Friday, December 21, 2012

Comments now restricted

Lately, my blogging activity has been dominated so much by spammed comments that I have decided to impose restrictions on who can comment. Hopefully, that will help.

I am however still quite interested in why anyone would take the trouble to create so many fake comments. So far, I have come up with the following possible explanations:

1. Free advertising: each of the comments also includes a link, and an invitation to visit the site referred to. That idea would however had seemed more likely if there had been a discernible pattern (a link between the various links), but I cannot seem to find any.

2. Someone is trying to collapse the system by generating too much traffic. Again, not very likely, and certainly not very effective.

3. Google itself is trying to get people to do what I just did: restrict traffic voluntarily, but imposing restrictions on who gets to comment. Again, very unlikely.

4. Some nutcase has it in for bloggers in general, or certain bloggers. Possible, but not very effective: all he or she has achieved is waste a little bit of my time.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Unhappiness and achievement

I just got a lot of hits on an entry about the relationship between happiness and expectations, the main gist of which is that having reasonable expectations is an essential part of being happy. I think this is true, but what then to do about the fact that most progress is made by people who are unhappy about something. Or, in the words of George Bernard Shaw:

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."

The problem is that I want to both have and eat my cake: I want to be happy (which means having reasonable expectations, and adapting) but there are still things I would want to change (i.e. progress). So the trick is finding the balance, both individually and as society as a whole. And the two are closely intertwined, because my happiness depends to a significant degree on the happiness (or at least contentment) of others, at many different levels, from the happiness of people who live in the same house as I do, to the next-door neighbors, to the other people in the town, city, or country, and even extending to other countries: if people cannot find what they need of want (food, shelter, basic freedoms) where they live, they will go looking for it elsewhere.

But it would be unreasonable of me to expect to be able to make any real change to the situation in other countries: the West has been trying to do that for many many years now, with only marginal or temporary success (if indeed you can call it that, because we seem to have succeeded mostly in exporting our ways of doings things, which is not necessarily the right solution everywhere on the globe). What we can do is try to change ourselves, and to a much lesser extent our surroundings, in a way that will increase happiness, bit by bit, and without overreaching.  Or, to put in in the words of Bob Wiley (Bill Murray) in "What About Bob?" quoting his reluctant analyst, Dr. Leo Marvin (Richard Dreyfuss): Baby steps.

I would write more, but I have a headache, so I am going to have to take baby steps just to get through the day.