Wednesday, January 9, 2013

New Year, Another Post

A guy I know and respect once told me: quit worrying about writing something deep and interesting, just write more. That thought pretty much got this blog rolling. Here's a post in that spirit!

Here's an interesting short video on the life of a professional runner, Ryan Vail. He does his best to make it seem really boring. But I guess in the end what makes folks like Vail admirable is that somehow they have made this really boring thing into something that they can pay attention to and thrive on. It's a kind of ascetic triumph that would impress, say, Nietzsche but also make him ask why the heck for?

What's in store for the blog this year? I am not so sure. I am hoping to get my training ramped back up, as I fell off the wagon for good reasons over the last couple of months. I am reminding myself in these early out of shape days "how it works." Also, LLD's friends at I  HEART to Run have created some shirts with some of my words on them. I think they are pretty cool, and they have treated me well, so you might think about buying a shirt or two and help make me super-famous.

This piece on the failures of Occupy Wall Street doesn't have anything to do with running -- except that it makes a case for boring and ordinary forms of togetherness, over and against politics as carnival. I also like his digs at academia and its crappy theoretical language. Back in the heady days of the movement, I wrote this "Runners Take on OWS." I ended the piece with the idea that the challenge that OWS poses to us as a community is whether we can figure out how to live together in "a dignified, deliberate, and joyful manner." Hmmm. A year later it's pretty clear that OWS was only raising this sort of question for a narrow subset of people, and it was framing it in a way that was neither sustainable nor practical.

A NY Times article by Susan Jacoby on atheism and moral reasoning in light of the Newtown tragedy is worth checking out. This article puts into question the framework that I laid over the tragedy in my own attempt to make sense of it. In my post, I laid out a religious take on the tragedy over and against a secular take. I characterized the religious take as focusing on the concept of evil, which I thought helped to put us into a mindset of reconciliation and healing. I characterized the secular take as problem-oriented, putting us into a mindset of looking for solutions and addressing the tragedy with social policy. Jacoby's thoughts on atheism help me to realize that by dividing the issue in this way, I fell into the trap of thinking that secular takes on tragedies can't reckon with the deep evil of the situation, which at the time seemed to me to take on an almost religious quality. I feel compelled by Jacoby's analysis to rethink the distinction that I made in this prior post, but I'm not sure exactly how I would reformulate it more precisely.

Thanks for making 2012 a great year -- I picked up a ton of readers. It's always exciting to think that folks are interested in the connections I am making here. I wish you all a happy, healthy, and FAST 2013!

--Jeff





4 comments:

  1. Detais, they are great, but what you seem to get is the foundations behind the details.Your mind seems to know here it needs to go.

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  2. I love the shirt! And I enjoyed the Ryan Vail video--he really does capture what it's like to be in it for the long haul with a goal. I hope he achieves his.

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  3. "get your work done" - great quote and very enjoyable video - thanks for sharing.

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