Originally posted on December 31, 2012 at 11:55 PM
Dr. Bill Aimes, my U.W. Communications History prof, told us that if we wanted to be assured of of being remembered by succeeding generations we should take time every day and write down what was going on in the world and what impressions we had of it and what other people were saying about it. He said that diaries are typically tedious sources of historical information, adding that the diaries of Women from the 19th Century were especially bad because accounts of overland journeys for example were typically filled with ruminations on bowels and bladder. (As it happens I’m having some intestinal complaints at the moment but won’t take further space discussing them.)
I’ve never disciplined myself to do a current events journal on a daily bais what I guess we’d call a news blog today but I do take time every January 1st to set down what I’ve accomplished in the past year, what I hope to do in the following year and what events in the news over the past year have seemed particularly significant to me. Of course to more recent event from last year will more likely tend to be remembered than those from last January. I started this practice when I was a Junior in high school, back when nobody owned personal computers and nobody suspected that personal computers would be primarily used as communication devices when they were available. I think the first time I did my annual summary I simply had a few items of interest of which I wanted to keep track and decided to handle it as a short report. The idea seemed good so the following year I wrote something longer and more structured. I kept up the practice through college and most of the years after and I’ve been pretty faithful for the last couple of decades.
I guess if I had to justify the human race to an interstellar council like in Heinlein’s “Have Space Suit Will Travel” I’d just as soon not base my defense on 2012. Between many public and mass murders, a shooting of a high school girl advocating for women’s rights in Afghanistan, a gang rape of a woman in India on a public bus! And the general background bellicosity with which we’re all too familiar, it appears that some portion of us at least are bidding for attention of a very negative sort. Our presidential election was another glum choice between unpalatable alternatives. Again our Congress is holding the country to ransom because they’d rather be premadonnas than do the work they are elected (and paid) to do.
Even at the worst of times, there are rays of light. A couple of decades ago a young girl being shot because of daring to seek education for herself and others might have passed entirely unnoticed. In the wake of the gang rape, women (and some young men) in India are militating against the common abuse of women. There appear to be some signs, however sluggish that the economy may be rallying. We may as a country be trying to come together around the idea that we aren’t providing adequate protection for our children. As to how we should address this of course, we’re as divided as ever but at least we have a common ultimate objective. We have probes on Mars. We have commercial orbital resupply capability for the International Space Station and near-at-hand human transport capability from the same source. We have good directions in which to turn if only we will take them. On my three acres I’m trying to show sustainability potential and a sort of eco-techno ambassadorship.
The year just past was a questionable one but not a lot worse or a lot better than some others in recent memory. If it has a lesson to teach I think it is along the line of remembering. I mean let’s remember what’s going on right now and next time we get a chance to stand up and make a choice let’s remember and act accordingly. Keep track of your State and Federal Representatives and if they appear to be part of the deadlock rather than part of the across-the-aisle reachers, remember that and vote those folks out of House and Senate, State Legislature and City Council. Let’s get some new blood flowing, some new idea perculating. Let’s see what we can do about reintroducing statesmanship instead of inventorying Deadwood. To many people the number thirteen is unlucky but I’m not aware that there need be anything wrong with two thousand thirteen!
Blessings to all for the New Year.