Democracy without Secularism

As avid followers of Shaneisms will note, one of my closest friends is Daniel Mullin, he of The Unemployed Philosopher fame. In wanting to keep myself in his good graces (mostly so I keep getting birthday and Christmas presents from him) I’m shamelessly promoting several projects he’s been working feverishly on and that are now available for public consumption.

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen! I present to you, straight from Dr. Mullin’s mind to your eager eyeballs, these wonderful events that will engage your mind, excite your heart and enchant your very soul!

First up, the good Doctor’s doctoral dissertation, Democracy Without Secularism. Follow the link to read a critique of Jürgen Habermas as you’ve never read before! Don’t know who Jürgen Habermas is? All the more reason to read this attractively bound volume!

Next on the list is Moving On: Essays on the Aftermath of Leaving Academia. Dan wrote one of the chapters about his often tumultuous time in the world of post-university Academia and will give you some sense of what the very-quickly-changing world of higher education is really like.

And finally, if you live in the Toronto, Ontario area and are interested in philosophy, Dan is starting up a philosophical cafe, where people can gather together and discuss philosophical concepts from Plato to whether or not the grass really is greener on the other side of the fence.Who knows… I might show up to one myself! Follow his blog to get the latest updates.

And please… support his writing efforts by buying his book. You’ll be doing me a favor as well since it means more money for my future birthday and Christmas presents!

And stay tuned here… there’s plenty of edutainment coming up for 2014!

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

Here we are: December 31, 2013. Time to say goodbye to the old year, ring in the new, sing “Auld Lang Syne” and all that stuff. And time for me to reflect on the past year.

It’s been a busy year for me. I’ve written here about everything from Aboriginal issues, to why I don’t like school, to social justice issues and what it’s like to be a filmmaker. I started a second blog about my take on what it means to be a Christian in today’s society and I even had a chance to poke fun at the whole idea of social & personal branding, which ruffled some feathers with friends in the real world… which totally made my day!

So here I am, looking over the past year, and I realized that I have several articles for Shaneisms that never made it online. Whether they didn’t come together in the way I had hoped, didn’t make it past the outline stage or simply got put to the side and forgotten about (out of sight, out of mind), these poor, miswritten literary outputs are quietly awaiting their chance in the virtual sun.

It’s not that I haven’t wanted to finish them or that I read them over and thought “this is so bad I think it gave me cancer”. The truth is more that real life got in the way. For some of the partially written articles, I got called away to another project and had to devote my attention elsewhere. With some others, its that by the time I was happy with what I had written, the social relevancy, that small moment of time when they’d be current and hip, had passed and it would take extensive re-writes to get them into something that won’t make the reader say “wow, that’s yesterday’s news, man!”.

*Author’s note: say that last part in your best 70’s hippie voice for full dramatic effect.

I do hope to have some of those ideas finished and posted over the coming year here on Shaneisms but I can’t make any promises. After working as both a writer and filmmaker for some time now I’ve learned far too well that even the best planned-out projects may not make it to fruition. As those fragmented articles in my My Documents folder attest, writing something that will (hopefully) capture a reader’s attention and leave them wanting more is an art unto itself.

There are days where the ideas come fast and furious, times when I can write an article from beginning to end in one sitting and post the final draft with very few edits. There are also days when trying to get a coherent idea down on paper is almost impossible, leaving me feeling like my mind as a giant “this space for rent” sign in the middle of it. I guess right there is the hit or miss nature of having a creative mind: some days you got it and other days you wonder why you don’t have it and where you’ve possibly left it.

As much as I call myself a writer I do find writing blog articles difficult. A blog can be an intensely personal thing. I don’t mind being open about who I am, and even talking about my failures and shortcomings, such as my being a university dropout and someone who lives everyday with ADHD, a very difficult to control learning disability. The difficult part is finding a balance between writing something and staying on topic as opposed to writing about something and making it nothing but a “look at me and how beautificent I am!” post. I’m not interested in writing (or reading) those types of blog entries. If I talk about myself it’s with the hope that it emphasizes or clarifies something else in the entry.

I like to think that being open and honest might help someone reading the blog articles I post deal with a similar situation in their life. For example, when I wrote about Idle No More, I was subsequently asked to speak about issues facing Aboriginals in Canada. After one such talk, one which I talked about the ongoing affect of the Residential Schools on Aboriginal families (including my own), I had a woman tell me that for the first time she felt the strength to publicly talk about her and her family’s experiences in Residential Schools. As I titled my first-ever Shaneism, “big things have small beginnings”.

I don’t expect this blog to set the world on fire. If it gets some notoriety, or a reputation as somewhere that is both informative and entertaining, I’d be perfectly all right with that. This is simply a small corner of the interweb to call my own, a place where I can comment on how I see the world around me, and what is affecting me at the moment.

As I look over what I’ve written about in the past year I can safely say that predicting what’s on tap for the 2014 version of Shaneisms isn’t something I can really predict. It’s really rather like trying to predict what 2014’s fads and memes will be (much twerking, many foxes, so doge… wow).

I will predict this though: as much as I know I’ll have days where my brain goes on vacation the moment I sit down to write something, I’m looking forward to writing about whatever it is I’ve gotten myself mixed up in next. And I hope you will join me for the ride.

For now, thanks for reading, and here’s wishing you and yours the very best for 2014.

Now… since I’ve gotten a good head of steam built up, I should probably go work on some of those unfinished Shaneisms. After all, one should always finish what one sta