemed to have been designed by default as repositories (trash bins may be more appropriate) for those so inclined.

And if I may add, I am venturing that ego may be playing a stellar role in this process. A person’s hard-wired urge to ventilate and to show to the world one’s superior intelligence and analytical capabilities? Conventional wisdom teaches us that there may be sufficient personal gratification derived from such an exercise in the case of a good number of people.

Of course, all is not gloom and doom in the blogophere. There are many commendable sites that continue to answer to the higher call of civil public discourse, fair play, and guarded circumspection especially for statements that may permanently injure a person’s reputation and good name. I could name a few, but restraint dictates. . .

And to reiterate from a previous post, as a species who do have both the responsibility and control to decide where we want to go with this newest medium/tool.

To mediocrity or crassness as exemplified by the older much-criticized media/tools we have been using for communicating with one another?

Or aim for one that celebrates the nobler parts of our nature.

Our call.