Beloved Readers, I Need a Favor From You

(About a 1 minute read)

Dearly Beloved Reader,

Have you ever wanted fame, recognition, appreciation for who you are — but at no substantial cost to yourself in terms of years and years spent working for it?

Well, if so, then I have fun and exciting news for you!  While I cannot quite promise you fame, I can certainly guarantee genuine recognition and appreciation are now within your grasp!  Best of all, you can have both for the low, low cost of a mere few short minutes of your time!

How does it work?  Well, as you might have noticed, I have an “About You” page on this blog in addition to the usual “About Me” page that you see on most every blog these days.  That “About You” page is a great space for you to tell me and other readers something about yourself.  And you will be so appreciated for taking a moment to do it, too!

Your post on the “About You” page helps me to visualize who I am writing for.  It allows me to gain insight into what sort of topics might interest you, and into how I should write about them in order to improve your reading pleasure.  You would really be helping me out if you could take a moment to post about yourself!

It’s a simple thing to do, and I’ve tried to make it even easier by posting a list of suggested questions to get your creative juices flowing when describing yourself.  By no means do you need to answer all of them, or even most of them. You can do that if you want, but if you don’t want to answer all of them, just pick the ones you like and answer those.  Or make up entirely new questions of your own to answer!

Some of the questions are pretty straight-forward: “Were you a favorite child?”

Others are intended to be humorously fun: “What is the only real reason you are not King or Queen of the Universe?”

And still others are perhaps more thoughtful and reflective: “What are the two to six most beautiful things you’ve seen in your life?”

Remember, you are free and under absolutely no obligation to use any of the questions.  But please do drop by the “About You” page to introduce yourself.  Not only will you gain easy-to-earn recognition and appreciation from me and perhaps other readers, but you will be profoundly helping me to make this blog a great blog to visit!  And you sure want a great blog to visit, don’t you?

Please do it as soon as you can!

All the best,

Paul

The Folks Who Read Cafe Philos, as I Imagine Them

A dear friend told me yesterday evening that my blog generally focuses more on the positive aspects of things than on the negative aspects of things, and I think her insight is mostly true.  You see, I write mainly — not exclusively, but mainly — for a certain kind of reader.

That reader, as I think of him or her, is somewhat older, somewhat better educated, and somewhat more experienced than the average person alive on the planet today.  More specifically, I think of them as having witnessed a great deal in their time.

Which to me means many of the things they’ve witnessed in life can be quite unfortunately described by hard, negative words along the lines of “ugly”, “callous”, “brutal”, “heinous”, “stupid”, and “tragic”.  Because, so far as I’ve been able to find out, that’s what life all too often is.

It’s often composed of things ranging from casual day-to-day cruelties unnecessarily committed by the world’s supply of jerks all the way up the ladder to senseless female genital mutilations, rapes, maimings, and murders.  Which doesn’t begin to get into the other bad stuff:  The existential threats of such things as nuclear war, global climate change, overpopulation, and such, combined with the fact that nearly every society on earth can be legitimately seen as in some significant ways as a con game in which the elites trick the common people into embracing their own largely unnecessary oppression.  That’s a significant part of the world — not as I saw it when I was a kid — but as I witness it today with adult eyes that have been open for awhile.

But that certainly isn’t the whole story.  There’s much more to life than it’s negative aspects, no matter how egregious those are.

People can often be kind, loving, considerate, intelligent, creative, and a host of other positive things.  There are even people, like some of my best friends, who are so true to themselves, so authentic, that they “walk in beauty”, as the people of one Native American nation describe them.  But even the rest of us have our many moments of bravery, spontaneous generosity, refreshing kindness, creativity, insight, and so forth.

Add to those things the beauty of nature, the inspiration of the arts, the power of the sciences – all just a start on the positive aspects of life.

In my imagination, my typical reader is a comparatively rare sort of person.  While most of us tend to lean either to optimism or pessimism, he or she values realism.  They want the truth; in fact, they demand it. And they refuse to run from the truths of life down the rabbit hole of escapism — even despite escapism being the overwhelmingly most popular religion of our age.

But more than that, I imagine it’s not enough for him or her to merely know the truths of life. He or she affirms life, courageously says “yes” to it. Or at the very least wants to — perhaps even needs to — affirm life.

As I imagine my readers, affirming life is very different from merely focusing on the positives and ignoring the negatives.  I think they would call that a form of escapism.  Instead, affirming life for them involves acknowledging both the positives and the negatives. It involves accepting the truth of things as they are.  And then going a step further.  That step is to say “yes” to their lives despite the negative things they are aware of and might even have personally encountered.

To put things a bit differently, the person furthest from my typical reader as I imagine him or her is perhaps the person who travels life never once feeling grateful just to be alive.

So, that’s how I imagine my typical reader.  Hence, I make a conscious effort when writing to stand planted in realism while yet affirming all that I can about this world.

Naturally, I screw up right and left at that, in large part because it’s practically impossible for a human to not screw up trying to be a affirmative realist.  I’m not even so sure our noble species of poo-flinging super-apes fully evolved the intellectual and emotional capacity to meet the challenge of it.  But screw up or not, presenting the reader an affirming, but fundamentally realistic, view of things is what I try to do.

Because I not only espouse affirmative realism, but also because I’m so inept at espousing it,  I am sometimes baffled that I have any readers at all.  Back before I put this blog into a years long hiatus, and consequently lost most regular readers, Cafe Philos averaged about 400 visitors a day.   That’s not many people in the grand scheme of things, but it’s roughly 350 more folks in the world than I expected, when I first started out, might be interested in reading my views.  I was grateful to have them back then,  just as I am grateful to have the readers I have today.

I’m curious now — very curious — whether anyone who reads this blog would, like me, entertain the thought that they might be an “affirmative realist” in some way or another.  Of course, I abhor labeling myself — just as I imagine most of my readers do.  So allow me to change the question:  Does the notion of affirmative realism resonate with anyone?  Does it have any appeal at all?   Please feel free to offer your thoughts on that question.  I would love to hear them!

Last, although I mainly write for what I think of as a rather select, special group of people, I by no means write for them exclusively.  I make a conscious and conscientious effort to make my prose and ideas accessible to anyone interested in any of the various topics I post on.  And I am just as grateful to them as I am to those who I mainly write for.  Anyone who is not hellbent on being a jerk to others is welcome here.

Thanks for reading this!

 

Please note:  This post was first published on the 8th of this month, then edited for clarity and republished on the 10th.

Readers Will be Appalled to Learn…

I just wrote a nice little blog post on the marketing of religions.  A nice little blog post.  But something went wrong when I hit the publish key and, hence, it didn’t publish.  Instead, I lost the document.

Now, there are at least two ways of taking that sort of thing when it happens.  The first way is to shed quiet tears over your loss, then move on.

The second way is to shamelessly use the occasion to insufferably brag about what a great document it was (now that all the evidence that could disprove such a bold claim is gone).

Which road is the high road? Which road would a dignified blogger take?

To hell with which road is the high road!  And since when have I been a dignified blogger?

“Readers will be appalled to learn that the blog post proving beyond doubt I am the Hemingway of  the blogosphere was tragically eaten by the internet today….”

And the Lucky Recipient is…

Back on July 2nd, Kay Dennison commented on a Café Philos blog post titled, “Chris Hedges on Lies and Truths in a Democracy”.  I liked her comment, and so I entered it into a database of the post comments that I arbitrarily liked best.

The database grew to nearly 100 comments by the end of the month.  Roughly about a third of all the comments left on the blog during the month made it into the database.  After the month ended, I used a random number generator to pick a single comment from the database.  That one comment happened to be Kay’s.  Consequently, she is to receive a cheap, gaudy Café Philos T-shirt — totally free to her — as a token of my lavish thanks for taking the time to comment on this blog.

Here is the comment she left that I entered into the drawing database:

I am in concurrence with the other comments here and rant about the state of our country a lot. I also am as active as I can be, for now, in politics. I’ve already committed myself to work on the coming election. Yeah, I’ll doing data entry, sorting mail or whatever but it’s all essential work and I urge everyone to get involved and best of all, you meet a lot of interesting, committed people! I was just involved — albeit marginally — with the We Are Ohio campaign that successfully did a killer job on getting a referendum to repeal SB 7 — the union-busting bill! I hope it’s a sign to the rest of the country that we can prevail!

Many thanks, Kay!

For the sake of variety, I’m thinking that this month’s giveaway should be a coffee mug.

You Could Get a Free T-Shirt!

Get entered in July’s Free T-Shirt Giveaway!  You still have time!  But you need to act soon.

Here’s how it works… You write a great comment on any blog post.  I pick the comments I like best and enter them in a pool from which one comment will be randomly picked to receive a free T-shirt!

Yes, you heard right: You post a great comment, you (maybe) get a cheap shirt!  WHOOT!

In other words, this offer is absolutely superior to any deal the government is likely to give us on the budget!

But act soon.  The Giveaway closes at a minute to Midnight on July 31st.   Full details can be found here.