Only A Matter of Time

“Wisdom is the power to put our time and our knowledge to the proper use.” - Thomas J. Watson
Time just isn't what it used to be. It goes without typing that I have been neglecting this little corner of the interwebs for some time now. Silence has replaced the ramblings, and little has been offered in terms of engagement with other bloggers. So it has been, and so it goes..

 Yet I can hardly offer anything resembling an apology for such neglect. Over the last 12 months my personal life has never been richer or more intense. I have learned much and laughed more – which, most situations being considered, is justification enough for any such absence. I now know just how easy it can be to ignore ‘cyberspace’ in favor of the exquisite moments, challenges and pains afforded in meat-space. The Real intervenes in so many interesting and significant ways.

I won't bore readers with too much detail of what amounts to fairly conventional existence, but I will confess that in 2012 I radically altered my lifestyle and decreased the amount of paid employment I was involved with in order to reset and refocus on family, my own health and personal development. I began to work less, play more, and improved all of my significant relationships by changing how I expended my energies, and by completely reorganizing my diet and daily activities. This past year was indeed a major turning point in my life.

Among the many changes was, as many of you may know, a return to combat sports. In my early thirties I had moved away from high level training and competition as my vocation/career and family life evolved (see here for more detail). But in the past year I returned to full-time training in martial-arts and have competed and won a muay thai (มวยไทย) kickboxing championship and fought and won in front of large crowds at local mixed martial-arts (MMA) events. At 37 years old I never could have imagined I would fight at such a high level again, let alone winning championships and garnering the attention of the sports community.

The decision to return to combat sports was without a doubt the major catalyst for so many other changes in my life: entailing a dramatic shift in my sleeping patterns, diet and the amount of exercise I engaged in – all of which has positively impacted my ability to be a husband, father, friend and citizen. The only major downside of this reprioritization has been a severe decrease in attention to more intellectual pursuits, including reading and writing blogs. Pretty much all I have been able to keep up with is twitter (which I do enjoy), and these interactions more often only lead to rather superficial exchanges on ideas and arguments. This low grade engagement with academics and theoreticians has been the most disappointing side-effect of my new lifestyle.

During this quasi-hiatus from all things philosophical/theoretic I have continued to read widely, and have been working in isolation to refine many of my thoughts on a variety of issues. Some of this new ‘work’ has led me in unexpected directions, much of which I hope to share on this site in the near future.

I also began reading more fiction (classics and notable contemporary novels, as well as a considerable amount of graphic novels and science fiction) as a way to ‘come down’ after particularly intense training sessions – which is something I almost never allowed myself the opportunity for prior to this past year. I had always preferred my fiction via film and 'serious' comics, but I am coming around to the reality that novels and invented worlds have as much to teach me as speculative theory or dry academic factoids.

All these confessions and banalities are simply to say that without further pomp or circumstance I intend to shift gears and return to regular blogging. At this point my intention is to just start posting again. I figure I don’t need to be overly meditative or precise with my blogging, but rather I just need to start writing and sharing stuff. So I’m not sure just how much substance the next few posts will have, or if they will only amount to short commentaries, or sharing resources, or become promissory notes to the many friends and acquaintances who I already owe responses. But my hope is if I can begin to develop the habit of posting regularly it will only be a matter of time before I post something worth talking about.


Anonymous said...

no need to apologize for having an engaging life but yours is always a welcome voice here in the e-void.

Anonymous said...

I've just recently found your blog, and I'm more than interested in new material. I don't think I'm alone, there.

Mark Crosby said...

Hey Michael, I was thinking that "triumph" is no longer epitomized by a guy blasting down a highway on a motorcycle, but by a woman finishing a work-out at the gym.

If you're finding time to read fiction, you might like Iain M Banks' MATTER (2008). Combat Sport on a gallactic gameboard: "What are in effect a Shellworld's operating instructions say you can let off thermonuclear weapons inside them without voiding the warranty as long as you steer clear of Secondary Structure" (462). And, despite the aliens, it's human-oh-so-human, in the end.. Best, Mark

Michael- said...

Thanks Dirk: for everything!

Thanks anon. What is your background? Your interests?

Mark, so good to 'hear' from you again. Thanks for the leads on good fiction. I will check Banks out. What have you been up to?

Mark Crosby said...

Michael, so what's the next challenge? (My daughter was just accepted at GMU ; )

I've been working myself to death: 50-hour weeks on about 6 simultaneous IT projects. On my comutes, lately, I've been enjoying Michael Marder's writings on "Vegetal Anti-Metaphysics: Learning from Plants", "Plant Intentionality and the Phenomenological Framework of Plant Intelligence", "Resist Like a Plant! On the Vegetal Life of Political Movements" (all of which, and more, are available online at Marder's http://www.ikerbasque.net page).

Fernando Zalamea's just-released SYNTHETIC PHILOSOPHY OF CONTEMPORARY MATHEMATICS (from URBANOMIC / SEQUENCE) just arrived. Amazing: There is not a single equation in this book!

I recall some discussions of science fiction last year at http://naughtthought.wordpress.com/?s=science+fiction. IIRC, the decision was to read HP Lovecraft!!!

Regarding the Iain M Banks novel, MATTER, here's an old email I found that elaborates on why I found it interesting, philosophically:

Tuesday, February 17, 2009 1:26 AM
From: "Mark Crosby"

FWIW (no reply expected), there's a novel you might find interesting, if you haven't read it, which might link between your January mention of science fiction, Dante's INFERNO, and the book you're teaching this semester (01-31 post), Richard Rhodes' THE MAKING OF THE ATOMIC BOMB. Iain M Banks's MATTER (his latest SF novel (2008), to be followed this fall by TRANSITION ; ) shows a cloaked figure walking across the desert toward a burning city and describes an ascent and descent through a Dantean artificial planet, SURSAMEN, where some levels are inhabited by humans and others by non-humans; but, at the center is a withdrawn godlike being, eons old, a Xinthian ("Now rare and generally Developmentally / Inherently / Pervasively Senile", the glossary notes ; ) But why it might also be interesting for your current text is the emergence of an Iln Shellworld-destroying machine - on a suicidal mission to the world's core..

You might also like the Machiavellian intrigues and low-tech battles among the human levels. But what I liked most was that each chapter offered a rich crop of pure-philosophy aphorisms (in the trichotomic thrust on which I thrive ; ) In short, there's much encrypted here in terms of object-oriented philosophy. My favorite margin note, recently unearthed from this subconscious trove, is from a 08-03-06 Rudy Rucker post: "Matter isn't dumb... I think we tend to very seriously undervalue quotidian reality". He's talking, of course, about prospects for nanotechonology, the ultimate in applied object-oriented systems..

Anonymous said...

my pleasure, drop me a line sometime when you get a chance I'm talking with some academics about how to manufacture a masters degree in applied anthro and could use yer input.

Eric said...

I also only recently found your blog and am enjoying reading old posts, glad to see there will be future posts:)

In recent months I've also spent time in meat world, focusing on my severely neglected body rather than my overly pampered brain, its been a good thing. Still, my social surrounding are lacking, and I find that despite my seriously luddite tendencies, I need some of what the intertubes offer in the way of interaction with ideas and people who explore them. Its been really enjoyable to step my toes into the world of OOO (and its critics), philosophical blogs, the continental thinkers and those that love/hate them, anthropological blogs, and see what has happened since my own fondly remembered days in school and the ridiculous fun it was to play with big words/ideas/thoughts and pretend they mattered lol:)

I've been working my way through these videos from the Moving Naturalism Forward workshop. http://preposterousuniverse.com/naturalism2012/video.html

I enjoyed the first bits, but hated the hours on morality and meaning, pretty pathetic in my view. I'm going to stick with it in order to hear what they have to say about free will and consciousness.

I'm hoping to see some reviews of the workshop on some of the new blogs I'm enjoying, including yours; watch them or listen if you get a chance. Some big hitters there but plenty of room for 'outsider' critiques, particularly from those who still find Marx has relevance. At one point, during which they were pining away for a secular society to live in and for some sort of socially relevant replacement for religion (philosophy clubs in New York City for elite white people I think is what they mean here), I started yelling at my monitor. Hello, do these folks really have no clue that an extremely popular secular alternative has existed for quite some time and actually changed the world (although not in ways many of us would have hoped), meaning marxism?!? If you watch it, you'll know what I mean.

Anyway, I look forward to your posts. Congrats on the sporty achievements:)

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Anonymous said...

theorizing vulnerability:

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