Twenty days into vacation and my obsession with work has finally disappeared. I have a fresh slate to work with. I’m open to new priorities and adventures.
One thing that is less than idyllic and puts me in fighting mode is the god-awful wifi aboard ship. For $250, you get unreliable, low-bandwidth wifi that sometimes crashes once a minute. To add insult to injury, my cruise line censors content. Details at https://goo.gl/3leaWV. What are they thinking? No matter where I happen to be, I consider an internet connection the next most important thing after toilet paper. And $250 for access is equivalent to charging $100 a roll. “Can I have the email address of your I.T. department?” Answer from Windstar: “No, we are not allowed to give that out. I will call them for you.” Me: “No, I want this documented.”
Most of the towns and islands on our itinerary have ancient roots. Çesme reached its zenith in the middle ages under rule of the Genoese. In 1566, the Ottomans took over. In the twentieth century, watermelon replaced wine as the main crop, and Çesme became a windsurfing destination and home port for countless fancy yachts. How do towns like this retain their identities?
Consider Ephesus, which was founded by the Achaeans in the Bronze Age. Four centuries later, in the 10th century BC, Ionians and Attic Greeks built Ephesus atop the older city. The Temple of Artemis, the largest building in the ancient world, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and home to the “many breasted Lady of Ephesus” was burned down by a loony in the third century BC. Ephesus was variously conquered by the Lydians, Persians, retaken by Ionians, Alexander the Great stopped by, the Egyptians under Ptolemy III ruled for a while, joined the Roman Empire, and became second only to Rome as a trading center.
It was raided by the Goths but rebuilt by Constantine. In 614, Ephesus was partly destroyed by an earthquake. St. John probably wrote his gospel here. Rumor has it that this is where the Virgin Mary retired to after the Crucifixion. The Byzantines ruled for three hundred years. The Crusaders passed through. The city was abandoned in the 15th century. To-date, archeologists have excavated only 15% of the ancient city.
How does a place like this retain its identity?
And how do we retain our personal identities?
My foundations have been raided and razed as if by Persians and Byzantines as I’ve morphed from child to high-school student to preppie to college student to computer salesman to Army officer to market researcher to manager to philosopher to author to mindful traveler. Somehow the values persist, the core remains, the identity is still there, even when buried under thirty feet of history and rubble.
An interviewer asked me what’s next. “Death,” I said. That was for shock value. Like most people, I cannot really imagine my demise. All I’ve ever known was life so death is a foreign concept.
I’ll probably joust with windmills until the end.
My current crusade is to share the secrets of how to learn to learn with those who don’t even realize that learning is a variable. Too many people think “learning = school.” The truth is that “schooling = indoctrination.” That’s why it sounds odd to ask, “What did you ask in school today?”
I’ll no longer be fighting “the man,” denigrating L&D for shirking what I consider their responsibility to promote learning throughout the organization; I’m mostly going to forget that they are even there.
I intend to experiment with my latest insights into memory. If I recall a memory, I may be able to scramble it before returning it to storage. This wipes out the connections that make the memory whole. This may be impossible, but it will make for an interesting thought experiment.
This rambling, introspective post probably belongs on my Plog, my progress log, so I’ll copy it there now.