As the year comes to a close, I’m a bit saddened by the lack of posts on TNTSU. I have no one to blame but myself, mind you, but it’s often hard to find the time and motivation to write, research, and coalate thoughts in a presentable form that one is happy with. You are your own worst critic, right? Still, I have hope for the blog and whatever form it may take in 2013, be it a more personal narrative, simply an archive of information, or a full-on vegan propaganda machine (ha!). But 2012 did give us some great posts, and below are the five that exemplify both my writing and the spirit of the blog. Read on:
This post was inspired by Sam Harris’ incredible article about the perils of wood smoke, and how our reaction to such an “outrageous” claim is the same thing that believers feel when we state that there is no god, heaven isn’t real, or Mohammed wasn’t really a prophet. His post was widely received and I filled in a bit of the background research, along with some commentary of my own. Consequently, any bonfire I now attend is met with a high level of skepticism, much to the chagrin of my bonfire-loving friends!
I’m continually inspired by Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements and subsequent books on Toltec wisdom. Religious aspects aside, the ideas he presents are pure gold: don’t take anything personally, always do your best, free yourself of emotion poison, etc. Along with not taking the negative side of life personally, we should strive not to take the positive too personally, either. This is most exemplified by our society’s vast inability to take compliments. They’re either downplayed, dismissed, scorned, or weakly returned. I tried to illustrate strategies for how to take any compliment, from the mundane to the sincere.
I’ve often thought that there should be instruction manuals for some of the basic things in life. Not that Facebook is very basic, but when you signed up, did anyone ever give you precursor of what you should post? We sort of infer what to post based on what our friends post, and that can quickly turn into – to put it bluntly – a lot of “bitching and moaning.” In the post I cover five positive topics that I think people should post more of. The theme is the usual be-thankful-be-grateful motto, mixed in with some modern technology.
I had my friend Ethan write about his experiences during the whirlwind that was AR2012. He did a much better job than I, and got this to me within just a few days of the conclusion of the conference. The National Animal Rights Conference showed me that we are heading towards a vegan society, and Ethan eloquently described all the ways we are going to get there.
I’ll admit this is #1 partly because it’s one of the most popular articles on the blog, with quite a few shares, likes, and tweets. But it’s also powerful. Philip Wollen has a story to inspire animal rights advocates everywhere, leaving a life of wealth and power to concentrate on saving our earth and its species. His responses are genuine, kind, and real. He was brought into the limelight with a spellbinding ten minute YouTube clip back in May of this year. My favorite quote is this:
I am always perplexed when people question Sea Shepherd’s “direct” action. It seems a tautology. What is “indirect” action? I wonder what any of us would do if we saw a kitten or a puppy being beaten to death in the street. Indirect action?
See you in 2013, if the world doesn’t end before then!