Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Freedom is even more complicated

I touched on the subject of freedom in a previous post. But what about those critical decisions that affect our lives for the coming years? We try to do our best but can never KNOW for sure wether the alternative path, the one we didn't take, would have been better. There is no "what if" scenario to run on a simulator and parallel realities exist only in movies.

We can try weighing each option and input the probabilities into formulas, apply the scientific method. Will our choice be better? Yes, if we have to make the same choice many times. Then, the averages of the scientific method will work out. But in real life, every decision might be different, unique. How many times we need to decide what to study (for a future career), whom to marry, which work offer to accept, which house to buy? Even if we change many partners, workplaces and houses, it is still not enough for meaningful averages.

Are we doomed to the uncertainty of not having the EXACT knowledge? Yes, and we should accept uncertainties to attain peace of mind. We can minimze them, though. Planning ahead is one possibility. Should we plan everything ahead? Probably not, beacuse it makes us blind to opportunities. Should we plan at all? Yes, we need a general direction, even if we don't follow it religiously. Changing directions is mostly possible, but usually comes with a price tag attached.

Some believe in fate or providence. If life took us there, we are meant to be there. There is an underlying purpose, which we cannot understand. This theory is not my cup of tea, but I realize it helps some people live in peace with what's happenning in their lives. Can we affect fate? To some extent, we do. We continuously transmit messages to our environment about our preferences and abilities, which in turn affect the way it relates to us, the opportunities it offers. It's up to us to take or reject them.

In the early stage of our lives, before we have formed a general direction, we should take the opportunities that seem to reflect our preferences or abilities. In later stages, we should take the opportunities that are in sync with our general direction or those that are not, but we'd regret if we'd reject, and are ready to pay the direction change fee.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Blogging: Interim Summary

I started blogging to tell the story of my recent trip to Romania, but apparently I fell in love with blogging (I never knew I can write this genre) and the pictures from the trip are still waiting for the continuation posts.

So how does it feel blogging? Like singing on the stage of a huge but mostly empty concert hall. Despite of what you may think, it doesn't feel frustrating at all.

In the early enthusiastic stage, I much enjoyed planning new posts (still do). The subject comes to me naturally and I plan the posts in my head. After I sort out about 75% of what I want to say in my head, I start writing and let the rest fall into pieces during the process. I also enjoy matching the picture to the text. I write, change, delete, rewrite until I am happy with the output.

As a side effect, I came up with two ideas for articles for our internal company newsletter, which recently changed its format and now includes a feature article. Just provide the right stage, and the performers will arrive. And the Internet is the largest stage of all! For some reason I hear "Sittin' on top of the world" playing in my head.

Since I'm writing, I also understand and appreciate writers more than I did before. Putting text to paper (or PC) is much more difficult than I've imagined. I've also discovered Sharon's writing spot and fell in love with her witty "I’ve graduated from widowhood 101, 2, 3, and 4. [...] I change my own light-bulbs, kill my own cockroaches and do my own garbage". Sharon just joined my Barbershop choir a short while ago. Contrary to Sharon, when I see a cockroach, I shout until one of the men of the house comes running armed with a spray or shoe to rescue me. Venus, our cute housecat and family love magnet runs there as well to snatch the juicy protein treat. One cat's meat is another catowner's nightmare.

Many friends have called and emailed me to say how much they enjoy reading my blog and encouraged me to continue. Thanks and hope to live up to your expectations. To make it easier, I bought myself a new laptop as a birthday gift and this post is its debut. For now, it sits next to my husband's work laptop. For him, laptop symbolizes slavery (work any time anywhere), while for me it's pleasure. One man's meat is another man's poison.

What Is This Blog Not About

A few days ago, I fiddled with my blog settings and, among others, I added the subtitle 'Erika's Point of View about Anything and Everything'. Well, almost. I hate 'cool' marketing blogs, written by companies (I actually know someone who makes a living out of this) and blogs that are meant to showcase an individual for marketing purposes (same idea). I am not marketing anything, just expressing my own thoughts.

Being an Israeli, I am almost expected to take [political] sides and do Israel advocacy or bashing. Won't do either. I leave politics to politicians (that's what I pay them for). Israel advocacy is done by many, more experienced and talented, individuals and organizations. Israel bashing I won't do not because everything here is perfect, but because one doesn't wash her dirty laundry in public. I love Israel because of my zionist upbringing and I am thankful for giving me the opportunity for a better life (by paying ransome among other things). My thanks are materialized by being an honest tax paying citizen and raising my children in the same spirit. But as I said, loving Israel does not mean I'm blind to its flaws.
With all the difficulties I went through when moving here and starting anew (not even knowing the alphabet and feeling illiterate, to give just one small example), I would not renounce -for anything in the world- the experience of being part of such an amazing people, for good and bad. I cannot possibly imagine myself being born in a small Scottish village (for eaxample), living there my entire life and dying. Then, some 6000 years later, some archeologist finding my bones and determining I was related to a person currently living in the same village.