A New Year Anniversary (General)

by dhw, Tuesday, January 02, 2018, 13:19 (508 days ago)

First and foremost, let me wish everybody a happy and healthy 2018. That sounds pretty trite when you look at the grim realities around us: a world racked with poverty and suffering, political and economic uncertainty, wars and terrorism, and various lunatics running various asylums. But there is still a great deal for the more fortunate among us to enjoy, and we should not feel guilty for our enjoyment. We should help others if we can, but it is no help to anyone if we sit around with long faces merely grumbling at the world’s injustices. And so I wish you happiness and health.

Today, 2 January, marks the 10th anniversary of the launch of this website. The first contribution did not arrive until the 7th, but Neil White set it up, and opened it by explaining how it all worked. Thanks to his technical expertise it has suffered very few technical glitches, and thanks to countless contributors it has covered virtually every field you can think of if you are interested in exploring the extraordinary history and nature of our world.

In the early years, there were literally thousands following the discussions, while a surprising number of people from all kinds of backgrounds posted their views. The vast majority did not stay long, and the pattern over the years has been one of comings and goings, much like that of evolution. This is probably inevitable when people find that their own views are constantly being questioned by thinkers from the other end of the spectrum or from no end at all. The very fact that there are so many beliefs so rigidly opposed to one another but all argued with such conviction, and often with such erudition, seems if anything to have reinforced my agnosticism – not because there is no objective answer to all the deepest questions (there has to be a true answer for each one), but because we are so ill equipped to find it. Any decision ultimately can only rely on faith, and if you cannot make the necessary leap, then you sit on the fence. That is in no way a commendation. It is simply a recognition of my own profound ignorance. But that in turn is not to deny the value of discussion. The website has vastly broadened my horizons and my awareness of the sheer complexity of the mysteries that have led to our existence and that underlie all our experiences.

Currently, most of the discussions are between David Turell and myself, to which he is adding an ever flowing stream of articles from the Internet on a wide variety of subjects. I can only thank him for the ongoing education. At the moment he is on holiday, which is why there is a break in our discussions, but when he returns, I hope he will read this and will register not only my own personal appreciation, but also the fact that many of his articles over time are still attracting hundreds of viewings. For these alone I think it is worth our keeping the website open. For how long is just one of the tiny unknowns in the great scheme of unknowns past, present and future!

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