That is not easy. I ride my bike all the time. (Yep. Really.) I compost. I grow my own vegetables in the summer and support my farmers’ market and CSA (both of which, thankfully, run through Thanksgiving). But I ask my self, “Am I making a difference?”
The same mantra applies to this blog. In the almost seven years since I started blogging, my readership has grown and not just among evaluators (though certainly among them). I regularly get posts that tell me that if I provide something that is interesting, enlightening, creative, informative, (you get the idea…) that I am making a difference because I blog. Yet, I look at the state of the world and wonder.
Gandhi’s seven dangers to human virtue (called by Wikipedia the Seven Social Sins) come to mind. (The title listed below is not mine.)
The political systems in the world (at least in the US) seem to be broken (see number 7); large scale destruction happens both humon made (e.g., the shooting in Orlando, the destruction in the middle east) (see number 3 and 6) and nature driven (e.g., hurricane, tsunami, earthquake, fire) (see number 3, 4, 5); and then there is all the rest (e.g., climate change, fracking, species extinction, poverty, hunger) (see number 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) . I have to wonder. Can I make a difference with one little blog?
Yet, I keep on (and not because I was told to blog; I find I enjoy blogging). I blog. I tie my blog to evaluation. It is a form of speaking truth to power. It is a form of Satyagraha (from the Sanskrit “words satya [meaning “truth”] and Agraha [“insistence”, or “holding firmly to”]. Everyday, people evaluate, even if those evaluations cannot be considered rigorous by academics. The difference is that everyday people do not (cannot?) articulate the criteria that they use. Everyone has criteria. Not everyone articulates those criteria. That is the difference between evaluating everyday and evaluating as a professional. Professional evaluators have guiding principles, criteria. By teaching people to be critical (by example, by practice), I think I can make a difference. So I continue.