People flow thru our lives, and we also touch the lives of others. Humanity is a swarm of social members, encountering, engaging, learning from, enhancing or impacting each other. As an amateur beekeeper, I was fascinated by swarms, which I often removed from neighbor’s yards. Yes, we are one of nature’s few social species. (No matter how much Team Red rails against “socialism,” all the while getting cozy with Putin, we are who we are: socialists, like it or not.) As one of our earliest stories points out : we are supposed to be our brother’s keeper. Not, as one philosopher claimed : hell is other people.
The impact of the internet is much in the news of late, often being described negatively as a scourge on our species, addictive, dangerous, frightening, especially its social networks. For me, the internet has been an amazing tool, like having Harvard’s Widener library at my fingertips. But I avoid social media, largely due to the crass way it has been monetized. Facebook and the corporatists want to harvest and sell every detail about your life, your digital DNA. Yes, anyone who uses the internet, even those refuseniks like me, is being tracked continually.
But this tool is amazing, if used carefully. I long did volunteer prison work where I would ask inmates how they would manage a tool which could put itself into your hand, start itself up on a whim, and slash anyone nearby. (I was speaking of the human mind, which needs thorough familiarity of the controls, the owner’s manual, and safety instructions.)
The internet is a macro-version of the human mind. It “knows” everything, and can find anything, but requires wisdom and caution to yield genuine benefits, at minimal risk. (It’s important to know what we really want before we start searching, lest we regret our choices after arriving.) Desire is a form of prayer which can be harnessed, if we are patient to distill it to its essence. This takes much introspection.
Well, we often don’t know what we really want, but we can have a sense of an ideal. Then we can set forth with a not-x approach : Nope, don’t want that. This is intrepid, brave. Someone has said that sin is like birds flying overhead. We can’t stop them, but we don’t need to allow them to build a nest in our hair, either!
The point of this blogpost is about serendipity. Yucatan, for me, has become like the land of Serendip. (Coined by Horace Walpole, suggested by The Three Princes of Serendip, the title of a fairy tale in which the heroes ‘were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of’.) I’ve encountered friends here, with the help of the internet (and a dash of curiosity) with an array of interests, which I could not have imagined finding. Many of them flowed from a bloggers conference which took place in Merida in 2011, at a fellow blogger‘s school, where she generously hosted those who blogged.
That was an amazing conference, where I met with some of the real people behind the blogs I was enjoying from Yucatan: Hammockman (Paul); Marc, from An Alaskan in Yucatan, and many others. While Naturalist Jim was not in attendance, I stopped in Piste to meet him. None of this would have happened without the brilliant contributions over many years by those who harnessed 1’s and 0’s in the binary logic of base ten: giving us today, the internet.
Here are a few photos from Jim’s latest adventure, where he has taken up residence to continue to study nature, and write, at Marc’s rancho near Tepakan. Marc was off in Alaska, enjoying the cool, while we had fun with the project of replacing the roof before the rains come. (While Victor is not a blogger, he is a good friend of Marc’s, and helps me at home, as our gardener.) We got the roof done just in time!
Socialists are not necessarily authoritarians, protests Bernie Sanders, who understands something of the hardships of growing up poor in America, and wants to restore the middle class to dignity and success: