The Next Step

January 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

Sometimes I feel stuck in the future, something that has been both a boon and a burden over the years. While I come up with interesting things to do, I often worry over future crises that will never take place and spend time ruminating on dozens of “projects” I’d love to do or things I’d love to accomplish, but quickly move on to other projects before I get the chance to follow through on the first ones.

Nevertheless, after spending a year clerking for the court of appeals, I’m starting to think about what the next step will be for me. I could stay in town and find work as a lawyer, which is probably what everyone expects of me at this point. Hey, it’s probably what I’ve expected for myself for the last year or so.

But an inspiring conversation with a good friend—coincidentally on the first day of the new year—has made me want to dig deeper for answers to the question of what I want to do next. Consequently, I’ve made it my goal to shut out as many of the drains on my free time as possible during this month and spend that time instead researching and contemplating “the next step.”  During this great brainstorming session, I allowed myself to put anything I want on the table, whether it relates to what I want to do, where I want to live, where I want to work, who I want to surround myself with, etc.  The results, while general, were interesting, and point me in a direction that, once I put it down on “paper,” doesn’t surprise me all that much.  First, here are a (very) few of my observations during this period of self-study:

  • I’ve always been interested in language. I speak French and some Spanish. I’ve made some forays into learning Arabic, though I haven’t had any formal education.
  • I love to travel and meet new people and interact with different cultures.
  • I enjoy the legal work I do and would like to continue working in a legal or policy-related field.
  • I love Tucson, but I feel it has outlived its ability to help me advance my career and personal goals.  I’d like to move on to a more world-class city.
  • I want to avoid spending more money on education, if possible, but I don’t want to let an aversion to spending money prevent me from seeking more education if it’s necessary to what I want to do. If I decide that pursuing a master’s is really going to be necessary, though, I will seek out scholarships and grants more aggressively than I did as an undergraduate or law student.

So, I’ve tentatively concluded I’d like to transition into a career in foreign policy, international relations, or international law.  Of course, this is such a general conclusion as to be almost no conclusion at all. I don’t really know what the next step is in pursuing such a career since my education has limited usefulness in terms of concrete application to foreign-policy issues. Still, undaunted, I think I’ll dedicate the next few posts to the steps I’ll take toward figuring out: first, this is even a viable transition (or if I should just content myself with becoming a public defender or something), and second, assuming it is viable, how to make it happen.

I’d love to hear your feedback, particularly (though not only) if you work in any of the fields I’ve mentioned above or have pointers for how to make this transition.

Cyber Utopia

January 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

As I’ve discussed in the past, I’m wary of the Internet and social media. Their power to improve our lives is obvious and widely discussed, but the potential harm is relatively unexamined, if not consciously ignored.

I’ve long been a fan of RSA Animate, and one of its animated mini-lectures about the Internet’s role in society really hit home with me. In the wake of the Arab Spring, again the integral role of social media has been loudly heralded. But this ten-minute video discusses some of the less-obvious consequences of the role of the Internet and social media in the global drive for democracy.

What do you think? Does the Internet really increase meaningful communication among people? Or does it just create a new entertainment trap that actually increases apathy?

On Themes

December 1, 2011 § 1 Comment

Ah, so refreshing . . . I have the Internet at home again! I may actually start to post here more than just once in a blue moon. But for some reason, that’s a tough commitment for me to make, in part, I think, because my blog lacks any unifying theme. I started it with that intention, of course, envisioning it as a place for me to share whatever musings I happen to have on an inspired day. And, while that’s fun and gratifying for me, I don’t know that it’s really that gratifying for anybody else. I mean, I could do that in a private journal, right? My challenge in blogging—everyone’s challenge, I guess—is to consistently create content that people want to read. And that’s probably most easily done around some sort of theme.

I guess I need to evaluate my life experiences and see what I can offer on that plane. I could, of course, go on in detail about legal developments, but, ironically, since I work for the courts, I’m not allowed to. 

Fellow bloggers: what inspired you to choose the subject of your blog(s)?

On Religion

June 23, 2011 § 2 Comments

“Religion is poison.”

I’ve run into a few people that believe this way, and each time I’ve thought, Maybe you’re not exploring the right religions. I’m a nonbeliever, and I agree that there are some tenets of some religions that are counterproductive and ultimately harmful to society. But I can’t categorically say that all religion is bad, and I think that those who do are proceeding from a point of, well, fundamentalism.

I was raised Quaker in rural Indiana. Although I no longer live in Indiana, I still attend Quaker Meeting. I enjoy the company, and the practice really does help me find peace. Even so, I hesitate to call myself Quaker since I struggle with faith. I have trouble really believing in a Creator God. I recognize that there’s probably something out there that is greater than the nature that we experience, and therefore supernatural by definition. The sticking point for me is the idea that there is some sort of master plan. That, I submit, is the true difference between the religious and the non-religious; the religious believe there is a God (or Spirit or what have you) with a plan. The religious believe in order. That even if God will not intervene on one’s behalf when one wants Him (Her, It) to, it’s because the nonintervention is part of a larger plan. My hangup is that I don’t believe there’s a plan to begin with.  Order’s an illusion; chaos is real.

But there’s the conundrum. I believe that people of faith are happier . . . that they find more meaning in their lives and more significance in the work they do. I accept the reports tending to agree they’re more likely to pull through health crises and survive hard times with their sanity intact.

In short, I wish desperately that I did believe.

But, despite lots and lots of effort, I can’t make myself believe. I can try to convince myself, but it feels disingenuous. Like I’m lying to myself. That’s why I think Pascal’s Wager is baloney. Either you believe, or you don’t believe.  If you “believe” because you think it’s in your best interest, is that really belief, or is that just going through the motions because you want the reward?

My p0int is that wanting to believe just isn’t enough. Either you’re convinced, or you’re unconvinced. There may be a middle ground, but I suspect that’s probably the product of simply avoiding the question.

In the end, I guess the trick is never to stop searching. I’m skeptical now, but I promise to continue to examine these feelings. I know that people often return to faith as they age, and perhaps I will eventually, too. Trust me: nothing would make me happier than to believe that there is Someone out there watching us and guiding us to maturity as individuals and as a species. But I can’t say I believe until I really do.

How about you? For the faithful, how do you keep your faith in the face of facts like twenty-five thousand people died of hunger today, many of them children? For the nonbelievers, do you ever struggle with unanswered questions or phenomena that might indicate there is a God?

A Message from the Abyss

February 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

Gentle Readers,

Yes, it’s been a very long time since I’ve posted anything here. The weightiest reason for this is that when I moved into my new apartment a few months ago, I decided—for a variety of reasons—to let my Internet service lapse. The greatest consequence has been that I find myself reading far more books and far fewer tweets, but being unplugged undeniably limits my ability to share with the wider world. (Hello? Hello? Oh, yes, that’s you.) I’m still writing, but I’m focusing on creating polished content that just can’t come through on a blog, where I feel I far more rushed in writing and revising.

I wish I could say I was making a shift at this point and that you could look forward to seeing some stellar content in the weeks to come, but, sadly, I have a feeling I’m going to remain on hiatus for the near future. Know that I’m continuing to grow even as I remain radio-silent, and that I’ll have some amazing things to share with you when eventually I return.

Stay well,

Conscious Living for Young People

August 10, 2010 § 1 Comment

My travels have afforded me a lot of down time in which to catch up on some of my favorite blogs. This post by Kahled Allen launches an exciting new blog called “Conscious Living for Young People.” I eagerly await his insights and tips for avoiding the rat-race and living a more mindful life.

Conscious Living for Young People Our children don’t inherit the Earth from us. We are borrowing it from them. – Unknown Idealism can be a frustrating trait to have. You have such dreams and aspirations, most of which are far beyond your current capabilities. Once your acquire the means to realize your ambitions, you have become so reliant on the system you wanted to change that your idealism has faded to ‘mature pragmatism.’ It is us young people that have so many concerns about … Read More



Move on down, move on down the road

August 8, 2010 § Leave a comment

Well, the bar exam is over, and I’ve left Tucson on a musical tour of the country between Arizona and Washington D.C.

My friend Melanie and I have explored U.S. musical heritage in Austin (“live music capital of the world”), New Orleans (birthplace of jazz), Memphis (home of Elvis and Beale Street), and Nashville (Music City). We arrived in D.C. on Friday, and I’ll be here for few more days. To read about my continuing adventures, check out my travel blog.

I’ll be back here at WordPress with regular updates soon!