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I Like to Mix and Match

A couple of Muses

One of these has got to be my Muse!?!

Yeah. I know. I missed posting the other day. I spent a lot of time creating and writing the first post for a new blog I created for a client. Have you tried to create an engaging and useful blog site for a Dry Cleaners? I believe I can (and have begun to) do it, but it ain’t a walk in the park, if you get my drift. Besides that, my muse decided to take a little vacation. I’ve been talking to it a lot lately, trying to convince him/her to stick around for extended periods of time, but I don’t always seem to get through to her/him.

Anyway, I suggested I would write a bit about why I’ve made the – perhaps – dangerous choice to mix my personal blogging in with my professional blogging. Actually, though I haven’t as yet done so, I plan on mixing in political blogging and, come to think of it, I’ve pretty much tipped my hand when it comes to religion . . . though I may yet have some surprises in store.

I have elsewhere discussed my purpose for starting this particular blog and why I named it Systems Savvy. I’m not exactly circling around to what my original intention was, as my plan is a bit broader than what I originally set out to do. What I am doing, however, is not only recognizing the systemic nature of the physical world, or that of the economy, society, and the entities that form bonds that keep things going, but also of my own life; me as a system and me as a system embedded in larger, more complex systems.

What I’m getting at is I am not defined by any one aspect of my life. I have diplomas to signify my completion of particular courses of study, but my education has been continuous and diverse. You can’t define me with a couple of initials at the end of my name. Neither can I be defined by any of the numerous positions I’ve held over the years at literally dozens of companies, some of which I either owned or was a partner in.

I have some pretty well-defined political and religious beliefs. Some might call me opinionated . . . but they’re clearly assholes :). Regardless, none of my “beliefs” or opinions are set in concrete. I like to think I am both intellectually curious and doctrinally malleable. I strive to be scientific in all that I do and in all my thinking about what makes the world go ’round.

Me and my alter ego

Me and my evil twin

I have a personal logo I designed, at the suggestion of Ross Dawson, that seeks to represent my philosophy to some extent. It consists of a pair of head-shots of me – one positive, the other negative – juxtaposed on top of the yin yang symbol. This represents my understanding* of the dialectic; the tension and resolution of opposite tendencies in the world and in human relationships.

All to say . . . I have presented myself as a compartmentalized, semi-one-dimensional person for most of my life. This is what was asked of me and what I gave in the belief it was necessary to survive and thrive. I still believe it worked fairly well for me and probably does for most people in today’s political and social climate. I have no intention of continuing along those lines. I’m still struggling for the right voices to use to present my stories, but I am bound and determined to present what I believe my life has been about and the direction I intend for it to take in the time I have remaining.

Two days ago marked the second anniversary of my retirement from Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. I’ve been reconciling myself with the reality that life wasn’t going to proceed along the path I had expected for an awful lot of years; learning to deal with the changing circumstances. I’ve been on this path for a while and expect to constantly refine – and redefine – it as time goes by. I have my moments of despair, primarily over wondering if I’m going to be able to replace the income I lost as a result of my retirement but, for the most part, I’m having a ball.

Stay tuned if you’re interested. I do want to be read. However, a large part of my impetus for doing this is my desire to leave a trail for my children to follow in understanding their father and why he did what he did. Having become a first-time, adoptive father at the age of 55 (and again at 59), I have no illusion that I’ll live long into my children’s adult lives. This is just in case I don’t get to have the conversations with them I’d like to.


* On 17 May 2012 I changed the word “knowledge” to “understanding” with respect to the concept of “the dialectic”. I did this as, in accordance with Professor Russell Ackoff‘s “spectrum of learning“, I wished to convey the thought not merely that I have knowledge of the existence of the dialectic, but I believe I have a reasonably well-developed understanding of how it works in the world as well. Whether I have the wisdom yet to apply that understanding well . . . remains to be seen.

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About Rick Ladd

Born in 1947, I was an officially retired pensioner, but in January of 2015 I returned to work as a contractor at Aerojet Rocketdyne. I remain intensely interested in, and fascinated by, Systems Thinking, Knowledge Management, Decision Intelligence, and Business in general. I am also conversant in such concepts as innovation and ideation, collaborative tools and strategies, crowd sourcing, and the use of social media to accomplish goals ranging from improving business processes to promoting small retail businesses. While "retired" I did a little bit of freelancing as an editor/proofreader, as well as some technical writing. There's lots more where that came from. Need some help? Perhaps another set of eyes? Contact me. The first one's free! ;0) View all posts by Rick Ladd

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