01 January 2008
Happy New Year
and a happy, peaceful and prosperous New Year to you all!
This is the very first entry into my first ever weblog, and even though I am quite an accomplished and experienced writer with a track record of more than 35 years and publications in several languages and countries, I am entering new territory here. But I am optimistic and confident that I will manage to post a new entry every day, sharing my thoughts, views, opinions and analysis with the world.
I have no idea if anyone will read my weblog, and if so, if it will inspire others to think, to comment or even perhaps to agree with what I am writing. We shall see. I do have strong opinions on many topics and subjects, and plenty of personal experience with various parts of the world. I am never reluctant to say and write what I think, but I do not have any fixed agenda, do not belong to any political party or any organised religion. What you will read here are the plain words of a free spirit, a life-long seeker of truth and a fighter for freedom and human rights. Occasionally you will also find the output of my other self, which is a writer and poet who wants nothing else than live in harmony with others, on a peaceful and ecologically sound planet.
The idea to have a weblog has been with me for quite some time, ever since a friend and colleague suggested it to me. But I thought that it makes sense to start such an effort at a significant time, like the beginning of a new year, and so I made it one of my New Year's resolutions to write a daily weblog. Now that I have started there is no way back. I believe that I am joining a growing number of people, numbered in millions already, who take it upon themselves to express their views beyond the normal borderlines of their daily existence.
A hundred years ago it took a ship about eight months to sail from Europe to Australia, so any letter carried that way would take even a bit longer before it would reach its addressee. Today we send a message by e-mail from anywhere to anywhere on this planet, in a second or even less. This is not only a revolution of communications, but a revolution in every way and for everyone alive today.
Though I emerged from a very conservative family, I have always welcomed and embraced change, especially when it brought with it a lot of new and beneficial options. In the short span of my own life I have experienced at least four technological revolutions, and I am sure that there is even more to come. When I started working as a very young reporter, it took several hours, about 30 people and large and expensive machinery to turn any story, put together on an old mechanical type writer, into newsprint on paper. Now I am writing a story on my computer, select the font, headline and even complete layout, and then send it off by e-mail for publication or - with the push of one button - get a complete printout in less than a minute. Even though this is totally normal these days and in no way surprising to anyone, it still fills me with awe and respect now and then. Being not a gifted man in matters of technology, engineering or computer science, I admire those who have the brains, gifts, skills and imagination to create all the new communication systems we now use. Occasionally I am told by some of them how they, in turn, respect people like me, who can put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboards) with great ease, but I still think that theirs is the greater achievement, for the benefit of us all.
In principle we all have our strengths and weaknesses. It is important to be aware of them, and to act accordingly each day and in every situation. Diversity means wealth - in a material and even more so in an immaterial way - and it grows best in a general climate of peace and freedom. Where creativity and innovation are stifled by laws, doctrines or irrational believe systems, we often see in a short period of time a decline of culture and prosperity. But as soon as a formerly repressed area or society gains freedom, the results are quite astonishing and often even surprising for outsiders.
2007 has seen plenty of both, and the same will be the case in 2008. Nothing new about that, and nothing special. However, we all have the chance and opportunity to make an impact, a difference and perhaps even a significant change in our own life and environment. And the more people work in a positive and sensible way for the greater good of humanity and planet Earth, the better life will be for all of us.
With all good wishes for 2008 to each and every one of you I close for today and remain
The Emerald Islander