30 December 2011

2012 "Update"

Last year at this time I decided to try a new type of New Year's resolution and allow myself to choose only one word to concentrate on in 2011. The word was "Ideate" (pronounced AHY-dee-aet) which is a verb that means "to form an idea of", "to think of", "to imagine" or "to conceive of". It is synonymous with "to dream", "to envision", "to fancy", to "fantasize", "to picture", "to visualize", "to conjure up", or "to see in your mind's eye". When used in the intransitive form (without an object) and in the imperative mood (command) it means "THINK!".

As it turned out it was a good resolution and the result is that I have "conjured up" all sorts of ideas about things that I would like to do before it's time to exit this life for the next great adventure. The word that I chose to continue this train of thought for the coming year is "Update" which is, of course, a verb that means to make something that was suitable for times gone by more suitable to the present and the future by adapting it to recent ideas. It is synonymous with "improve", "correct", "renew", "revise", "upgrade", "amend", "overhaul", "streamline", "modernize", "re-brand" and "contemporize". The first known use of the word goes back to 1941 but since it is such a forward looking word its age doesn't matter. Neither does mine. Last year I was thinking of retiring this year at sixty-four but then I checked  a number of  actuarial tables and they all seemed to agree that in the absence of divine intervention it is highly likely that I will live as long as seventy-nine years. Heck, there is still plenty of time to accomplish something positive so I think I will keep on working and not retire until I see the moving finger write upon the wall. They say that Mr.Death can walk no faster than three miles per hour. As long as you can still walk faster than that you'll be okay. Just don't look back!

The main thing that I realized this past year is that the pace of change is accelerating at such a high rate that five years from now the world as we know it will be turned upside down. With all the longing for the good old days there is no return to a way of life whose time has come and gone. I think that this fact is awfully hard for "Baby Boomers" to swallow. The more that I learn about history, the more I realize that the decline in the way of life that we were accustomed to is irreversible, especially in the short term. The past is still alive only through pretending, and I am talking about a past as recent as ten or fifteen years ago. People of the 1990's spoke a different language from a different age and we can wander through the melancholy of those ruins caught up in the longing of nostalgia, well watered by our tears, or we can get on with it. That is what my theme word "update" is all about. By the way, in Spanish the word is "actualizar".

If anyone is interested, the following is a partial list of the books that I read this past year that collectively raised my focus and my aspirations to a higher plane. I highly recommend all of them and they are all available for Amazon Kindle. I am excited about what the next few years may bring to those who prepare themselves and I invite you to join me in that regard.

by   Pamuk, Orhan  

Jerusalem: The Biography 
by  Montefiore, Simon Sebag

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable 
by  Taleb, Nassim Nicholas

The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood  
by  Gleick, James

Secrets of Mental Math  
by  Shermer, Michael, and Benjamin, Arthur

Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk  
by  Bernstein, Peter L.
You Are Not So Smart  
by  McRaney, David

The Swerve: How the World Became Modern  

by  Greenblatt, Stephen

On the Nature of Things  

by  Lucretius
The Calculus Direct    
by Weiss, John

Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything
by Joshua Foer

by Kurlansky, Mark

Salt: A World History  

by  Kurlansky, Mark

Like my dear departed mother used to say, 

"Onward ever, backward NEVER!".




norm said...

I read the SALT book a few years ago at the beach, the kids thought I was pretty strange. Happy New Year Bob, many more.

Bob Mrotek said...

The next time you go to the beach you should read "Cod" :)
Happy New Year to you too! Have a good one.

norm said...

What we have done to the Cod is not pretty. The Grand Banks had so many that Cabot claimed that you could catch them with baskets lowered over the side of the boat. I will make it a point to read "COD".

Bob Mrotek said...

That's great Norm. Maybe someday we can discuss it over a beer and a basket of "fish & chips" :)

norm said...

I plan on a Latin Winter in 2012/13. Maybe we will be able to visit.

The current plan is down the gulf coast, Yucatan for November, Guatemala's highlands in December, Peten and its back country ruins in January, then a slow drive up through the center of Mexico, home by the middle of April.

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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.