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  • Writer's pictureDoug Weiss


Today’s post marks number 200 since I began this blog. I did not set out with a particular goal; at the time it was an outlet for ideas that arose as I was working on my book and later it became a companion to the podcast series that Alvean and I were collaborating on, albeit one with a nominal perspective beyond relationships. At times it has veered toward a commentary that some may have seen as political, although anyone who knows me would say otherwise. I am not by nature an ardent advocate for any political party and having worked at the periphery of the political process creating political ads, I will readily admit to a cynical view of the entire process. For me it has always been about issues and people—those deserving of my support, and never about adherence to a strict ideology.

Please do not get me wrong, I am not a centrist nor am I disengaged. I do try to listen as much as I exchange views and I have learned that there are times and individuals with whom an honest exchange is pointless. I do not debate—it is a largely fruitless process if the objective is to persuade another person of what you may believe to be the correct view. Honest exchange is about offering another view without insisting that everyone adopt it. I am more interested in what, how and why someone feels the way they do, out of an internally consistent logic, emotion, or as a result of parental/societal orientation. I am genuinely interested in what thoughtful people have to say whether or not it happens to be in agreement with my in-going sentiments. Perhaps I may expose someone to an alternate view, or not. Maybe I will alter my position based on new information. But one thing I will not do is rely on anecdotes or opinions to persuade me, as a friend once said they are not the plural of data.

I like to think I am an advocate for critical thinking. Generally, that means I start by asking questions, and trying to separate facts from assertions. The internet is a terrific tool for conducting some research—but a Google search is not research. One must consider the source and intention behind everything posted—how the information was determined, by whom, and the intent behind its publication. To be clear, a screed by someone opposed to vaccination will never persuade me, but a research paper published in a reputable journal, reviewed by scientific peers, based on a study conducted according to a standardized and disciplined process and supported by replicable findings goes a long way toward convincing me of a particular position. Yes, I have in-going views but I do not seek validation, I want objective data that informs my position and yes, sometimes shows the flaws in my beliefs.

I concede from the start that what I believe in the widest sense is a mix of beliefs for which I have no proofs, and facts which I have taken the effort to truly research and understand to the limits of my intelligence. Let me be quick to add a caveat—I am far from perfect at this, untrained in many disciplines and lacking knowledge on more subjects than not. That is why I question, discuss, listen and seek out objective data. I know I am fallible and therein is the only thing perhaps that keeps me honest. I know the difference between fact and opinion. Which brings me back to the subject of this post—a lot more biographical than my usual fare.

Looking back from this milestone of sorts of 200 posts I have found some well composed thoughts on a variety of subjects—largely having to do with the human experience. I also note some posts that are largely moderated rants on topics that angered me, caused me discomfort or sought to convince without the benefit of much by way of the kind of data I respect. For the egregious overstepping I apologize. If any of these posts offered a fresh perspective, new information or insight on a subject of interest to you I have been well compensated for my time. Writing these posts is a self-imposed task that requires discipline on my part—but I do not write them with the expectation that hundreds or more might read them—I am no influencer. I am always surprised when anyone acknowledges them much less responds. I write for me—because I need to express my thoughts and writing conditions organization and logical expression.

So, thanks to all who have from time to time written or ‘liked’ my posts—that word having been co-opted by social media to stand in for acknowledgement—though of what I am still unsure. I promise that #201 will return to more typical topics—including relationships, a subject which was the original focus of this blog. Until then, have a good week.

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