Tuesday, 1 January 2013

For the New Year!

So, it's 2013.

Normally, that would start off a chain reaction: what resolutions I made last year (and perhaps did not keep), what resolutions I'll make this year, why there's promise this year, and so forth. I've included a strip from my favorite comic, and what may just be among the greatest comics of all time, Calvin and Hobbes, below, in which Calvin (named after the theologian) discusses the problems of New Year's resolutions.

But I want to do something a bit different. I'm going to put down a list of things I plan to do, organized by categories. Each is relatively open-ended. Feel free to take those categories and list your own resolutions, or add your own categories in the comments or in your own personal list. Enjoy!

Books, Films. As an English major, I find myself reading a lot of books. But I could always be reading more. Goal: find an extra hour or so to read each day. Make a list of books to check out, and make sure I can check them off the list at the end of the year. But leave the list open. And I'll read widely: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and everything, or nearly everything, in-between. Same goes for films. I'll try to further develop myself, acknowledging I have a lot to learn--but I'll also remind myself, if needed, that I've managed to learn some things so far. It's easy to forget, after all, that we've reached anywhere at all.

People and their Ideas. Despite what I wrote above about books, I won't forget to spend time with the people I love, and I'll try to understand the people I don't love more. I'll try to put myself in the shoes of people whose minds I don't understand, like religious fundamentalists and Young Earth creationists (assuming I can find the shoes), so I can see if we can actually have a good dialogue. Empathy, and all that good stuff. And I will never assume I know all there is to know on a topic, or that my opponent/discussion partner can't teach me something new. And if I'm wrong, I have to be intellectually honest and admit it.

Issues I Care About. When an issue comes up, be it at home or abroad, and I have a chance to let my voice be heard in some way--be it by submitting a letter to an editor, a commentary, or trying to do something more visible--I will try to do so. Little efforts sometimes pay off, sometimes become big efforts--but only if we make the effort.

Stop Hiding. If something is important to you, like a cause, belief, or part of my identity, it might be worth finally sitting down with someone you trust and getting it out into the open--or just letting everyone know in a sudden social-media blitz. You may find idiots if you do the latter (and some fun screencaps for the future, no doubt), but you may also find friends who sympathize. And, more importantly, you'll have taken a step towards being closer to who you think you are. (Whether or not the self is an illusion of the brain, possibly like free will, but that's a whole different article.)

Have a great new year, from the Caribbean Freethinkers' Society!
- Jonathan Bellot

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