Just a brief message to see if there is any life out there?
I have not been here for a long, long time.
In our modern world there are so many ways for your disposable time to be absorbed. For me the biggest crime waster is games on my cell phone. I am actually tired of them and losing a lot of interest... Freemium (sp?) may be free in terms of direct money but the cost of data and particularly personal time is nauseating.
So what have I been doing in the "void"?
I decided to learn Chinese on Duolingo, what a fantastic programme. Again how is it funded? Primarily by the advert. At least advertising is not as monstrous here as in many other games. I am a sucker for anything that can give me a pat on the back.
Reading (as always)
After being introduced to Jordan Peterson (same friend influenced me here too), I became interested in re-reading various books of my youth, with a focus on the atrocities of ideology in the 20th century. I have not gone back to reviewing Nazi Germany but rather the old Russia, the Soviet Union. I always viewed Stalin as the monster (which he was) but the real horror was the moral destruction of the entire country and the appalling massacre of so many millions of lives. Yes, I am reading Alexandr Solzhenitsyn's work, the Gulag Archipelago. I now understand why I was depressed as a youth. How could I read such appalling material and not be scarred? I read a chapter or two every day, but I do it at lunch times at work or during the day. I cannot read it just before I go to sleep. Yet it is compelling and I cannot stop.
I was chatting to a friend about this and he gave me a book of Anne Rand "Anthem" to read. A simple essay, quite simplistic but it was like chewing bubble gum after reading about the Gulags in Russia. I wonder if the current Russian dispensation still use them to a certain measure? It must be tempting, many of the old structures must still be there, even now. I know that here in South Africa some of the old rotten Apartheid laws are still being used in the new dispensation (certainly the mechanisms of corruption and antagonism to criticism of the media, have been well used and exponentially expanded).
Still squash and running with a bit of water aerobics. I am extremely fit but sadly still fat. The diet, the diet! I know but do I really want to pay that kind of price? Nope. Not so much Sugar but STARCHES and PORTION SIZE. I regularly run (if once a week can be called regular) and play squash about three times a week. Strangely enough, I feel my squash is improving; timing when hitting the ball and running (based more on anticipation nowdays). The running still makes me suffer greatly (you try running with a 10 kilogram bag strapped around your middle!)
Yes, I still play the game but mostly out of habit. Every now and then I may play a game that I like. I also like keeping up to date on current events in the chess world. We are living in the era of Magnus Carlsen, his skills are astonishing in a world where levels keep rising and competition very fierce. I was saddened when Kasparov lost to a computer, but I must say that computers have developed the human chess world to new heights of accomplishment never seen before.
After surviving the medical drama of nearly five years ago now, spending time with my wife is precious to me. It is one of the things in life that make it enjoyable, a good companion. Learning to appreciate her more and trying to do more kind things for her is what gives my life purpose.
For me also religion is a vital component of personal and family living. Looking to the example of the Saviour and comparing His skills at dealing with challenges and people and His words, the skillful use thereof gives me much to reflect on and ponder.
So life is simple, stuff to aspire to and stuff to avoid. Lots of stuff to think about. That's why I am back here, I want to record some more thoughts on this strangely personal yet impersonal platform. Its mostly for me and maybe for my kids, who knows?