Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Fair Trade

What made Homo sapiens so special? Dr. Ridley argues that it wasn’t our big brain, because Neanderthals had a big brain, too. Nor was it our willingness to help one another, because apes and other social animals also had an instinct for reciprocity. “At some point,” Dr. Ridley writes, “after millions of years of indulging in reciprocal back-scratching of gradually increasing intensity, one species, and one alone, stumbled upon an entirely different trick. Adam gave Oz an object in exchange for a different object.” --NYT review of "The Rational Optimist", by Matt Ridley.

Even the most hardened skeptic of the self-expression free-for-all has to admit that plenty of nonprofessional creators, ignoring the wants and needs of the market, have produced priceless gifts for the rest of us to enjoy.--"Valuing $0" by Rob Walker, NYT Sunday Magazine.

Though the unwise cling to their actions, watching for results, the wise are free from attachments, and act for the well-being of the whole world.--Bhagavad Gita, 3.25

(Isn't it funny how things seem to coalesce when you're trying to come up with a blog post? All these quotes floated across my radar screen this past week, and all seemed relevant.)

I'm a big fan of Web 2.0, and all the kooky, wonderful free stuff that's out there for the downloading (plenty of shite too, I know, but that's part of the fun). I wonder if this is going to be the "good old days" that everyone refers to when we have to start paying for content and subscribing (not that that wouldn't be fair). And I'm proud to be a contributor to the kookiness which, by the way, has been for exactly four years on Saturday.

Sometimes I think about all the "unvalued" time I've put into this venture. By now, once-a-week for four years (231 posts), it's more like a hobby/habit than anything else. I feel obligated to stay current; I think about what I'd like to formulate into an essay; I get interesting feedback. [BrooksHall wrote a nice piece about this last week] By putting my little offering out there ("gift" seems too grand a title for these random musings), I feel like I've done my work and any fruits that result are a delightful extra. And there have been quite a few fruits (so to speak)--internet friendships, writing opportunities, teaching opportunities, new students, yoga-blog-community membership. Actually, a wealth of riches in exchange for about 45 min.s of my time every 5-7 days.

Would that my physical practice was so regular. But, in a way, they are of the same piece. Some people learn best by doing, others by reading. I float somewhere in the middle, as I like to think and learn and study in addition to do, and it all informs my work on the mat. This writing exercise, such as it is, has deepened my understanding of asana and pranayama and strengthened my teaching in ways I never could have imagined. I am a person of the book, to be sure.

Thanks, everyone, for accepting this little blog as an item of exchange. Unvalued it may be (at least as part of a market economy), it is priceless to me.

13 comments:

Rachel @ Suburban Yogini said...

You are welcome, I love your blog. And your Gita quote has appeared in front of me just when I need it for a post I'm writing for tomorrow.

Jenn said...

I totally feel you girl! Thanks for your musings.

Bob Weisenberg said...

We are the beneficiaries of your inspiration to write, Brenda! Thank you.

We just read that very line from the Bhagavad Gita last week in Gita Talk #5: Sublimely Simple, Profound and Livable, and your story is a great example of my title--Sublimely Simple, Profound, and Livable. That's exactly what the Gita is.

(All those interested in the Gita, whether beginners or scholars are welcome to join us.)

Enjoyed this blog very much.

Bob Weisenberg

Claudia said...

I totally agree, I have found that blogging opened me up to a whole community who is very committed to yoga and I have learned lots from fellow yogis, thanks for sharing!

Frank S. Robinson said...

Those interested in Ridley's very good book might wish to know about my own book, THE CASE FOR RATIONAL OPTIMISM (Transaction Books, Rutgers University, 2009), which makes quite similar points and arguments, but develops the case for optimism over a broader range of subject areas. See http://www.fsrcoin.com/k.htm

La Gitane said...

Your blog is a fabulous contribution to the blogosphere Brenda! It's kind of like a cornerstone that we all keep coming on back to.

I also find that writing about yoga pushes me to think harder, learn more and understand better. And then multiply that by all the blogs I read. I love this virtual community and all the very real people who contribute to it!

jenna jameson said...

i am learn about yoga after reading your blog.thanking you...

Bob Weisenberg said...

Well put, La Gitane!

Bob Weisenberg

Brenda P. said...

My practice made a huge leap, once I started teaching. My teaching made a huge leap once I started blogging. As Bob has mentioned in other comments regarding his own study, I think I need to read and write as well as do...that's how my brain is hooked up.

It's nice to have you all along for the ride (both for your reading, and for your writing). It's hard to remember what my yoga was like before all of this...

roseanne said...

thanks for the lovely reflection! i am grateful beyond measure for your blog, your wisdom and your common sense approach to yoga. i'm also grateful for your reciprocal support for my blog (and my other crazy life endeavors, via facebook!). you're truly an inspiration, as a yogi, writer and person.

keep on keeping on!

Emma said...

meh, i prefer the barter system anyway!

It's A Yoga Thang said...

Feelings shared exactly. :~)

Brooks Hall said...

Thanks, Brenda!