A chronicle of my pilgrimage around the United States.

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(or 'How I Tuned-up My Tired Overeducated Soul')
The air is just right in gloomy gray Seattle today.

The air is just right in gloomy gray Seattle today.

"Cowardice is feeble submission to a restrictive status quo… Cowards lack the strength to rise above the lives that were dictated to them."

- Marietta McCarty, summarizing Wollstonecraft’s “A Vindication of the Rights of Women”

"Choice and Ownership

People are more motivated when they have more control over their environment. In an experiment documented by Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman, which has since been repeated many times, half the participants in a lottery were given random numbers. The other half were given pieces of paper and could write whatever numbers they wished.

Researchers then offered to purchase the tickets. They found that they had to pay those who wrote their own numbers five times what they had to pay those who were given numbers. In other words, experiments have found that having the ability to choose for ourselves makes us five times more committed to — and invested in — the outcome than if someone else chooses for us.

A different and very recent study reemphasizes the importance of choice in the classroom for most students. Researchers found that power and choice were interchangeable, since both deal with the issue of control; having more of one could compensate for having less of the other."

- Larry Ferlazzo

Of the will ; As we will

There are two types of freedom:

Freedom of the will.

Freedom to do as we will.

They’re generally thought of as the same thing, but the former doesn’t exist and the latter is absolutely essential to human well-being.

How sweet it would be if I found I could fly / Well I’d soar to the sun and look down at the sea /
And I’d sing cause I know how it feels to be free

How sweet it would be if I found I could fly / Well I’d soar to the sun and look down at the sea /
And I’d sing cause I know how it feels to be free

Life is a death trap.

Ignoble Fear

"We fear all evils, e.g. disgrace, poverty, disease, friendlessness, death, but the brave man is not thought to be concerned with all; for to fear some things is even right and noble, and it is base not to fear them- e.g. disgrace; one who fears this is good and modest, and one who does not is shameless…

The one who faces and who fears the right things and from the right motive, in the right way and from the right time, and who feels confidence under the corresponding conditions, is brave; for the brave man feels and acts according to the merits of the case… “

-Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics Book III

Fear is such a pejorative term. Nobody wants to be held within the confines of fear, and yet I think we all recognize that it has such a powerful influence in the sphere of human decision-making. If we’re honest with ourselves, then it shouldn’t be hard to see how it influences our own actions.

What would it be like to live a life completely devoid of fear?

If I were to speak for myself, I should say that this life would be very short. Most likely it would end with the crackling sound of a helmet on pavement.

As a motorcyclist I often have to come to terms with the question How can you justify riding a motorcycle when it is so dangerous? Of course the standard response often suffices: How could I justify living my life in fear? But this gives the impression that the decision to ride is a decision to be fearless, which it isn’t.

Again, perhaps I should just speak for myself. I find that riding still scares me… sometimes a lot. There are days where, while riding, I am suddenly gripped by an inexplicable fear—that something might go wrong, that this might be the stretch of road that does me in. Other times I just get scared when I’m surrounded by traffic, or when things get dicey and I have a passenger on the back. This fear is healthy, I think. It is perfectly reasonable and it is impossible to deny. This fear also keeps me on my toes. It has pushed me to wear a jacket when it seems inconvenient, or to slow down through a curve when I know I can probably take it a little faster. I want to embrace this fear. It keeps me alive and it keeps me well.

What then is the sort of fear that I don’t want to embrace? The kind that I’ve spent so much time writing about?

It’s the kind of fear that is not at the forefront of anyone’s mind, rather it is so normal we’ve become accustomed to its influence. The kind of fear which keeps you content with dead ends because “the pursuit of what you really want is worth delaying for one more day of security”… day after day after day… It masks itself as laziness, it feeds voraciously on avoidance, and it emerges as unrelenting anxiety.

To strive to be fearless is foolish. I know that throughout my life there are going to be times when I am deathly afraid. So when I read Aristotle I feel prompted to ask: When I am afraid, will I react in a way that flows from my true character, or will I simply aim to avoid pain and hardship?

Warm up time.

Warm up time.

Quality thoughts on what makes riding, and riding cross-country specifically, so great. Losing self-consciousness, feeling empowered, creating space for becoming the people we want to be.

Spent some time with this beast yesterday.

Spent some time with this beast yesterday.