Renewals and Disavowals

People do change. People don’t change.

Both are pretty common views. Who is right?

Maybe they are both right.

Maybe the things that change are superficial but the core doesn’t change.

For example, you might want to help people be happy. And you think a good way to help people be happy is to give them pie because you like pie and eating pie makes you happy.

But years later, you decide maybe pie isn’t the best way to make people happy. You have at that point come to believe that a nicely cut lawn would make people happy because it makes you happy when your lawn is nicely cut. So you start a lawn care business to make people happy.

At your core, you still want to make people happy. That hasn’t changed. But how you try to accomplish that goal has changed.

You went from a person who gave people pie to a person who cuts grass.

Some people will say how much you changed.

But you still want to make people happy.

So you haven’t changed in that respect.

Of course, reality is more complex than that but this isn’t meant to be a deeply philosophical post.

Also, too, you probably made mistakes. You may have had a bad day and said something you would later regret. You may have made errors in judgement. You may have been trying to fit in with the wrong crowd and said or did things you really didn’t believe. You might have been doing the wrong things for the right reasons. You might have said or done things based on misinformation. And so on.

The bottom line is you made mistakes.

We all make mistakes.

Hopefully, we learn from them and grow as a person.

But these days it sometimes feels like people aren’t given that opportunity to grow and change.

Sometimes it even seems like people are more quickly forgiven for terrible deeds than offensive things they have have said or written.

Which is a little sad.

Are we more afraid of words now than sticks and stones?

At any rate, it seems the thing to do these days is to delete everything you can and apologize for and disavow everything else.

As a writer, that sometimes seems crazy to me. By reading an author’s books, especially in the case of commentary, you can see how a person’s views can change over time. Or not.

If a person changes their views over a lifetime, should they demand that their previous books be collected and burned?

That would, of course, be challenging.

It’s easier in the digital world. An eBook can be updated and its contents replaced or updated on readers’ devices. But is that a proper thing to do? When a digtal first edition is replaced by its second, third, fourth or even tenth edition, what is lost?

There’s not just books, but blogs and tweets and so on. Should old ones just be deleted and forgotten?

Must things be apologized for, disavowed and deleted?

How much history do we lose when that happens? Think of historical debates. What would we be left with if the debaters had later agreed to delete from the historical record anything they regretted saying or offended the opposing party and so on?

Seems like we might miss a lot.

And then we’d lose the ability to learn from others’ mistakes.

Anyway, that was a consideration when relaunching this blog. Should I have deleted everything and started fresh? Have I written things years ago that may be found offensive now? I don’t think so but I don’t know for sure. And there are hundreds of posts on this blog. I’m not going to go back and read them all. It’d be easier to just delete everything and start over.

But that wouldn’t seem right.

So I didn’t. For the most part.

There are some posts I have unpublished. (On the same line, I have occasionally deleted my own tweets.) Some I have had to unpublish to comply with Amazon’s requirements for my novels. Some are exclusive to Amazon so I cannot have excerpts here.

As for others, there were a handful I didn’t feel right about. They are not deleted but unpublished for now. My intention is not to offend but to entertain or educate. And sometimes something that may seem enlightening or funny in the moment may seem mean-spirited on further reflection. It may not have been the intent but it may come across that way.

But, like I said, I’m not going to read through hundreds of posts and try to weigh them against current sensibilities.

So, I’ll just apologize now for anything I’ve written here in the past eleven or so years and will write here now and in the future that may be or may be interpreted to be offensive, mean-spirited or whatever whether now or in the future.

With that out of the way, let’s get back to our new-ish core mission . . .

Let’s make blogging fun again!

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