SubscribeStar Saturday: More Graduation Day Wisdom

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Way back in May 2020, I wrote a SubscribeStar Saturday piece with some advice for graduates, most of it financial in nature—stay out of debt, start an IRA, save for retirement, etc.

A lot has changed since 2020.  I wrote that post during the early days of The Age of The Virus, back when we were all a bit frightened by what was going on, but already waking up to the tyrannical nature of the government’s response to The Virus.  It was also before rampant inflation and market instability in a structural sense really hit.  Sure, you had the shutdown collapse that March, but with government largesse forthcoming, the markets recovered those losses quickly.

I would still recommend saving and investing, but I would temper my advice in a less materialist direction.  So, here is my some more dubious graduation day wisdom.

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TBT: The Desperate Search for Meaning IV: Vanity

In the spirit of yesterday’s post, which also dealt with a passage from Ecclesiastes, I thought I’d dust off an old post from my The Desperate Search for Meaning Series, which I completed back in 2019.  A double-shot of Ecclesiastes, and the long-winded (but condensed here) wisdom of Pastor Monday is always a nice treat.

With that very brief introduction, here is October 2019’s “The Desperate Search for Meaning IV: Vanity“:

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SubscribeStar Saturday: Small Ponds

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Blogging is a notoriously inwardly focused medium, one in which the blogger injects not only his or her beliefs into the commentary delivered, but even his or her personality—lives, thoughts, seemingly unconnected details, etc.  At its best, blogging offers a glimpse into how people think, and the inextricable intertwining of the personal, subjective interlocutor with the supposedly objective facts under consideration.  At its worst, it devolves into self-indulgent “me-search,” in which the writers’ subjective experience becomes the primary—even the only—means through which the writer can understand the topic.

The latter situation is what I strenuously wish to avoid, though my blog is, at times, excessively self-indulgent and solipsistic.  I don’t think I’ve quite gone as low as a mommy blogger or a gloomy, self-absorbed teen, but I’ll admit I occasionally dash of some hasty “me-search” to meet my self-imposed daily quota.  Perhaps these pieces are worth your time—I hope they are—but I apologize if they aren’t.

That said, I do believe there is value in learning from one’s personal experiences (as I write that, I realize how painfully obvious that observation—I can’t even call it an “insight”—is).  Much of human wisdom—of history—consists of the hard lessons learned from individuals’ personal experiences with the world.  While I am by no means a great man or a world-historic figure—one critic of the blog once labeled me a “mediocrity”—I have, at least, thrown myself into multiple arenas in my short life, each one teaching me something different about our world and the human condition.  From politics to music to writing to teachingand on and on—I’ve learned my fair share of insights.

All of that waxing philosophical is to get to this point:  I have learned that the small pond—the small school, the small town, the small institution, the small business, etc.—is, while oft overlooked or derided, a very nice place to be.  The small pond is where opportunity exists.  If I am indeed a mediocrity, I’ve made a good life for myself being, perhaps, the First Among Mediocrities, the one willing to toss his hat into the ring.  That has made all the difference.

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SubscribeStar Saturday: Moral Outrage about Moral Outrage

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Teaching is a profession that attracts complainers.  Teaching requires some risk-tasking, but it’s fundamentally a job for folks that want great degrees of stability.  When that stability is disrupted, teachers, being creatures of habit and order, get ornery.

That might explain, in part, the high turnover in the teaching profession.  We live in an increasingly disordered world, even in the classroom.  Part of that disorder is the assumption that children are somehow wiser and more morally pure than their elders.

That’s a notion that goes back at least to the counterculture movement of the 1960s (not to blame, pedantically and predictably, all of our problems on that misguided, suicidal decade):  the youth a moral vanguard, crusading against the long-established order and its absurdities.  The outraged shrieking of a youngling carries with it, the culture suggests, greater weight than the elderly master with decades of experience and accumulated wisdom.

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