Unexpected Consequences…REALLY???

philadelphia 6

By Kenneth Justice

~ In just a few hours I leave to Madison, Wisconsin, the latest stop on my yearlong Drinking in the Culture Tour. As I’ve been saying all week, when I began this year long tour of coffee shops around the Western World I honestly didn’t know what to expect;

—) Would bloggers and readers come out to meet me?

—) What would we even talk about if people did come to the coffee shops?

—) Would the entire year be an abysmal failure?

Now, with my upcoming 5th stop on the U.S. portion of my tour, all of those concerns have fallen to the wayside as readers and fellow bloggers have responded with such warmth that each weekend I find myself humbled to be received by so many of you.

Even in places where I’ve only met up with 3 or 4 fellow bloggers, the conversation has been so dynamic and intellectually stimulating that smaller groups merely enhanced how wonderful the experience has been for me.

The bottom-line is that as our culture moves toward greater levels of triviality…..people find themselves wanting more depth,

—) we don’t want to simply talk about silly Facebook status updates

—) we don’t want to listen to the latest office gossip

—) we aren’t satisfied with conversations about nothing

The Western World is filled with triviality. During a conversation with someone in Philadelphia last weekend they told me, “as I get older I’m realizing more and more that I want depth in my life”. This doesn’t mean that we are all going to go home and read Plato or Socrates; for each of us we will find different avenues to pursue depth. For some of us it could be poetry, art, philosophy, theology, or fill-in-the-blank. There is something in our soul that craves something more out of life than merely sitting at home and zoning out in front of the television.

We want to be a part of a conversation, a larger conversation with many different people where we really talk about the things that matter most.

Perhaps what is most surprising to me is how much my readers and fellow bloggers are affecting me. Both with your comments to my articles and the things you share with me face-to-face as we sit across at coffee. You are changing me for the better. You are giving me ideas I’ve never thought about, and you’re challenging me to consider things that I’ve never contemplated.

In any given day I might read a comment that stirs my soul by a Christian pastor like Mel Wild or a thought by an agnostic like Mikels that challenges me to really think over a matter. Each of you are helping me revaluate where I myself am going in life and what I hope to accomplish in the future.

For now, I’m not making too many big life altering decisions, I’m merely trying to breathe and make it through one day at time. But as I reflect on the first month of my Drinking in the Culture Tour I’m beginning to realize that this year is changing me in ways I hadn’t expected and the future is now becoming a lot bigger than I had ever realized before.

Most importantly, I’m seeing firsthand how big the blogging world really is. Do you write articles about fashion? Do you post your poetry? Do you talk about politics, religion, or do you simply upload a copy of your most recent painting each morning?

The blogging world is a massive world filled with people that have a plethora of skills. All of us from so many different walks of life have been joined together in a way that never could have been imagined 100 years ago, hell; nobody could of imagined the way we are connected together even 20 years ago!

And so that alone makes me marvel at the possibility of what the future may hold. Perhaps there is a next step in the world of the blogosphere. What it is I’m not really sure. But I suspect that as each of us continues expressing our passion through blogging the possibilities of what awaits us could be bigger than any of us could imagine.

Just a few thoughts as I sipped my tea this morning. I direly miss my morning coffee but I am still resting my voice for my arrival to Wisconsin in less than 24 hours. If you live in or near Madison, Wisconsin I’d love to have coffee with you! The locations are posted on my homepage or just send me an email and we can connect.


Categories: Culture & Society

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44 replies

  1. I think your coffee shop tour is a wonderful idea and I’m so pleased to see it’s working out so well 🙂 I think you’re right about seeking depth in our lives too. I find myself getting more and more frustrated with the way in which, certain parts, of Western civilisation is developing and have more and more drive to seek that depth you’re talking about and seek experience and stretch the boundaries of what I thought I could do as a person. Excellent post thank you 🙂

    • Thank you for the great comment…,… there definitely seems to be so much about our culture that is frustrating and I think the only thing that can make things better is for a national discussion to keep taking place; to keep talking about these issues 🙂

    • I think that’s a good outlook on the situation, more talk means more awareness and more awareness hopefully means discussion and efforts put towards moving in a positive direction 🙂

  2. I think the need for conversations with depth has always been the case. The problem with FB is that it is awash with, as you say, triviality. But this is also the case with the media. Television is a prime culprit with shows which tap into the voyeur in us all. They also are sleeping tablets for the masses, a commentary Anthony Burgess made through the mouth of his protagonist in Clockwork Orange.

    It is heartening to know your tour has been so well received.

    • “television is prime culprit with shows which tap into the voyeur in us all”

      Well said Talia, and wow what an awesome analogy from Clockwork Orange. Its been so many years since I saw that film, you sent my mind reeling with that!

    • Kenneth it wasn’t the film which ingrained its message so deeply. It was the book. Every time I read it I detected more of Burgess’s commentary about the world evolving. I wonder what he would have to say about FB.

  3. What a great project. Best of luck in all your travels and in the pursuit of depth.

  4. I have been watching some videos made by some blogging environmentalists. I believe that this personal approach to journalism is helping the public to be right there in a public hearing or protest. See The Nightly Citizen on Facebook.
    I think that your tour shows all readers that we are a community and that people that need our help are right down our street.

    • Ellen, I love your comment. Journalism is evolving; its becoming an entity where you and I and the average citizen can be involved and make a difference 🙂

  5. Thank-you Kenneth. Greatly enjoying your daily journeying and journalling. Love the way outer worlds and inner worlds meet. I’m touched by how many discoveries are made, how many new landscapes explored all in the space of one coffee cup The abundance of simplicity. What a truly awesome wonderful world it is, all of the time. Really:)

  6. I once read somewhere that, if you have many interests, you shouldn’t write a book – you should write a blog. I wonder how many people make it into the world of blogging that way.

    I also think a lot of people retreat to the blog world in order to find depth. Most of the topics I discuss on my blog are things no one wants to hear IRL. They’re happy with petty gossip and simple topics. No one wants to think too hard. I suppose I still have that college student in me. I want to talk, discuss, learn and expand my view of the world.

    It just dawned on me as I wrote this that part of the reason I left my small town was because people there didn’t feel like thinking deeply about anything. I thought that would be different in an urban area, but I’m wrong. People don’t want to change the way they live or the way they think. Perhaps what’s really happening here is that you are pulling out all those rare people who are interested in these kinds of thought provoking discussions.

    • TK, you’ve got me thinking a million thoughts with that comment. Your SO right, people leave small towns thinking that life, intellectually stimulation, conversation will be so much better in the big city…. and then they get there and they realize, “damn, people here just want to sit around and watch TV too”. Its a crying a shame……

      Each weekend I’m hearing people tell me, “I don’t have these kind of conversations regularly with people, but I want to!”

    • We just don’t know how to find each other. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been told I’m “thinking too much” about a subject or “taking it too seriously.” After hearing it often enough, you stop having those kinds of conversations. Clearly the people around you don’t want to join. Thank God for blogging! It gives us a great outlet.

    • TK, how are you then drawing blog readers in to a depth of conversation? (Perhaps I should be reading much more what you have to say– apologies that I have not.)

      I have been blogging for 10 years, and maybe I’m just not finding the right people– I get plenty of comments on my day-to-day frustrations, but when I go deep and esoteric (mostly on the Hero’s Journey type of posts)– silence.

    • hmm… I guess it’s a matter of trial and error, really. I always try to write in a way that motivates people to express their opinions. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I try to see what’s similar about the posts that get the most feedback. I’ve haven’t nailed down a formula, to be honest.

    • Yeah, all right… maybe I’m in the wrong medium. I finally found a topic that I really like to write about, and I’d like to keep writing about it.

      I have other blogs and I could try other angles, but… I am tired. I hurt. The chronic pain just drains me. Perhaps in time I will figure it out, but not so much right now.

  7. Blogging is a great form. It is more immediate than publishing a book and that makes it more like an extension of conversation. That’s what I like about the balance in yours: you have real people talking and then reply to what you have heard. Some people come over as know-it-alls in their blogs, or get all fussy about grammar in the comments they leave, but they are people who need to learn how to join in this deep, respectful conversation that is going on. It is a good hum that starts me off most every morning with my coffee.

    • Fungalspore,

      You’ve made an incredibly important statement and one that I wholeheartedly agree with; one of the keys to blogging success is not coming across as a know-it-all. People want to have conversations, not to sit and listen to someone preach at them as though they are stupid…..

      Conversion is key! Awesome comment 🙂

  8. Our Goldfinches have ripened and turned bright yellow. One is sitting in the morning light outside my window.

    My mundane question for today…how do you travel between coffee tour locations?

  9. I started blogging because I wanted to find my voice. I think that’s the case for many of us. As for people wanting depth, I was thinking about this not that long ago concerning myself. I commented that a person’s 20’s is spent learning about themselves, and a person’s 30’s is spent learning about other people. At least, that has been my experience. Too often these days, I find myself muttering, “Slow down and do it right. Don’t cut corners.” This has been a subtle mantra for me for several months now.

    • ooooh, great point Kira, as we grow older we start to become more interested in doing things right; i.e. not cutting corners. We sort of get to a point where we don’t’ want to just fool around and have fun. We want to take a life a little bit more serious (while still staying young at heart) :0-)

    • I’m much more interested in quality now and understand its value more than I did in my 20’s.

  10. “connected together” Amen bloggy man!! Amen. Have another good ‘un. And may the voice be with you!!

  11. As usual, well said Kenneth! Enjoy your next stop. 🙂

  12. People don’t just want ‘depth’ in their lives, I think they want to feel passion. Not the passion of love. The passion of life. People want to find ongoing joy and happiness, not just the pleasure of a 5 minute Facebook thrill or the ‘like’ on their blog. They want that crazy zest for living which takes them places they’ve never been before, meeting people that make an impression and inspire them to be better than they are.

    People want to wake up in the morning looking forward to their day with a sense of joy and anticipation (instead of the same old grindstone or 2 minute thrill). They want real conversations about the things that matter to them. If not in reality, then online with kindred spirits.

    Of course there are those who are quite content with the mundane and the ordinary, as long as it’s their kind of mundane and ordinary.

  13. Hey Kenneth,

    The conversation on your site always rocks because it’s honest and respectful. Do we think people don’t want to have deep conversations about what matters or do we think they just don’t know how?

    Lord knows there aren’t many good role models out there for having respectful, deep, inclusive conversation. You won’t see it on TV or in DC. You rarely see it even through religions. Families hardly talk to nor another and instead pull out a phone.

    If people want to talk about the real stuff they don’t know where to go except to numb the desire with drugs, alcohol, food, work, what have you. I took a huge risk (well for me anyway) talking about my meditation and spirituality online but you know what? People in my real life are so intrigued. They seem relieved to know they can be vulnerable with me in a whole new way.

    Blogging authentically is connecting “regular” people all the time. It’s a quiet force of something very powerful.

    Safe travels, my dear 🙂

    Rock that creative goodness~ Allison

  14. Hopefully human intelligence takes over computers, develop and cherish human connection. Theory would be poor with out experience; you are experiencing unexpected depth of human soul and sharing the beauty of life.
    Good thing your’nt a singer. Enjoy your tea w/honey 😃

  15. I would love to sit down with you and chat sometime, Kenneth. Madison is in my neck of the woods but, alas, I have company coming tomorrow so it will have to be another time. Have a great trip to Cheese-land. Blessings.

  16. Safe travels and I really hope you are feeling better! Can’t wait to see how your weekend goes!

  17. What an awesome growing experience! I hope to be able to do that one day, travel the U.S. and meet in person those who frequently interact with me online; twitter, blog, etc. It’s always nice to put a face to a voice (or online personality in this case) but think of all you can learn from them. Everyone has a different story, we should take the time to learn as much as we can.

  18. For me it is painting, blogging, not as regularly as I wish…if I was in retirement, it would be quite different…:) and whenever I do have some spare time, reading others bloggers posts, a few are on my ‘must look’ list…you are. So have a beautiful ‘rest of your tour’, does it pass by Montreal?

  19. I haven’t read many write ups of the conversations you’re having. Don’t keep me curious!

  20. …something in our soul that desires more… Love that line.

  21. Many good thoughts in this post, as often the case with your coffee shops visits. Bloggers ask the same questions all over the blogosphere: we are all in for conversation, even virtual ones can be meaningful, and we are more and more distanced from quick, easy, “like” experiences. Good to read you as I sip my coffee.

  22. Thanks for the reflective journeys. I think you make a very valuable point about the thirst for depth in daily living. Looking forward to reading more from you 🙂

  23. While my blog may just be more of an art/cartoon one, I do reside in Madison and certainly wouldn’t mind the opportunity to meet other bloggers.

  24. I think it is incredible what you are doing and more importantly sharing it with everyone!! Doesn’t really surprise me with the way you have been received for many reasons!! Keep up what you’re doing and keep up the great writing….you are touching lives in many ways!!

  25. “people find themselves wanting more depth” Yep! 😉

  26. Culture Monk, when radio and T.V are no longer viable resources for information, the Spirit always finds a different path. I find that message in your blogs! Good luck in your experiences!!

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