He aquí los pensamientos aleatorios de un epistemólogo andante.

I dream of a world where chickens can cross the road without having their motives questioned.

피할수 없는 고통이라면 차라리 즐겨라

As of June, 2013, I have assumed a new identity: I am a cancer survivor. "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose."

"A blog, in the end, is really not so different from an inscription on a bone: I was here, it declares to no one in particular. Don't forget that." - Justin E. H. Smith

재미없으면 보상해드립니다!

"All things are enchained with one another, bound together by love." - Nietzsche (really!)

Leviticus 19:33-34

Donc, si Dieu existait, il n’y aurait pour lui qu’un seul moyen de servir la liberté humaine, ce serait de cesser d’exister. - Mikhail Bakunin

Solvitur ambulando.

"Sometimes I wonder why I even bother to soliloquize. Where was I?" - the villain Heinz Doofenshmirtz, in the cartoon Phineas and Ferb.

"Do unto others 20% better than you would expect them to do unto you, to correct for subjective error." - Linus Pauling

Blogging online since 1965

Who Is Jared?

  • My name is Jared Way. I was born in rural Far Northern California, and became an "adoptive" Minnesotan. I have lived in many other places: Mexico City, Philadelphia, Valdivia (Chile), Los Angeles. And for 11 years, I was an expatriate living in South Korea. In the summer of 2018, I made another huge change, and relocated to Southeast Alaska, which is my uncle's home.
  • For many years I was a database programmer, with a background in Linguistics and Spanish Literature. In Korea, worked as an EFL teacher.
  • In June, 2013, while I was in Ilsan in South Korea, I was diagnosed with cancer, and underwent successful treatment. That changed my life pretty radically.
  • Currently, you could say I'm "between jobs," somewhat caretaking my uncle (to the extent he tolerates that) and getting adapted to life in rural Alaska after so many years as an urban dweller.
  • These bloggings, then, have been my random jottings on the subject of my mostly pleasant life among the Quasi-Confucian Cyber-Industrial Paleolithic Peninsulites of Lower Far Siberia.
  • I started this blog before I even had the idea of going to Korea (first entry: Caveat: And lo...). So this is not meant to be a blog about Korea, by any stretch of the imagination. But life in Korea, and Korean language and culture, inevitably have come to play a central role in this blog's current incarnation.
  • Basically, this blog is a newsletter for the voices in my head. It keeps everyone on the same page: it has become a sort of aide-mémoire.
  • For a more detailed reflection on why I'm blogging, you can look at this old post: What this blog is, and isn't.
  • If you're curious about me, there is a great deal of me here. I believe in what I call "opaque transparency" - you can learn almost everything about me if you want, but it's not immediately easy to find.
  • A distillation of my personal philosophy (at least on good days):
    I have made the realization that happiness is not a mental state. It is not something that is given to you, or that you find, or that you can lose, or that can be taken from you. Happiness is something that you do. And like most things that you do, it is volitional. You can choose to do happiness, or not. You have complete freedom with respect to the matter.
  • "Ethical joy is the correlate of speculative affirmation." - Gilles Deleuze (writing about Spinoza).

My Life Online

  • Like most people, I spend a lot of time online, although I try to limit it somewhat. Here is a somewhat-annotated list of the "places" where I spend time online.
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
  • Knowledge and News
  • "Social Media"
    • I don't really "do" social media. I have a membership at Facebookland but I never log in there. I don't like it.
    • I have a membership at The Youtubes but I mostly use it for work. I also listen to music on youtube, frequently - I prefer it to typical streaming services, for example.
  • Humor and Cat Videos
  • A Diversity of Blogs - I read these a lot.
  • Blogs of people I actually know
  • Geofiction - this has evolved into a significant "hobby" for me. I like to draw imaginary maps, and there is a website that has enabled this vice.
    • I worked as a volunteer administrator for the site OpenGeofiction on and off for a few years. I created (but no longer maintain) the site's main wiki page: OGF Wiki. I am not currently working as administrator but I remain active on the site.
    • The above work has required my becoming an expert in the Openstreetmap system. Openstreetmap is an attempt do for online maps what wikipedia has done for encyclopedias. I have considered becoming an openstreetmap contributor, but I feel that my current location in Korea hinders that, since I don't have a good grasp Korean cartographic naming conventions.
    • Starting in April, 2018, I decided somewhat capriciously to build my own "OGF stack" on my own server. This was not because I intended to abandon the OGF site, but rather because I wanted to better understand the whole architecture and all its parts. I built a wiki on the Mediawiki platform (the same as wikipedia). This wiki has no content. I built a map tileserver and geospatial database, which contains a very low resolution upload of an imaginary planet called Rahet. And I built a wordpress blog, which is a separate, low-frequency blog intended to focus on my geofictional pursuits rather than this more personalized, general purpose blog. All of these things can be found integrated together on my rent-a-server, here: geofictician.net
  • TEFL - my "profession," such as it is.

October 2018

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Long Time Blogging

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« Caveat: 걱정도 팔자 | Main | Caveat: If I ran the hagwon (Item 12) »

2013.03.03

Comments

On being "back in the world":

In October of 2010, I got the idea to visit a friend in Roanoke, Virginia.

I wanted to ride Amtrak. From Washington DC (where I was living) to Roanoke. Why not? I was set on the idea. It was exciting. It turned out, though, to be quite impossible. It'd been years since passenger rail service to Roanoke ended. Passenger service now ends at Lynchburg, Virginia, 60 miles away as the crow flies.

I got the idea to make lemonade out of this batch of lemons Amtrak had dealt me. I would ride to Lynchburg with a backpack, two good walking shoes, and a map or two. I would spend the next few days on a leisurely trek to Roanoke. I was awaiting a job that I was told would start in November, but ultimately never panned out. So I had the time.

I spent the first day doing a walking-tour of Lynchburg, sleeping outside town in a forest. Then, after a day in Lynchburg, and an afternoon in the Lynchburg Public Library, I set out eastbound. All went well, the hiking, navigating, and camping, although there was a cold rain one night. An enjoyable and peaceful five-day-long hike. Lots of Rebel flags in the rural swathe between Lynchburg and Roanoke. On Friday, my fifth day of this journey, I rendezvoused with my friend on the Blue Ridge Parkway. We agreed I'd be walking south along it near Roanoke at 4 PM. I was. I got picked up. -- The Blue-Ridge Parkway is a scenic low-speed-limit highway in Virginia and Tennessee with little traffic, and lots of viewpoints, rest areas, and even walking paths alongside. Delightful. I can still hear the friend honking his horn when he saw me -- It was the kind of thrill one can only get after an exhausting final push [20+ miles that day, before 4 PM] to make the rendezvous.

I realized that I was totally "off the grid" that week -- No computer, no Internet, no email, no phone, no TV, no MP3, not even radio. no direct use of ANY electronic devices for those five days. I used paper maps, of course, which in a few years may itself actually seem quaint. I did carry a turned-off cell-phone, which was not needed in the end. (The friend found me without problem).

I realized in those five days, well I realized again, that Electronic Reality (a world of always-at-our-sides Smart-Phones, instant-messaging, instant Internet access, computer games, TV, and even things as low-tech as the light bulb, all form an artificial "electronic world". The Non-Electonic Reality is...just...different. I suspect the majority of First-Worlders alive today have never really experienced this 'Real' World. Of being forced to rise and turn-in with the sun, of not having easy and instant communication, not having easy and instant information, not having easy electronic-based entertainment. Maybe they've come close on a camping trip or two, perhaps, but those things are done for recreation, not real living. My trip had a distinct goal: Arriving on a Friday afternoon in Roanoke, for a weekend visit with my friend. The trip was a method of transportation, fundamentally.

From my occasional forays into it, I have come to see that the 'real' Non-Electronic World is definitely more authentic, for better and for worse. Is it "better"? In some ways it is certainly less comfortable, more dangerous, etc., but all the same more authentic. The electronic world helps us, pacifies us, but lulls us into a stupor.

Luther is said to have had a religious experience on a long hike similar to the one I've described above. It was a particularly vicious thunderstorm he was stuck in on a foot-journey of some distance. He was studying law at the time, I think. He was convinced he'd die in the storm. He pled for survival to the heavens, and he did survive. The experience amazed him so much that he became a monk. Imagine a 2013 version of the same: Young Mr. Luther is ambling along, checking Facebook every half hour on his Galaxy S3 Smartphone, while listening to pop-songs on his MP3 player. A thunderstorm is coming, but he'd already checked the Internet earlier that day and had seen it coming. As it approaches, in between Facebooking, Young Mr. Luther tracks the storm on live radar on the 4G-ready device he is carrying. When it arrived, Luther takes refuge in a little cave he has located on Google-Maps. No need for divine inspiration. "Sic Transit Gloria".

Your post inspires me to put into words this long-held belief that this 'Electronic World' may not be conducive to an authentic life at all, if leaned on too much. (I do understand the irony/hypocrisy of using an Internet medium to write this little essay). Or maybe I'm wrong and it's my own problem, that I've just failed all of this time to adjust to the Electronic World. That may be it, a bit, but I really do think there is something to this idea of ubiquitous electronics, "The Electronic World", dampening the prospects for the authentic human life.

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