I made two New Year’s Resolutions. I’m not going to tell you what they were. Mostly because I don’t want you to judge me. I will say that one was about not doing something and one was about starting a new practice. Today is January 14. I have kept up the new practice. I was able not to do the other thing for six days. I haven’t given up on it. But I also didn’t keep it. I’m trying not to judge myself, but I think it’s pretty clear that the sheen of the resolution has worn off–it loses its ability to inspire once it has been broken.
We all know that resolutions don’t work. They don’t really change our behavior. I don’t usually make them — maybe one out of every three years I make some resolutions. And yet, there’s something so attractive about the idea that a new year can bring a new you. Just resolving that things will be different can make them so. Much of the critique of New Year’s resolutions amount to a critique of willpower as an effective way to change our lives. We need to engage in practices and projects because willing ourselves to be different does not work. Read more
According to Ovid, Janus was the son of Apollo and was born a mortal in Thessaly but then fled to Italy. He was a Roman god with Greek roots, like many of the Roman gods, which makes the roots of Janus themselves Janus-faced. I’ve been thinking about Janus a bit this week as I have been writing about and reflecting on what I’m doing when I do the history of philosophy – lots of looking back to look ahead. Sounds like a country song.
Yesterday, I looked back at 2014 to list the things I was proud of last year. I know most look backs cover the year in literature, in politics (Cuba is open for further colonization, the GOP is taking over the Senate, and yeah we did torture all those people and how), in public life (Ebola, police finally getting called on killing black men with impunity), in the academy (Steven Salaita), and philosophy, but I went the personal route. So this Top Five list is the personal follow-up to look ahead and consider what I’d like to do in 2015.
5. Keep blogging regularly. My goal is to continue blogging once a week.
4. Run outside through the winter.
3. I’d like to take advantage of the proximity to Chicago to attend philosophy conferences there — there are two conferences this spring at DePaul, the History of Philosophy Society and the graduate student conference on affectivity that Jason Read is speaking at, that I’d like to attend.
2. I’m heading to the Collegium Phaenomenologicum in Città di Castello, Italy, in July and I’d like to visit Crete and some of the other Greek islands while we are in Europe. Last year I went to Greece for the first time, which was amazing.
1. I was going to make number one thinking about pedagogy, but while I really do want to do more of that and I probably will, it sounds pretty boring. So as I was telling some friends last night at the New Year’s Eve party / bonfire I went to, I think this year I’m going to pay some more attention to music. I am going to buy an album a month from a musician that I’ve never listened to before (recommendations welcome). I’ll blog about that too.
Here’s to a good year.