Philosophy and Motorcycles

Philosophy and motorcycles are two of my favorite things in life. This blog will be bits of wisdom gleaned from a misspent youth and an adventurous dotage. People who like/love wisdom or motorcycles, classic or modern versions of either, are welcome to visit and comment.

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Location: Wisconsin, United States

I have been married to the same lovely woman for decades. We have one son, two cats, and live in rural Wisconsin, USA. I ride and rebuild motorcycles, and I am semi-retired. Favorite bikes are Yamaha XS650, FJ1200 and Ducati 900SS. My wife is a home care nurse. I am a Myers-Briggs INTP. She is ESFJ. Our son works at the Apple store in downtown SF and is teaching English as a second language in San Francisco, no grandchildren.

Friday, December 29, 2006

My son, who lives in Japan, is home for the holidays. Whenever he is home I am reminded how much I enjoy talking with him. He is more free and more aware at his age than I was at that age. News may tend to focus on the negative events but there are a lot of aspects of modern life which are far better than when I was young.

Few subjects are taboo. Our culture is more tolerant of variety than it was 35 years ago. The larger cities may have been melting pots but rural America was ethnocentric in the extreme. Through television and changing patterns of work we now have a broader spectrum of people throughout the land. The media have expanded their coverage of events and ideas to encompass subjects in a factual manner. Of course media still have their bias but it is less blatant and fewer subjects are subject to the form of cultural censorship that existed. Old stereotypes give way to evidence based reporting. Icons fall. There are those who remain afraid to give up the certainty they found in stereotypes but it becomes increasingly difficult to believe that there are real differences between groups. The students my son teaches in Japan are not so different from the clients with whom I work in America. Truly there are greater differences within groups than between groups.

Two hours ago Saddam was hanged. It does not signal an end to the violence but it is the end of an era. I wish that it would lead to the end of the mentality which produced Saddam. It will not. Powerful governments continue to produce, support, dispose and replace tyrants for their own ends. The internet, the first truly open form of free speech available to common citizens, may be our great hope. No form of soap box, microphone or newspaper, is available to so many people of such diverse ideas. I believe that as people communicate with those of other cultures we will find more and more common ground. The people of the world may yet be able to form a more perfect union in spite of governments.

Two hours ago my cats still had a few bites of food in their dish. Now they ate the last of it and suddenly panic has set in. They both are suddenly agitated, pestering me. "Aarrrgghhh! The food dish is empty!" Aparently happiness is a full dish. They waddle when they walk but, even fat cats get hungry. Wanting security is not a purely human desire. Even when we are not hungry it's important to know there is food.

Sometimes I just sit in the garage and look at motorcycles. Even when it is cold it is important to know that there are motorcycles, waiting. Today they will wait again. It's good to know they are ready.