Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A Year of Development

To most of my relatives and acquaintances, I have been focused for the last three months and much of my spare time over the past year on trying to get my writing business up and running. The others, and readers of my blogs, know different: the writing business is, as it always has been, a potentially sustainable means for sharing my personal perspective, knowledge, and skills; but developing those things has been my true focus. Much of that development is currently embodied in my research into a simple, unified way to understand history so that I and others can intelligently contribute to a better future as defined by select values.

I don't mean to imply that the time wasn't productive from a business perspective. A year ago I was completing my book Death Stoppers Anthology; and this year I conceived and published in parts the beginning of a new novel, BIOME, which is a prequel to my first novel (Lights Out). I also worked on instrumental music, a purely artistic form I enjoy on a visceral level, releasing a soundtrack album for Death Stoppers Anthology and starting one for BIOME. As I did with Lights Out, I've incorporated life lessons and results from my research into its prequel, in some ways running the research in parallel with the fiction as my creative energy spilled into both.

The many months I spent hunting for a job that could meet my family's financial expectations were just as depressing as the news and outcomes of research that reinforced my expectation of a catastrophic future unfolding soon. Always trying to define and understand the problems I seem to have a penchant for sensing, I developed a framework for assessing the financial, practical, and ethical aspects of potential work, which benefited from understanding and improving on one of the most interesting predictions of my main research. As a result, I achieved a level of confidence I have been seeking for most of my life, which sadly has risen inversely with confidence in the judgment of others in business and government who I had respected as a default condition.

I learned how to get rich, and why I probably won't. Getting rich involves enabling the customization of environments (the essence of what my research defines as happiness), with minimal effort by the customer, and with mostly invisible costs at the point of sale. Implicit in that process is hope: the promise of more, for as long as anyone wants it, which is the essence of perpetual growth. Success depends on deceit, because each aspect of its realization is based on a lie, or at best a special case that is treated as a generalization. Customization requires increasing amounts of resources, which has costs that may be hidden but are not inconsequential. Limits to resources are real and we are attempting to exceed them, turning the appearance of perpetual growth into a reality of rapid decline. Knowing what I know, I can't lie – to myself or others – and I can't live with myself and encourage unhealthy and ultimately lethal behavior.

Since my preferred contribution to making the world better is the sharing of insights about how it works, and doesn't, along with ideas about what might be changed based on values and experience, this personal account is presented as both background and overview so that you, the reader, can derive some context for what I've shared and intend to share. It also serves as a reference point in the body of work I'm most proud of – my writing, which is available on my blogs and Web sites.

Finally in this last blog post of 2015, I would like to acknowledge the love and support of my wife Debbie. Over the dozen years we've been together we have helped each other through many challenges and grown closer through those and the good times; finding home always where we were, rather than where our stuff was. Our relationship has been a daily reminder of how much good remains in the world: what – and who – must be cherished, not as an abstraction but as the essence of life worth lasting for as long as possible.