December 25th, 2018


The Empires of the Mind

There's a conservative Goth political blogger in LA I know who quotes Churchill in his sigblock thusly: "The Empires of the future are the empires of the mind."

I was reminded of that this morning on Twitter, when I found myself swapping tweets with - idk, maybe he was a forestry or ag major - who taught me some things I didn't know about trees and how they cooperate with other plants to get the nitrogen they need to keep growing. It segued into a discussion of learning and fields of learning. Where I come into it is that all of my life, I've been interested in learning about things - military history, naval history, baseball, the Warsaw Pact, the Soviet Union, grain marketing & flour milling, taxes...every time I come into one of these fields of knowledge, it's like opening a door and looking out onto the endless prairies of the Upper Midwest. Sure, maybe to you at first glance it's dull and boring, but every one of those little towns scattered across the prairie has its own history, and the vast farming operations are a whole different thing, a complicated interplay of economics and politics and plant biology and the soil itself. And the sky, the endless sky...

Anyway, it's why I'm seldom bored when I'm around people, because once you get them talking about what fascinates them, you can learn things. Or you can teach them things. Best of all, you can trade off - I once swapped the knowledge of The Fuller Memorandum with a Mongolian who brought me up to date on how things are in what used to be called Outer Mongolia. It's something I'm going to miss about doing the Uber thing, meeting all those people and occasionally having one of those doors opened, or being able to illuminate someone's life with a nugget of knowledge. Maybe I'll make up for it when I start working on my dastardly plan to give the Odd Fellows a shot in the arm.

If I haven't said so already, Merry Christmas to you.