Saturday, December 18, 2010

Thank You, Readers and Contributors

I take a moment to thank you for your readership and financial support.

As Christmas and a new year draw closer, I want to thank you (yes, you) for your readership and for your financial contributions in support of this site.

I cannot thank thousands of individuals personally for devoting time to read this site, and so I am left with this highly unsatisfactory public expression of gratitude.

Truth be known, I am humbled to have an audience and embarrassed to be the recipient of so much generosity. Readers have sent me books, music CDs, photos of their families, essays, questions, cash, U.S. Armed Forces service medallions, money via PayPal, seeds, stamps, silver coins, collectors' copies of LIFE magazine, and hand-made wind chimes.

I am embarrassed to receive so many donations and gifts because I am not doing anything noble nor am I aspiring to being noble or saintly. I am average or below average in everything I do. There are millions of better writers and better guitar players, millions who are stronger and more fit, millions with deeper insights, millions with broader experiences and knowledge, and so on. The site is littered with typos, and I often lose track of things. The site is a rolling ball of chaos loosely bound by my scattered attention.

There are people doing great and difficult things who deserve our support--people building schools and libraries in Afghanistan and elsewhere, as one example of thousands. I make no claim to deserving financial encouragement; readers suggested I put up a donation link, and other readers suggested the voluntary $5/month subscription. Though the site is free and contributors receive nothing but a modest thank-you and token of my appreciation, hundreds of people have contributed in support of this site. This leaves me astonished and humbled. I know this reads like false modesty, but I am surprised when someone tells me they have never contributed to any other blog or site, that this is their first such expression of support. All I can do is honor them by doing my best.

Many others make their purchases through this site as a way of supporting the site.

This wealth of support is embarrassing because all I do is write about topics that interest me and that I reckon to be important.

I get thousands of emails a year, and do my best to answer them, though my time and energy impose severe limits. I am not a super-human, I am average; after 12 hours of work, I'm tired and have to let go of all that remains undone. Lots of things fall through the cracks. I apologize for this; I do my best but I can't answer every email or read every link. I am just one person who has to earn my living doing other things.

I sometimes wonder if your recognition of the fragility of this entire project-- that is, some of you to donate. Perhaps you sense my vulnerabilities, and the donation is a form of emotional as well as financial support.

I have no idea why you visit the site, but I suspect it's because you are concerned about The Great Transformation ahead, and you sense that I too am concerned. If there is any thread to the apparently random offerings here, it is my search for an integrated understanding of the interlocking crises we face.

For example, there is simply no way to understand or resolve the healthcare/sickcare crises we face without grasping the essential role of nutrition, diet, the growing and preparation of healthy food, fitness, personal responsibility, 24/7 marketing, the capture of governance by finance and global corporate cartels, a culture of ignorance and other unhealthy, deranged aspects of American society.

To talk about improving health and reducing healthcare costs while ignoring nutrition, fitness, mental health and our deranged culture is utterly nonsensical.

I think you understand the interconnectedness of all these issues--healthcare, Central State over-reach, Peak Oil, environmental degradation, the ascendence of Financial Elites and the hollowing out of America via the financialization of its economy and governance, the loss of integrity and the spiritual rot at the heart of the American "lifestyle," and so on--and you see me struggling to make sense of our situation in an integrated fashion.

I think you support this effort, even though you may disagree with much that I propose. That is as it should be. Honest expression and debate based on available, ungamed, unspun facts is the only way we can truly make informed decisions and trade-offs.

I also suspect you realize any real solutions will be radical, and will require great changes in both attitudes and practicalities. These radical changes will be viewed as "sacrifices" by many if not most Americans, even though what is being jettisoned is largely wasteful, unproductive, needless and destructive.

Perhaps you support the site's fundamental pragmatism, which reflects my own experience in self-employment, grass-roots political action, new media, carpentry, small business, etc.

Regardless of your motivations, I am grateful for your financial support and encouragement. I learn so much from you, and gain from your experience. It really is "oftwominds," yours and mine.

I don't hide that I am an individual, nor do I burden you too heavily with that ( I hope). I try not to be a hypocrite, i.e. I grow some of my own food, try to stay fit, don't game the system to draw a government check, ride my bike for transport within a 5-mile radius, etc. etc. I try to live such that if energy consumption drops by 75% then our household will not be affected because we already consume modest amounts of energy, fuel and water, and could easily use even less.

I hope to communicate that there are no easy answers, that ideological purity is a dead-end, that trade-offs require letting go of things which will be painful to surrender (even if they are at root only market-driven fantasies)--but also that a more sustainable (note I did not say environmentally pure) lifestyle is not only possible but also preferable in terms of full-spectrum prosperity (health, personal integrity, productive work and the pursuit of happiness).

I reckon you are honoring those goals and my own modest efforts on their behalf by contributing to the site. I am grateful for your readership, which forms a loose, opt-in community of "The Remnant," and for your financial and spiritual encouragement.

I am preparing the first section of my next book, "Investing in Troubled Times" for distribution in the new year to my loyal subscribers and those who have earned the honorific of "Heroes and Heroines of New Media" by contributing to the site's maintenance. This is a modest way of expressing my gratitude for your support.

Just as we "vote" very meaningfully with what we buy and where we buy it, so too do we "vote" when we contribute time and/or money. I am honored to be on your short list of sites which you support with your hard-earned cash.

If nobody ever donated a dime, the site would remain free. It's nothing noble, it's just me being me.

New recipes on What's for Dinner at Your House?--Elsewhere Cafe Muffins, and Louisa's Vegetarian Baked Beans

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