The biggest problem with winter beside the Lake of Constance is that so often there are days of endless fog, a spirit-crushing blanket of grey that discourages one from emerging from the cave of home.
On days such as these, when I am alone at home and am not required to go to work in a school or at Starbucks I try my hand at a spot of writing, surf the Web, watch some DVDs, do some household chores, eat and drink too much, and basically feel at a loss for what to do with my free time.
I try not to be too hard on myself for I know everyone has their routines and habits that make their lives somewhat tolerable, but I realize that there must be better ways to occupy this gift of Time.
This is not how a novel gets written, a masterpiece painted or a symphony composed.
Should I try on for size some of the daily routines practiced by some of the greatest philosophers, writers, composers and artists?
“Benjamin Franklin took daily naked air baths.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec painted in brothels.
Edith Stilwell worked in bed.
George Gershwin composed at the piano in his pyjamas.
Sigmund Freud worked 16 hours a day.
Gertrude Stein could never write for more than 30 minutes a day.
F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in gin-fuelled bursts – believing alcohol was essential to his creative process.”
(Mason Currey, Daily Rutuals: How Great Minds Make Time, Find Inspiration and Get to Work)
Is a change in my daily routine a guarantee of achieving fame and fortune?
I know that change in the world cannot be achieved if one does not reach the world.
Through the advice of others and through trial, error and discipline I hope to increase my brand recognition and over time disseminate my message to a wider and greater audience.
If for no other reason, to counteract other people who would spread their Messages of hate and fear without hesitation to a large audience.
According to Jared Cohen, the director of Google Ideas and author of “Digital Insurgency: How to Marginalize the Islamic State Online” (Foreign Affairs, November/December 2015), ISIS not only holds physical territory but as well digital territory.
“According to the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence, the territory controlled by the Islamic State now ranks as the place with the highest number of foreign fighters since Afghanistan in the 1980s, with recent estimates putting the total number of foreign recruits ar around 20,000, nearly 4,000 of whom hail from Western countries.
Many of these recruits made initial contact with the Islamic State and its ideology via the Internet.
Other followers, meanwhile, are inspired by the group´s online propaganda to carry out terrorist attacks without travelling to the Middle East.
In a Brookings Institution report, it is estimated that in late 2014, 46,000 Twitter accounts openly supported the group.
And social media platforms are just the tip of the iceberg.
The Islamic State´s marketing tools run the gamut from popular public platforms to private chat rooms to encrypted messaging systems such as WhatsApp, Kik, Wickr, Zello and Telegram.
At the other end of the spectrum, digital media production houses churn out professional grade videos and advertisements.”
(Jared Cohen, Foreign Affairs, November/December 2015)
And, of course, Islamic State is not the only one with an agenda to propogate using the Web.
“A great renaissance of public shaming is sweeping the land.
Justice has been democratized.
We are mercilessly finding other people´s faults.
We are defining the boundaries of normality by ruining the lives of those outside it.
We are using shame as a form of social control.
Once a transgression is revealed, proven or not, collective outrage circles with the force of a hurricane and transgressors torn apart by an angry mob, jeered at, demonized, causing the accused to lose their jobs, health, peace of mind, privacy, and sometimes even their will to live.”
(Jon Ronson, So You´ve Been Publicly Shamed)
Now, I´m thinking if the Web can be used for destruction, why can´t it used as a medium for positive change as well?
I may only be one man but my ideas are just as valid as any other man´s.
I must keep writing.
Why do writers write?
Because it isn´t there.
We who wish to make the planet a place of peace and harmony can no longer afford to be complacent or quiet.
We need to borrow from their Playbook and instead use their methodologies to act as a counterforce to people who prefer to hate.
When someone has done good, make it public.
Where war is, preach peace.
Where hate thrives, spread love.
Bombard the Net with tidings of comfort and joy, peace and good will to counteract those who would use the Web to spread fear, hate, destruction and despair.
Evil triumphs when good people do not act.