Wednesday, 21 January 2015

I think it is time for me to resign ....

What inspires people who want to resign from a voluntary group, or even from a subscription paying group, to do so by just "wondering off into the sunset" without so much as a goodbye. A brief explanation - that doesn't always have to be the 100% unvarnished truth - really isn't a lot to ask but it seems to be entirely beyond some people. Electronic communication is so quick and easy that it literally only takes a few minutes to update fellow members about your latest plans.

Those left behind can be put in a very difficult position when a previously reliable member simply stops attending meetings. Is the person ill? Has some horrible domestic crisis overtaken them? Or have they just got bored with what was on offer? Feedback from departing members can be a "useful wake up call" to even the smallest group and should be both solicited and acted upon.

Inspired by the above this is what I posted today.

"I think it is time for me to resign from XXX.

I'm not sure what the point of online forums is anymore.  I agree that while I have sometimes gained new information or a new perspective I do not believe they have ever really moved me, on their own, to reconsider a moral or a scientific position. 

True, it is possible to expand on one's ideas - but to what end?  Most people come with their set of views and then endlessly bang them up against everyone else's. I could keep on complaining at the way some professional astronomers misuse results from amateur colleagues but if you are one of the "sinners" in your everyday life how likely are you really to change your behaviour because of my postings? 

I still have quite a craving to raise my concerns - perhaps I need to find some other avenue that is more effective?  Perhaps my desire to speak up needs to be directed towards the wider scientific community? I'm not certain - but what I do know is that doing nothing isn't an option.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Different pathways - to the same end?

On Wednesdays Claire and I usually go walking in the hills around Church Stretton with other members of the "Walking for Health" group.

We always start and end at the same place but there are many routes, of varying length and complexity, that are available for the Walk Leader to choose from. Life is rather like that isn't it? Sometimes a person comes to a fork in the "road of life" and they need to pause for a moment to decide what route to take.

In the past I have sometimes stared at the signpost conveniently standing by the fork for too long. Somerset in the late 1980s and Northamptonshire in the late 1990s are two prime examples. As the years go by the time I have left on this small planet rotating around a rather run-of-the-mill star decreases and so the luxury of "signpost staring" becomes less and less affordable.

Looking down the different paths as I arrived at a junction sometimes gave me a clue about the advisability of going down a particular route. The path labelled Belgian Philatelic Study Circle had an ogre standing in plain sight a few steps from where I was standing so I didn't waste my time or energy investigating what was on offer behind the librarian!

I have also seen long and tortuous paths that clearly ended in a dead end. The opening section was smooth and level but the further I looked the rougher and narrower the path became. Of course I haven't always avoided the steepest paths. I went down the routes labelled "adult mentor" and "school governor" with some caution but the journey was made easier thanks to the stairway constructed by Appreciation and Making a Difference PLC.

As I write this I am standing on a path labelled Ragleth Writers. The path has suddenly become much rougher and steeper and it feels like Appreciation and Making a Difference PLC have gone walk-about. Some of my fellow travellers have shown themselves to have feet of clay and that has left me wondering if the journey is worth the risk.