Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

Starting to write this is a beginning for me, full of excitement, nerve-wracking, and a bit spontaneous. I share that because I hope this blog will be about making changes, taking on challenges to my way of thinking. I’ve wanted to make this change for a while — the change from being a person who doesn’t have a blog to…one who does. (A change I know you care deeply about — bear with me), but didn’t because I was worried I didn’t have anything to say.

Though I’m full of thoughts and opinions like anyone else, that alone doesn’t seem to be enough to speak out to the world. However, we live in a time when via twitter, medium, facebook, vine, or whatever, people are finding ways to voice absolutely every little thought they have. The joke used to be that people would post to Facebook about going to the bathroom, but now people post even worse things — bad medical advice, misinformed political opinions, racist rants against political pop culture (looking at you, Piers Morgan). Personally, I’d rather hear about someone’s bathroom habits than have a bunch of people nodding heads at while Morgan accuses Beyonce of “going all political.” However, Free Speech means that we can be treated to all kinds of mind-expanding vitriol.

But amongst all of this, how does one pick out the good and the bad? A little while ago, a friend of mine told me how he had recently been browsing on reddit. I was just clicking through, he said, when I found myself looking at a picture of rainbow colored dog poop. He had a nice chuckle and was about to move on when he saw the first comment. It said, “Guys, we just upvoted literal sh*t to the front page.” He told me how he realized in that moment the amount of junk that he was mindlessly putting himself through every day — it had even gotten to the point where he looked at rainbow colored poop and thought that was…normal.

While it is great that the internet allows people to hear a wide variety of viewpoints on almost any topic, we have become desensitized to the point where we can’t process what we’re reading or how see how it affects how we think. Along with giving the opportunity for people to hear new things, the vast amount of content online creates a perfect environment for people to find others who are likeminded and bury themselves deeply into those communities. I’ve been a part of a number of internet communities, mostly revolving around different nerd culture. Spending hours online each day, I barely scratched the surface of each one, yet rarely encountered anyone that was not white, nerdy, young, english-speaking, and liberal… not exactly pushing myself outside of my comfort zone.

I don’t want to add to the sh*t on the internet, and I don’t want to be another voice reinforcing the same things I have read over and over. There are plenty of eloquent people out there taking care of both of those tasks.

So what the heck am I doing writing a blog?

I haven’t come to the realization that I have groundbreaking opinions, more that I want a place to grow, to have myself challenged. I am writing this blog for myself. I want feedback, and I want to learn to write in a compelling way about things that matter.

A teacher of mine told me he never teaches anything that’s a majority opinion — doing so is a waste of time because so many others are willing to do it. I don’t profess to hold any opinions that no one else, no doubt better informed and more well-written, also holds. But I think what he meant is to not join the crowd of voices that you hear daily. I want to complicate the conversation, for myself, and hopefully someday for others as well.

Sir Isaac Newton once said, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Steve jobs said, “Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you.” I am no giant and no smarter than everyone else, but welcome to the beginning my attempt to contribute my small part to the world.

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