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A leopard has adorned this accesspage, this homepage, of my website for the last 13 years. The leopard is an opportunistic, single and versatile hunter; it is often used in heraldry, on coats of arms in tracing geneology and to indicate a particular ancestry. My first use of a leopard on this opening page of my website was largely accidental, but its use has proved fortuitous. When my son, Daniel, and I were creating the second edition of this website more than a dozen years ago in 2001, a photo of a leopard was available. We stuck it in to provide a visual stimulus. I kept the image in this website's 3rd edition, and again in the 4th edition as part of my introduction, my homepage. Perhaps, as this website enters its 5th edition in the coming years, I may change this photo, and the several others. My website design company, Design Studio of Mosman NSW, added these photos 3 years ago. Time will tell what eventuates in future editions of my website.
The leopard is the smallest of the four "big cats," the others being the lion, tiger and jaguar. What follows at this site is a collection of writings from an animal who, like the leopard, is quite solitary or, should I say has become more solitary with age. I have developed, like the leopard, what I like to think is an agile and versatile, opportunistic and stealthy style, an ability to adapt, again like the leopard, to many habitats. Like the leopard, though, I do not always catch my prey. Even after more than half a century of hunting: (a) for my survival and (b) for the simple pleasures of the hunt, I still do not always win in the hunt and gather process. In the many modern forms of hunting and gathering, quite idiosyncratic to each individual, I do not always catch my prey.
My hunting and gathering activities, of course, have been psychological and metaphorical. Hunting and gathering has characterized most of the historical timeline of the human species. Since the agricultural revolution in about 10,000 BP and, more recently, since the industrial revolution of the last two-and-a-half centuries, to say nothing of the many revolutions of the last 150 years, human existence has been transformed far beyond what it was like for the many millennia of our hunting and gathering history, indeed, for most of our existence as homo sapiens sapiens.
My habitats were, for decades, mainly social ones, although there has always been a strong element of the solitary in my habitation since I was an only child of older parents back in the 1940s. My father was 55 when I was born, and my mother 40. I learned early, by the late 1940s, to occupy myself pleasantly without the need for human interaction with play-mates. The places I came to occupy, though, beginning in those 1940s, were increasingly those involving physical activity and the social, academic and increasingly literary habitats. As I entered the last years of middle age(55-59), and the first decade(60-70) of late adulthood, the years from 60 to 80 according to some human development psychologists, my lifestyle became very academic and literary and, as in those years of my early childhood, very solitary.
Like the leopard I eat meat but, unlike the leopard, I do not climb trees, at least not any more, not since the early 1950s when, in the years of my middle childhood the ages from 6 to 12---again according to one of the many models of human development in the lifespan---I used to climb cherry trees, among other types of trees, near my home in southern Ontario Canada, in what is known as the Golden Horseshoe. Nor do I ever eat humans. The leopard and I also part company in that I write poetry and prose.
THIS LEOPARD AND ME
Leopards can be observed in their private habitats and I, too, welcome visitors to mine. Except for the snow leopard, the leopard is a relatively abundant species. Ron Prices are also abundant and over 4000 of them can now be found in cyberspace: some of notoriety, and many with significant degrees of talent and achievement. Although these other Ron Prices are neither nameless nor traceless among the burgeoning billions now on our planet they, like most other human beings, make only a very small mark on history's woodpile, the immense landscape of climatic and vegetation, soil and population-density regions covering our planet. This virtual anonymity has been the case with most humans who have ever lived. This is still the case even with cyberspace giving some degree of publicity to millions of men and women.
Like the snow leopard, though, my life is increasingly endangered as I head into the late evening of my life & the inevitability of death. All of us, all humans, have lives which are endangered since we are all going to die. Some will die sooner and some later, but all with an inevitability and certitude. I have no desire to live beyond 100, and certainly not as long as the proverbial Methuselah. But, given the advances in modern medicine and my increasing interest in health, exercise, and what some call 'personal hygiene factors', I think I stand a good chance. Of course, "no man knoweth what and when his own end shall be", wrote some poet.
According to the Hebrew Bible, Methuselah is purported to be the oldest person to have ever lived. Extra-biblical tradition maintains that he died at the age of 969, seven days before the beginning of the Great Flood. Methuselah was the son of Enoch and the grandfather of Noah. The meaning of Methuselah's age has engendered considerable speculation, but no widely accepted conclusions. These speculations can be discussed under four categories and their combinations: literal, mistranslation, symbolic, and fictional interpretations. If there is to be another great flood, which many 'time-of-the-enders', and people concerned with many varieties of apocalypticism, keep talking about, I would be quite happy to make my exit Methuselah-like. I often think another Great Flood has already begun, but I leave such speculations to readers with Biblical enthusiasms, and interest in catastrophes, past, present and future.
HOMO SAPIENS SAPIENS
The human species, such is my view, is on its way in the centuries ahead to a Golden Age, a future that is unimaginably glorious in spite of appearances to the contrary at this juncture in history. That process has already begun. Some appearances even now are distinctly utopian compared to what life was like for most people until recent times: nasty, brutish and short, according to the 16th century philosopher Thomas Hobbes. As the famous French philosopher, paleontologist and geologist Teilhard de Chardin(1881-1955), whose works were condemned by the Holy Office, has argued, it is the utopians who are the realists. Chardin was thinking here of the unbelievably vast changes that have taken place since humans lived in caves & hunted like that leopard mentioned above, & not so long ago as geological & archeological time flies. Chardin also tended to be on the side of utopia and not oblivion.
KNITTING THE WORLD TOGETHER
I take deep satisfaction, and much personal delight, from the advances in society that have been made in the last 150 years, the lifetimes of my generation, the generation of my parents, my grandparents, and my great-grandparents. Since, say, Darwin's Origin of the Species(1859), and Einstein's publications at the turn of the 20th century, as well as a host of other contributors to our knowledge since the middle of the 19th century, and especially contributors to science and technology, human life in the developed world has been transformed. I take a particular and quite personal pleasure from the processes that have been knitting together the peoples and nations of the world, again, in spite of appearances to the contrary. From the telegraph in the middle of the 19th century, to the internet at the end of the 20th and early 21st, the tyranny of distance has been overcome, at least for some if not for the entire human race as yet. The issues and questions in relation to this subject, this process and progress, and the very meaning of history, of course, are complex. I deal with a great many of these issues and questions, among a vast array of subjects in various ways at this website.
In some ways my eventual, my long-range, aim at this website is to have, arranged in this one place, the central, the main, some of the many thousands, the components of knowledge and experience that have made up my lifetime, my lifespan. It is a lifetime that has been marked, almost year by year, by things of significance. Some of the things I discuss are significant to others, and some have meaning and purpose only to me. I see this whole website apparatus, indeed, I experience it as a single thing, but a single thing only in the sense that a galaxy is a single thing, when seen from a distance.
GALAXIES AND ME
In the following paragraphs I compare myself and my life to a galaxy. Much is known about a galaxy, and much is unknown. A galaxy is a massive, gravitationally bound system. The older I live, the more massive becomes the quantity, the details, the unnumbered events in my life. A galaxy consists of stars, stellar remnants, an interstellar medium of gas and dust, as well as dark matter. Dark matter is an important, but poorly understood, component of a galaxy. My life, now more than 70 years of existence, also contains much 'dark matter' as well as 'much light'. We all carry with us through our days a higher self and a lower self, selves which I discuss in some detail in this autobiographical website as I analyse my life, my society, and much else.
The word galaxy is derived from the Greek word 'galaxias' meaning literally "milky", a reference to the Milky Way. Types of galaxies range from dwarfs, with as few as ten million stars, to giants with a hundred trillion stars, each orbiting their galaxy's own center and its mass. There is a great deal of my life that orbits around my central mass of some 235 to 240 pounds, with a body-mass index of 33, and on a frame of 5 feet and 11 inches. Ideas, thoughts, concepts, actions, motivations, emotions, attitudes, loves, likes and dislikes, passions and prejudices, indeed, a vast array of abstract and quite concrete stuff is part and parcel of my galaxy.
Galaxies have been historically categorized according to their apparent shape, usually referred to as their visual morphology. Galaxies come in three main types: ellipticals, spirals, and irregulars. So, too, can people be categorized by body shape and type: ectomorph, endomorph, or mesomorph. There are also three separate body types in men: the thyroid, pituitary and adrenal types. I am a combination of several of these types. The majority of galaxies are organized into a hierarchy of associations known as groups and clusters, which, in turn usually form larger superclusters. So, too, is my life, my individual life, like a galaxy, organized into a hierarchy of associations. I have belonged to many groups and clusters of people: families, employment, volunteer and interest groups, local, regional and national groups. My supercluster is humanity itself.
Although I now have millions of readers, something quite unimaginable until the early years of this 21st century, few of those who visit my website and my writings in cyberspace, actually come into my literary habitat, my study here in this little town in Tasmania. When they do, I can not show them 'my etchings.' What one writes is not like what one draws, paints or sculpts. Words on a page are for the private delectation of readers in their private spaces and, increasingly, in public and electronic spaces. My words can be observed by the millions on the internet for those who are interested.
Collectors from charitable organizations, and those who have some cause to tell me about, come to my door. The only ones who come in the door, and not just to the door, are a few family members and friends. Occasionally a big crowd comes into my home, family gatherings or a big Baha'i group, but not nearly as often as big crowds once did. As I say, my life-style, my modus vivendi, is much more solitary now, a suitable one for the full-time writer and author, poet and publisher, as well as the online blogger and journalist which I have become. If I want a bit of social contact, like some residue from the more than half a century of wall-to-wall people in my life, I go for a short walk and visit a friend. In this respect I am much like my grandfather on my mother's side. I remember him well in the evening of his life, and in the childhood which was mine back in the 1950s. Reading and going for walks with an occasional appearance at family gatherings was his modus operandi, as I remember it in those 1950s. This way of living is largely mine as I head into my 70s in less than 5 months, on 23 July 2014.
MY CAMOUFLAGE AND MY READERSHIP
The camouflage of the leopard makes sightings rare. I, too, have a certain camouflage or protection that takes the form of my books as well as my hard copy and electronic files, my prose and poetry, my many intellectual pursuits: learning and the cultural attainments of the mind. But all is not camouflage at this site. Readers will come across a mild confessionalism, a confessionalism to partly satisfy curiosity and whet the whistle of readers. It is also a moderate confessionalism that goes hand-in-hand with my autobiography and memoirs.
Readers will find at this site a wide range of subject matter, causes to which I am committed and interests in which I have been engaged, some for decades. Readers can access this content by clicking on the subject titles at the top of this page or by scrolling down and clicking on the topics below. Of course, it could be said that the more topics, or the more strings to a writer's bow, or anyone's bow for that matter, that a person has, the smaller the feathers in their cap must be.
Hopefully, readers with an interest in one or more of these sections or sub-sections, one of these small feathers, one or more of my concerns or enthusiasms, one or more of my interests or the causes to which I have been involved with most of my life in various ways, can get that same curiosity satisfied, those same whistles whetted. Given the burgeoning quantities of information now available on every conceivable topic on the internet, I will only gain a coterie of the 2 billion users who now come into cyberspace. I have millions of readers after 20 years in cyberspace, after engaging in what are called search engine optimization techniques, and after registering at over 8000 web sites. Whatever need I once had for recognition, for a readership, has been satisfied to the full. I write now largely for pleasure and, if readers come along, that is a bonus. I don't mind bonuses, especially of that sort. Given the immense variety of content found at this site, I should like to think that there is no such thing as a shallow subject, only a shallow treatment of it. In the more than 90 major sub-divisions of content, a certain shallowness is inevitable for an academic generalist like myself, a shallowness from the point of view of specialists and experts in those many and various fields of knowledge.
Readers who spend much time at this website will come across, again and again, my optimiism, not only about myself, but my world, and especially the Baha'i community which I have been part of, in one way or another, for more than 60 years. Even when I describe the awfulness of existence for billions of people in this 7.2 billion world, and the tragedy of much of history, I present readers with an optimism that is sometimes like subtle background music, and sometimes like an insistent drumbeat. But through it all, with each word—perhaps as evidence of a person who is certain of his message and the basis of his optimism—I try never to shout. Even when I feel a sense of certitude, a measure of doubt often accompanies what I write for I am more than a little conscious that the feeling one is right is not the same as being right. Such a view that one is right and the other person is wrong contributes to much that is a problem in society.
The voice of the intellect for me, if not for all those who are thinkers and who are intellectually inclined, is a soft one. I consider that I have many responsibilities, but none greater than this: "to last", as the famous American writer Ernest Hemingway once said, "and get my work done." I want to be and I try to be, as another famous writer James Baldwin once said, an honest man and a good writer.
MY ANNUAL EMAIL AND AUTOBIOGRAPHY
To read more of this introductory, this access, page of my website go to:http://www.ronpriceepoch.com/welcome.html For my annual email for 2011 readers can go to the sub-section of this site entitled 'Autobiography' at: http://www.ronpriceepoch.com/auto.html That annual email has received more than 1700 hits since it went online on 3/12/'11. All these hits more than justify my placing it on the internet. Having that many hits is a modest figure, though, in a world where many successful sites get millions of hits. Realising that fame, celebrity status and wealth will always elude me, I write for many other reasons having to do with things like: the sheer pleasure of writing, the desire to communicate with others, my general health problems which limit my physical activity and socializing, and a host of other reasons, reasons I write about at many places in cyberspace, both on this my website and at dozens of sites in cyberspace.
If I did not get as much pleasure from the act of writing and reading, I'd work in the garden with my wife, do more cooking and cleaning, and invest my enthusiasms in sport and watching TV, as well as some fancy or not-so-fancy, expensive or not-so-expensive, hobby apparatus. I'd also occupy myself with a variety of forms of entertainment and educating myself with my several interests as is the occupation and lifestyle of millions and billions now on the planet.
I keep the summer edition of my annual email/letter for 2012-2013 available at: http://mnemotechnics.org/blogs/ronprice/summer-edition-of-ron-prices-annual-email-for-201213-3113.html That annual email for 2012-2013 updated the details about my family and my general activities that I reported in my annual email for 2011-2012. There is no need to repeat all the details that were found in that 2011-2012 annual communication again. My 2013-2014 annual email/letter has moved on to other topics and subjects, as well as updating that previous year's email. By June 2013 my annual email for 2011-2012 had received more than 2200 hits, making a total of some 5000 hits for my three annual emails sent in the 18 month period 3/12/11 to 3/6/'13. My annual emails have also been at sites with no counters for over a year now, and so I can not accurately quantify the number of hits which my annual posts receive. By June 2013 trying to quantify the number of hits my annual emails had received was, in part at least, guesswork.
In summary, then: readers wanting information about my family and my daily life can obtain those details at my 4 annual emails for 2011-2012, 2012-2013, 2013-2014, and 2014-2015. This last annual email was updated on 3/3/'14 with the end of summer in the Antipodes a little more than two weeks away. The 4th edition of my annual email for 2013-2014, which has already had 1000 hits, is found at this link:http://www.my-diary.org/read/d/465760 Readers need to scroll-down the left side of the access page at that link, and then go to the posts for: 2011, 2012, and 2013. For those who actually enjoy my writing, I wish you happy traveling through my annual emails and at the many sub-sections of this website, as well as wherever else you come across my writing at some 8000+ of cyberspace's sites. For those who just want to dabble and surf-about, there is plenty of stuff here for you. For those who have already had enough, I wish you a fond farewell.
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