We’re All in this Together, for Ourselves.

I read a very interesting article last week in The Economist (paywall) about the way that stakeholder capitalism works in Japan. It was interesting to listen to how it contrasts and compares to the society that we have here in Canada for. In a nutshell, the article describes how large corporations in Japan are more willing to protect employees for life, and do things for the greater good of society at large, acting as a sort of private industry safety net, so to speak, even at the peril of maximizing shareholder profits.

Without painting too rosy or utopian a picture, this is very different from how we envision corporations in the West, where this obsessive drive to maximize shareholder profits resembles a bunch of pigs fighting at a trough to consume as much as possible, without any care or regard for human welfare, the environment, or the plight of the developed nations where our goods come from. Obviously, Japan has its own host of problems, particularly as it relates to its aging workforce, and its very conservative attitudes when it comes to women and immigration. And maybe to a certain extent, the fact that it is a more homogeneous society than say, a Canada, might explain part of this reason why there’s a feeling that they all “pull from the same rope.” Others have pointed to the idea of moral collectivism which comes from the teachings of Confucius.

Regardless of where it comes from, I would really like to further explore in my own free time the notions of collectivism versus individuality more broadly in society, and the ways in which they may have eroded—in philosophy, economics, law, to name a few scopes of human thought—the idea that we are all working towards an “common good,” and instead have become a deeply individualistic society, where we all look out for number one.

I’m not some doe eyed idealist who thinks that it would be easy or quick to try and institute some sort of a collectivist society here in my own home country. Maybe we don’t even want it. There are a lot of people that I despise. Viciously even. Especially in the age of social media, you’re easily exposed to all kinds of views, opinions, and just general nastiness that makes you not want to pull from the same rope as all of your peers. I can’t be the only monster that wishes ill on people who have extremely different politics and views from my own, particularly when they’re so damn sure of themselves. I don’t want to pull from the same rope as those scum.

Right now, it seems as though half of the people that I follow on Twitter want to abolish the police force altogether and replace them with social workers. The other half think that wearing a paper mask the same thickness as a restaurant serviette in order to stop the spread of a very virulent, deadly disease, is a greater infringement on their freedom than anything they’ve seen since the rise of fascism in the 1930s.
 

When you hear all this sort of polemical idiocy, it’s very hard to lose sight of the fact that the vast majority of people, even people who engage in such ridiculous hyperbolic language, are at their core (probably) decent people who want very simple things. To be able to live in peace and prosperity, without fear of where their income is going to come from, and be able to have a relatively safe and happy life. Intellectually I feel I know this. In practice…eh.

A lot of people wax poetic about the polarization of our politics and society. But I wonder if there are examples from other cultures and societies that may point us in a direction to where we might return to a sense of all working together. Perhaps “return” isn’t even the right term; did we ever even have that? I have to believe that it existed in some form in at least the Middle Ages, if not before that among the plebeian masses of ancient Rome. But perhaps it is a pre-Enlightenment notion that has fallen out of vogue. One cannot be a collectivist and think about the greater society and greater humanity, while also supporting chattel slavery, to name but one egregious example. Are we collectivists if we all work together as part of, say a nation-state, to the detriment or harm or exclusion of people halfway across the globe, whose faces or names we will never encounter?

As always, I don’t really have any good answers. But it is something that I think about a lot, particularly in the age of covid-19, when the actions of people a world away suddenly have direct and dire consequences at home. It’s hard not to question how selfish some of your fellow countrymen can be when we continue to bicker and fight and politicize our way out of the largest existential crisis of our lives.

Or maybe that’s just the way that it appears when we look at the Internet all the time. Maybe if we had Twitter back in the 1940s, the “Greatest Generation” would not have looked so unified in its fight against the axis powers as it may seem. Maybe the technology itself is to blame, and an attention economy necessarily allows conspiracy theorists and contrarians to tell us outrageous things that wedge us apart.

I’d like to be optimistic, and hope that once it is epidemiologically safe to do so, we can all get together and perhaps hug this all out. I’d like to. But I don’t really think it will happen.

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Why Don’t You Just Go to Sleep Earlier?

I’ve been thinking about dictating this particular blog entry on my recorder for quite some time. But I’ve been putting it off. Why? Because I have maybe three God damn hours to myself each night. I spend that time reading, playing video games, working on my chess a little bit, and also trying to record my podcast and do postproduction work on it.

In a way, I probably shouldn’t even be writing a blog. Clearly, I don’t have enough time to fit it in, in between all the other activities that I desperately want to do. And yet, the day times are filled up with work, obligations with my twin boys, spending time with the wife, preparing meals, and doing chores. It doesn’t really leave a lot of time for the things that are “important” to me and me alone.

And so what will I do? Well, if the kids don’t wake up in the middle of the night, that means that I at least have the evenings free to myself it and so I binge on TV and books and games late at night, sometimes until 12:30, or 1 o’clock in the morning. This wasn’t a problem when I was 22 years old, and starting grad school. I would stay up till three in the morning, sleep until 11:30, then proceed to make my first coffee of the day. Check my emails, very gingerly make my way to the University, grab my Starbucks, and start my day at a respectable 1PM.

This is no longer a luxury that I have, as one of my boys will invariably wake me up by 6 o’clock–maybe 6:30 if I’m lucky–each and every single day without fail. Staying up until 1 o’clock in the morning is suddenly a serious physical and mental hazard.

I suppose there’s a bit of solace in that I’m not the only person doing this. A friend shared an article on Facebook all about “Revenge Bedtime Procrastination” and how it’s a growing phenomenon, particularly during Covid-19 times. The long and short of it is that people engaging in this behaviour may lack self-regulation or self-control, or otherwise be shoehorned into a schedule that does not fit their chronotype (e.g., they are simply “night owls”).

Of course, it goes through all the traditional saws about how to overcome sleep procrastination. Having a very rigid go to bed and wake up time, avoiding alcohol and caffeine, restricting your screen time, etc. etc. etc. What is always curiously omitted from all of these “helpful” articles is any critical analysis of why it is exactly that you don’t have enough time during the hours of the day to accomplish the things that are meaningful to you. Well, for most of us it’s because we work forty hours from Monday to Friday.

I think David Graeber’s “Bullshit Jobs” does a really good job highlighting why most of those forty hours are probably wasted doing mundane pageantry disguised as work, for the purposes of appeasing a boss who may as well liken themselves to a medieval landed gentry. But even at a more fundamental level, why do we need to work forty hours a week? The origins of it, as best as I can tell, are that forty hours was set as a maximum during the labour movements of the 19th century, to stop factory owners from working their labourers down to the bone, like a highly advanced stock animal. In other words, forty hours was never seen to be the optimal level of a work week; it was seen to be the maximum amount that a Victorian employer, sweethearts that they were, could exploit you, before the sinews and flesh on your body began to break down.

Now, I don’t want to make a mountain out of a mole hill. I work as a lawyer, I do office work, so I’m certainly not going to physically perish from the work that I’m doing although there are certainly days when it feels like it is crushing your mind, spirit, and your soul. But to even question the fact that your priority in life should not be all the work that you do, makes you be seen as some kind of subversive, or just dismissed as being terribly lazy.

Probably both of those are true at this stage in my life. But given that I live in a country where very few of us do actual work to feed us, or produce the things that we consume on a daily basis, like other durable goods, I really do question the broader social utility of all of us bashing things on laptops and sending data across the Internet back and forth. Kind of like what I’m doing right now, only for money.

So why not just go to bed earlier? Because I have important, utterly worthless things to do.

Banks, the CMHC, and the NHL: towards an egalitarian future?

This is an idea that I’ve had rattling around in my head for a long time. Those of you who read my blog during its first iteration back in 2013 may remember an idea I had for an alternate to the Stanley Cup playoffs. This was in the event that an entire NHL season was cancelled, which seemed like a very likely outcome at the time. I proposed that we had in all amateur tournament, with thousands of entrants across North America, each with a chance to vie for a Stanley Cup.

Everyone really likes an everyman story, and yet we don’t seem to cultivate a world that is actually going to produce them. This is a very interesting phenomenon, particularly as it relates to pro sports. Tens upon thousands of athletes train from when they are small children to fully formed adults, for the infinitesimally small possibility that they are one day going to be able to play at a professional level, and make millions upon millions of dollars. It sounds glamorous and it sounds amazing. Maybe it is. What I find incredulous about this fantasy is that we are all aware that because the chances of making it at a high professional level are so incredibly small, the fact of the matter is that thousands upon thousands of young men and women (and if we’re being honest, most pro sport mega-millionaires are men) are taking a physical toll on their bodies and sacrificing time with friends and at school, to chase after a dream that is about as foolhardy as blowing an entire paycheque on lottery tickets. But does it have to be this way?

For example, in an alternate reality, wouldn’t it be just as likely that instead of having, say, 1,000 men playing in the NHL each making at least at league minimum salary of $500,000.00, you instead were to have 10,000 players in a league with 300 teams, where the league minimum was $50,000.00? Perhaps there was a higher ceiling for salary, perhaps there wasn’t. What if in exchange for a very hard salary cap for teams, there was an increased likelihood of being able to earn a decent living from playing a sport? If a professional team’s budget was a mere fraction of what it is today, then ostensibly it would be possible for a lot more teams to exist, and more people to play professionally at whatever the “highest level” of sport was. In turn, with a much larger labour force, it seems to me that you could allot funds in a much more egalitarian way to protect players in the unfortunate event that, say, they suffer a career ending injury that prevents them from being able to continue on with a remunerative career. Right now, for the most part, if you suffer an injury as a young prospect drafted into the NHL, what chance do you have of being able to make money down this path? It’s really just a case of too bad, so sad.

Okay, so what does this have to do with mortgages? Well, forgive the way that my brain rambles on in random, discursive paragraphs. But I keep seeing these ads for mortgages popping up on my Facebook timeline. Apparently I can refinance my home and get mortgage interest rates of 1.25%. Unbelievable! And actually, for me it would be impossible. Why? Because these low low rates are only available to people who get CMHC mortgages. In Canada, that means that the buyer has put so small of a down payment down on the property, the lender won’t seriously consider giving money to these people unless the entire thing is rendered a guaranteed investment by an insurance program propagated by the government. Yes, you read that right: the best interest rates in the country are reserved for those mortgages which — in the eyes of a prudent investor — carry the absolute highest risk of default, and are therefore the worst possible investment. But the government is willing to cushion these risky investments, in order to protect people who want to buy a home, and in order to make sure that people are willing to lend money to them. Who are we kidding? They are protecting lenders. We bail out banks in our society, not bank customers. Everything about a mortgage lender’s operation is about apportioning risk, and making sure that they minimize the risk of their investments, and adjust their rates according to the risk of a default. And so, it stands to reason that they can give their lowest interest rates to something that’s a sure thing.

Alright, circle back: what does this have to do with hockey? Well, I don’t think it has to do with hockey. It has to do with what any of us choose to do for work. Becoming a professional athlete, notwithstanding where your heart wants to take you, is a very stupid endeavour (in Canada, in 2021) because of how risky it is. If we organized our society in a way that the likelihood of facing financial ruin from going “all in” on a dream like professional sports was greatly reduced, then obviously will be a less risky proposition. But there is no CMHC insurance for people that want to be professional athletes, or painters, or comedians, or social workers, or any one of tens of thousands of occupations that, in my own subjective opinion (and everything that I write is my own subjective opinion, but I still feel this anxious pit in the hole of my stomach that says I have to explain that to you very explicitly) provide so much entertainment and joy and positive energy to the world, that people want more of them. A banker and a lender mortgage company do comparatively little of that, if any. And yet we have organized our society in the way that they are the ones shielded from risk.

I’m always forming ideas for essays and articles and books where I can postulate what a more egalitarian view of professional sports would look like in practice. I choose sports, because it’s such a small microcosm of our greater society writ large. Obviously, the same ideas on espousing for pro athletes could be extrapolated more broadly to any job. But I don’t know that there’s any appetite for it. People chasing that one in a million dream of being a multi-millionaire, in my estimation, don’t want to instead chase that one in a thousand dream, let’s say, of doing the exact same work and making a decent living wage. At least I don’t think so. At least not now.

In the meantime, I like to fantasize about what it would be like if we had a 300 or 500 team NHL, where every single Podunk town big enough to build an arena could also have its own top tier professional franchise, and have some way of being put on the map by the success of its local franchise. I think that would be really cool. But in the meantime, here in the “real world,” I know that instead I’ll shop around for different rates on refinancing the mortgage on my house, and realize that I won’t qualify at the same interest rate as someone that puts $25,000.00 down on a $500,000.00 home. Because that longshot investment has been given insurance backing by the government. God forbid that institutional lender has to suffer the same trials and tribulations — the same risk — as a young kid trying to pursue a sports dream.

Miracle Whip? Miracle Unwhip?

I have been very interested as of late in the psychological theories behind Transactional Analysis, a psychological school of thought developed by a fellow Canadian, Eric Berne. Essentially, it breaks down the human psyche into three different parts: the child, impetuous and feeling wronged; the parent, stern and lecturing; and this sort of third, neutral character, which is like a self loving, confident adult.

The child psychically represents the trauma of one’s own childhood in our minds, remembering all of the hurt and “unfairness” of things which fell outside of its understanding as a child. Some of it, to be sure, is not in any way shape or form abusive. If I stop one of my sons running onto the highway by grabbing his arm very strongly, he may remember the pain and fright of the moment, while retaining no memory of the fact that he was almost clipped by a semi. The stern parent is often a reflection of that seminal image of one’s own parent, lecturing and making orders and demands. To some extent or another, every parent does this. The question is to what extent we live with the hurt of our childhood. As we get older, we often emulate that same stern parental voice that we were child, both with their own children and with ourselves.

I often refer to this phenomenon as “whipping” myself. Often times, when I want to get myself into a creative endeavour—this blog, for instance—or I want to do something for my own self betterment, like going back to the gym, or drinking less, or just losing weight, I feel the need to “whip” myself in order to get myself on the track. I know that something is good for me, and if in the moment I don’t feel like doing it, the natural solution is to push myself a little bit harder, just like a stern parent might push you to do something that you don’t feel like doing (I remember those days of my mom shaking me out of bed at 8:00 AM, to get to school relatively on time). But in the long run, this strategy is doomed to fail. And of course, most creative endeavours fail. Most diets fail. Most quests for self betterment fail. And the argument goes that they’re based upon this parental archetype, which is inherently doomed to fail.

I watch a lot of hockey, and read a lot about transactions in the NHL. Think about the short shelf life of a very aggressive, mean coach. I think John Tortorella is the prime example, although in old age she seems to have mellowed out and changed his style. But the old saw goes that a very aggressive coach will come in, “whip” the players by doing bag skates, benching them in shaming exercises, and just generally being very mean and nasty. This works in the short-term, but analysts often say that aggressive coaching like this has a very short “shelf life.” Why? Because although it does create some initial motivation, eventually you’re just going to tune it out. I’m only going to do the very bare minimum to get that angry coach, that angry parent, to get off my ass. When I’m running purely on negative fuel and bile being spewed at me, eventually, I’m just going to tune out that voice. Go ahead. Yell at me. I’m done doing the bag skate.

And so, the theory goes that motivational energy needs to come from a different place if it’s going to be useful with regards to motivating ourselves to do better things. Problem for me is, I don’t know what that positive energy looks like from a motivational standpoint. Hopefully one day I can figure it out. It feels so obvious to me that you need some level of stern authority, or else you’re never going to actually get anything done. If I only quit smoking (to give an example) on the days that I feel like it, and light up every time I feel like doing that instead, you could see how you’re essentially spinning around in circles, giving gas to one tire but not the other three, and nothing ever gets done.

Which leads me to a difficult impasse I’ve not been able to surmount: if not whipping, then what?

What do I feel in my stomach (besides cabbage)?

I have a complicated, love-hate relationship with mindfulness meditation. I’ve been doing it on and off for about three years. I did it religiously for the first three or so months of the pandemic. After that, it became a real chore to do it each and every single day. But I still did it for about another month or two. The irony of forcing yourself–performing mental self flagellation, with the end goal of being self compassionate and aware of how you are feeling–is not lost on me.

One of the purported benefits of mindfulness meditation is the ability to tune in with the somatic experiences of the body. Put more succinctly, sometimes when you’re stressed out by the stories inside your head, your stomach starts to hurt too. But it’s interesting to think of the times where there is a serious physical sensation going on because of stressors or other things going on in your head, and yet you’re somehow blissfully unaware of it.

What that leads me to believe is that in fact there are several streams of consciousness that operate at any single point inside of your head. We simply allow ourselves to believe that our consciousness is formed as one clear, cohesive narrative at any one point in time. More likely than not, it’s a tapestry of different ideas and thoughts bubbling and surfacing from here or there, in no particular order, without rhyme or reason. That’s unsettling for people like me that like to seem as though they’re in complete control of their thoughts, body, and actions. The idea that your body can be providing feedback on something that you don’t even know is stressing you out, because a part of your consciousness is operating at a level that doesn’t allow you to access it.

And so one of the things that I’m trying to work on now is just paying attention to the different somatic experiences as I go through my day; noticing how I feel when I’m angry at someone, when I’m feeling down on myself, or when I’m just having a good time and feeling pretty happy with how things are going. I will say colloquially from time to time that I don’t really feel “much of anything.” But “nothing” isn’t really a feeling, per se. Obviously I’m feeling something, but the difficulty’s in finding out what those feelings are, and being able to sit with them and describe them qualitatively.

I have been assured that this is a long process, and that it takes time to develop the skill to be able sit and pay attention to how one is actually feeling, and be able to notice it. However, as with most things in life, I am decidedly impatient. I don’t know how impatience feels inside of my stomach. Yet.

Clothes Make athe Man [more or less]

As I sit down to dictate this particular blog post, I just finished stitching up one of my favourite, old, weathered sweaters. It is black with grey horizontal stripes. I have no idea where I got it, although based on most of my wardrobe, I would have to guess that my mother bought it for me, and since she bought it for me she probably got it at the Moores near our house where I grew up.

In any event, after years of wearing it, like an old folded, creased piece of paper, or a worn baseball glove, it just happens to fit very comfortably on the contours of my pear-shaped physique. So when a seam burst open on the right sleeve of the sweater, I decided to go ahead and do my best to patch it up myself. I did a bang up job, if I say so myself, although I did use a bright pink thread just so I could see where exactly my thread lines were for future reference, and to see if I didn’t especially good job [I didn’t].

Earlier this week I had to do zoom meeting with clients. I hate video meetings. I hate meetings of any stripe, but that’s a different matter entirely. What was interesting was I wore a golf shirt to this particular meeting, where prior to the work at home order, it would’ve been blasphemy had I worn anything less than a suit.

Why is it that expensive clothes convey importance? I don’t have any good answers, I just have the questions. It seems to me that many of my lawyer friends feel obliged to wear suits, because richer, more important lawyers have done it in the past. It’s a sort of “fake it until you make it” sort of mentality. If the senior partner wears a grey suit with a great tie and black dress shoes, then I must emulate his behaviour until I become like him.

And yet, while this exercise in behaviorism goes on, we all tacitly acknowledge that, whether I wear a beautiful, handcrafted Italian suit, or my favourite pair of grey sweatpants and this old, tattered sweater, I am in effect the same lawyer. The same professional. The same mind. Despite this, if you saw me in my grey sweats and sweater like how I dress around the house on a Saturday afternoon, show up to greet you at my offices, even the most open-minded among you would probably stare mouth agape.

I’m not stating anything new by saying that there is a social and political hierarchy behind how we dress and how we costume ourselves for work. One need only think of uniforms in the military and in the fast food world. But what conformity do we seek to achieve with our “business professionals?” Is the suit a form of intimidation? Or is it something more akin to commodity fetishism, in that the sheer expense of having to get a suited wardrobe demonstrates that you are already rich and powerful, to the point where people covet the costume itself as much is the power which it exemplifies? Anyone who worked in the same office building as me can attest to the fact that I pushed “business casual” to its very limits, the same way that Gustav Mahler pushed tonality to its natural limits.

And if I didn’t care so much what other people thought of me, I just might have pushed it even further.

What you don’t know can (and does) fill a Library

There is a lot of people who say that on the Internet “all of human knowledge is available online.” This is of course true, but that in and of itself is not very useful statement. It’s the same as saying that all of human knowledge is found on planet Earth.

The real problem, as best as I can tell, is that anything that is exceptionally useful information—medical journals, patents, technological research, the latest intricacies on tax law or banking law written in monograph form—these things are housed behind pay walls and in databases and in pay per use journals. As an alumni to two different universities here in Ottawa, I figured I would have the advantage of being able to use their library systems in order to find the information that I was looking for on a new research project. Failing that, I also have access to the CCLA library which is located inside of the Ottawa Courthouse. However, what I’m finding is that it’s increasingly difficult to find even books on subjects of which I have interest.

One particular tome on banking law that I’ve been searching for, is available only as an online electronic monograph, with the latest version having been published in 2015. If I want to actually borrow a paper book, read it at home and take notes on my own desk, I think the latest version that I’ve been able to find even from an academic university library dates from 1989. Obviously for something related to jurisprudence, that is simply unacceptable.

I suppose none of this in and of itself should surprise anyone; if something is of great knowledge and value to people written large, then of course someone is going to hoard it and create some form of scarcity. I just find it odd that we live at a point in time in history where people think that all human knowledge is available and accessible, when in reality the only things that most human beings can access is complete and utter drivel. It is very easy for most people to find information about last night’s NHL scores or what has happened with the Kardashians. It is very difficult to find information about how a securities exchange works, and the regulations and statutes behind it. Oh sure, you could just print out the statute, read every single line of the statue, read every single regulation attached to it, and then try and read the myriad of case law that accompany it. In theory, all of that is, in fact open source. What is not open source is any sort of useful synthesis of this information, such that it is actually useful to most of the human race.

And so at a certain point, most of us would probably break down and pay money for this information. I’m looking at a version of this book that I’m particularly interested in and it cost $70.00. $70.00 for something that is about the size of a John Grisham novel, and probably comprises all of $0.15 worth of paper and pulp.

I think the real lesson from all of this is to think about what information we can access freely, and wonder whether or not it’s been placed there because of piracy, because of someone’s benevolence, or because it’s complete and utter garbage, and therefore has no business hiding behind a pay wall.

Like this blog, for instance.

Dictated But Not Read

I’m always been fascinated with the idea of voice dictation as opposed to typing. And it’s not because I’m an especially slow typer. But it’s about that elusive promise that I can come up with ideas and be creative wherever I go, without being tethered to my keyboard or my laptop. And yet, as I dictate this into my tiny little Dictaphone, I’m sitting on a chair in my basement, right in front of my laptop, where could just as easily typed everything that I’m dictating right now. But this is really more of an exercise in practicality.

I have a copy of Dragon NaturallySpeaking that I bought for my law practice a few years ago. For the most part, I really enjoy using it, because when it’s used properly, I find that it’s a lot more efficient than actually sitting down and typing lengthy letters, or court pleadings. The hardest part is getting used to actually voicing out each and every one of your punctuation marks. The end result being that you end up speaking without a lot of inflection or intonation in your voice, not unlike a robot would. It’d be nice if I could dictate the same way that I speak, in a very free-flowing fashion, and then have an actual human being figure out what should be a sentence what should be a comma, And where each and every one of the ideas should break and separate from the others although I suppose I would pity that poor soul that would have to take my word salad and somehow recombinase it into working prose.

Very well regarded writers throughout history have dictated stuff. Leo Tolstoy, Winston Churchill, even a few modern-day authors, such as Stephen Hawking, who had to dictate for obvious reasons.

Interesting factoid about the term “dictated but not read.” You’ve heard it a bunch of times in movies and old books, and although the plain meaning is obvious, you lose a lot of the cultural context when you hear it. What “dictated but not read” means, is that the letter or missive that you are reading was of such little importance to the person who dictated that, that he couldn’t be bothered to actually proofread whatever it was that the transcriptionist had produced for him. And I say “him,” because historically I would imagine it was always a man, dictating to his female Sec., who was expected to be a gifted typist with a knowledge of diction and grammar. In Dale Carnegie’s “how to Win Friends and influence People,” Carnegie recalls a story of somebody that he wanted to interview [I don’t remember exactly who it was, or what the context was] and he typed up a letter to him but decided to include the postscript “dictated but not read.” The reason was to make it seem as though he was somebody who had a transcriptionist, and therefore make himself important. However, the net result was that he alienated the recipient of this letter, because in making himself feel like a big shot, he actually sent a tacit message that this person was so beneath him that he couldn’t be bothered to take the time to make sure that the letter was actually properly crafted to his standard.

So is that my goal by dictating these blog posts? Am I just trying to throw out a word salad as quickly as I possibly can, with no regard for a potential audience? I suppose that’s one way of looking at it. Really, though, I feel like it has more to do with the fact that sitting in front of a keyboard looking at a blank Microsoft Word document, with that flashing cursor burning into your retina, is just so soul sucking and draining the being able to untethered yourself from your laptop really does feel like you are breathing the air of another planet. And so much of my professional work is spent obsessing over the correct use of words and the correct use of grammar, that I end up writing comparatively little to the amount of time that I spend on it. It seems that for every minute I spend writing, I spend about 25 minutes editing. When you get so filled with self reflexive anxiety that you have to carefully craft and nuance every text message and email that goes out with your name on it, what are you even doing?

And so, in that spirit I’m going to try and very gingerly edit this blog as I reboot it, some seven years or eight years after my last blog post. Does that mean it’s going to be entirely “dictated but not read?” Well, no. I guess in that sense, the title of this blog post is a bit of a lie. But I’m going to try and make a conscientious effort to only do the utmost minimal editing, where it completely and utterly obliterates the sense of what it is that I’m dictating. So, for example if I was dictating a post on music, and I said that I listened to the film “Hitler on the roof,” I would probably go back and change it to the correct word. Except right now, as I was trying to make a point.

I also have a podcast, which of course raises the question, “why can’t you just narrate into your microphone, and release it as a podcast?” I suppose I could do that as well. But sometimes, I prefer to see the written word, I think there is some ideas that are better conveyed in writing than as an audio recording. I feel this incessant need to put out ideas and my opinion as often as I possibly can. I suppose it must be in accordance with whatever subconscious values guide my everyday decision-making. But I haven’t quite figured out what that is yet.

Well, that took 11 minutes to dictate. I wonder what the end word count is owing to be. In any event, if this workflow works properly, they may try putting more blog posts like this out in the future.