Last Updated on February 18, 2022 by David Vause
Little thought gems from americancanary.org and my italicized replies:
“While we recognize the limitations of any singular blog post’s ability to answer big questions like the ones we’re asking, our intention is to not to tell you everything there is to know about this issue, but rather to open up a space for conversation, reflection, curiosity, and a consideration of all the other questions this one question sets in motion.”
We live in a meme world where truth is reduced to 280 characters or less. Sadly, the blog has become a bulwark against the trivialization of truth. But it is the highest form of expression that popular social media can attain, yet already beyond the intellectual reach of most of the population.
Lindsay Newman: “However, a few years ago, overwhelmed with how quickly I was tossing aside my new year to-do goals, I added a simple one word prospect for how I wanted to “be” in each new year. We are all human-beings in that constant state of flux and flow, acting and reacting to our surroundings and circumstances. I figured if I could name one word for how I could hope to show up in that next circle around the sun, it would give me some foundations upon which to stand.”
I think we toss aside our new year goals so quickly because the practice itself ignores the reality of life. Humans have histories. That history, the sum of all our actions, thoughts, and experiences, forms the core of who we are. The notion of re-invention ignores this inescapable truth.
Bridget Haina: “It is our human ability to remember and reflect on the past and to understand how it influences our present and future that creates the possibility of growth. Honestly reflecting on and questioning our own decisions, habits, and actions each year provides the space for acknowledging both areas of strength in our lives as well as areas that we need to strengthen.”
Remembering the past gives us insight into what we are. This grants us the knowledge of our areas of strength and the areas that need to be strengthened. It is fundamentally different from living in the past, a passive abdication of our obligation to prepare for the future. Lindsay touches on our encounter with the vicissitudes of the present. Bridget gives the nod to the pass as formative in who we are.
Maddie Stewart: We as consumers need to recognize the distance between what happens on social media and what happens in the privacy of people’s actual lives, and be mindful about what we choose to believe and aspire towards.
The fabrications of humans that we see on social media are simply fake. They are the inventions of their creators who invariably have private lives that are not remotely like their public images. Attempting to emulate these fake lives is inherently doomed. What exists on social media is one or two-dimensional. Humans live in a dimensional world that includes time.
Katherine Baxter: “I’m also someone who is energized by beginnings and endings. Even the ending and beginning of each day, both with their own routines and regimens, guided by the reliability that the moon will chase the sun into the horizon and eventually back into the sky, fills me with a sense of reassurance and possibility. And of course, I love a good party. Every year, on the day of the Winter Solstice (Dec 21st), I carve out some time to take a long walk to a cafe to sit down and write my New Year’s resolutions…”
New year’s resolutions fail because they ignore a fundamental aspect of human existence. It is the sum of all that went before it encounters the now. But they get the “now” wrong too. New year’s, like Christmas, is an artifice that came about in 1582, while the latter did not come into existence until two and a half centuries after Christ’s birth. Katherine realizes that the new beginning occurs on each new day. Upon our daily wakening, our past encounters a new present. Likewise, more abstractly, the true beginning of the new year occurs on the solstice as the sun reaches its southernmost extent.
New year’s resolutions are most often built on three fallacies. We cannot reinvent ourselves. This ignores our pasts. Attempting to reinvent oneself following some personality on social media is a double fallacy: the adopted goal is fake. Finally, new beginnings can’t begin on a triple artifice. The cycles occur on the day’s dawn, the new moon, and the solstice, each increasingly more abstract yet always real.
We come to the final critique of populist social media. There is no standard of verifiability. The facts, events, stories, and personalities we encounter there are often, if not mostly, products of someone’s imagination. That someone invariably has an agenda. As such, social media is an awful basis for building one’s life.