Thrilled to launch #Paulosophia via video today. Much more to come on popular culture, trauma and healing, spirituality, politics, religion, education, social justice, and more.
Millions celebrate the USA today. And, yes, I should, I suppose, be on the boat, or the wakeboard, or the paddleboard, or the kayak. Like everyone else, here in flawless Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, where it’s a dry ninety degrees, the water as transparent as glass.
Millions celebrate the USA today.
I sit here instead. For now at least. On a patio chair, enviously listening to the sounds of boats and laughing, watching everyone frolic in the warm sun.
Have you ever taken a step back, ask what we celebrate on July 4th? I mean, of course, we celebrate the “birth of a nation.” But precisely what is the nation?
What is the USA?
Because when I was a kid, on Independence Day, everyone seemed to be on the same page. Like other national holidays like Memorial Day or Veteran’s Day or New Year’s Day — or even on a birthday or wedding anniversary — never debate about what you were celebrating.
Millions celebrate the USA today. And they ain’t celebrating the same thing.
In fact, tens of millions seem to be celebrating very different countries.
On the political left, a celebration of diversity. Not just celebration, pride in diversity. Giddiness. Glee. Jump up and down and scream hullaballoo.
Whether race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, religion, socioeconomic status — the more diverse, the better. Food and culture and music and language. The more diverse, the better. Black as much as white. Lesbian and gay and bisexual and transgender and queer, as much as straight. Muslim or atheist or Hindu as much as Christian. Equal rights for all.
To the question, What is the USA? the far left, its core — American means not just diversity, but a celebration of it.
What is the USA to the far right? Most certainly equal Independence Day celebration. Parties and trucks with flags — lots of flags. Lots said about patriotism. Songs and memes about being proud to be American. Most certainly pride in “America.” But not so much pride in diversity.
Perhaps even fear of that diversity.
To those on the far right, I’m afraid America means something very different than it does to those on the far left.
What is the USA? This is not a political question; today, it’s a question with no easy answer.
Jack-of-all-trades. Hack-of-all-Trades. That me, if you want to know the truth.
Today I will spend time with my Leica. I still barely know how to use it (not enough time learn), how to utilize natural light (not enough time to learn), how to capture the right blend of uniformity amidst variety (not enough time to learn), who to shoot (nobody willing).
For no other reason than nine lives lore, I can find myself wishing to be a cat. Why? How else to pursue the nagging passions?
In trying to cram them into this one, earthly, life, like today I’m Paul-the-photographer, the result is the quintessential jack of all trades, master of none.
Paul, the hack-of-all-trades.
Fact is, I specialize at exactly nothing, other than the specialty of little bit of this and little bit of that.
Nine lives Paul, no doubt, would be posting today of the limitations of having only nine lives.
If I had to choose today? Most likely:
#1 Photographer: more of humanity than nature, in the Annie Leibovitz realm.
#2 Revolutionary: Going all-in like Jesus (more than anyone else) and MLK and Gandhi and Bob Dylan and Harriet Tubman and Wittgenstein and Saint Francis and Bonhoeffer and Luther and Céaser Chávez. (Please visit forthechildren.org to sign the pledge and help me on this one.)
#3 Botanist/zoologist: Because Albert Schweitzer.
#4 Philosopher: In the spirit of Aristotle. My BA and MA helped greatly, but only almost scratched the surface of understanding metaphysics, epistemology, logic, aesthetics, ethics.
#5 Geologist: I know almost nothing about how the earth is composed nor how plate tectonics work, and that bugs me.
#6 Gypsy: A full-time observer. And truth-teller, no matter the cost. Just to travel to and from, to lick the globe, minus the encumbrances of money, schedules, social pressures to be “responsible.”
#7 Cook: Not a chef — a farmer who spends as much time attending to the ingredients (soil, sun, water, freshness) as much as the cooking part.
#8 Historian: Not sure which era nor region. Eighty-one lives wouldn’t be enough to satisfy my craving to learn about all those people from all those places during all those times.
#9 Musician: I play bass (decently), guitar (average at best), trumpet and piano (below average at best).
Are you a hack-of-all-trades, too?
P.S. I forgot art historian, especially into the minds of Van Gogh, Chagall, Picasso… Oh, and a college professor (philosophy), oceanographer, architect, triathlete, yoga instructor, theologian, hermit.