Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

December 26, 2004


Filed under: — Different River @ 5:48 pm

“You could not step into the same river twice; for other waters are ever flowing on to you.”

Heraclitus, On the Universe
Greek philosopher (540 BC – 480 BC)

If you put your foot in a river, then take it out and put it back in, by the time you put it back the water your stepped in before has flowed downstream, and you are stepping in different water than you did before. If the water is what makes the river, you have stepped in a different river. Even more so, you are the product of your experiences, so by the time you put your foot back in the second time, you have experienced it before, so you are not the same person you were the first time.

So it is with life — things are always changing. Some things, of course, almost stay the same, because they change very slowly — like the course of the river — and a few things really are immutable. But only a few — and the Internet is not one of them. Certainly you can’t look a the same blog more than once or twice in a row, because the blogger often adds new material, and on many blogs, readers often comment on that material. In a certain way, blogs are the rivers of the Internet.

There are basically two kinds of blogs. The first is the “Personal Blog,” an online diary of one’s own life, visible to the whole world. The second is the “Commentary Blog,” in which people comment on events of interest to the some segment(s) of the general public — news, politics, technology, movies, medicine, sports, whatever. Both types are interesting to read and interesting as phenomena. This is going to be the second type of blog — partly because I don’t think my personal life is all that interesting to that many people, but mostly because I have a lot more to say about other things that I think might be interesting. Of course, it might be that what I have to say about the world is also not all that interesting to that many people either, but the only way I have to find out is to write it, post it, and then check the server access logs. ;-)

Who am I? I currently live on the east coast of the USA, near Washington, DC, but I grew up on the west coast and went to graduate school in the middle. I have a Ph.D. in economics, but I’m one of the seemingly few economists in the Washington, DC area who is not employed by the federal government. I am male, married to a wonderful lady, and have children who I hope will turn out to be as wonderful. That’s all I’m going to say about myself right now; I’d rather you judge my writings based on what I say, rather than who I am.

For the moment, I’m going to keep this blog anonymous, in the unlikely event my employer has any objection to my expressing opinions in public. I may change this in the future, but in the meantime, if you know or figure out who I am, keep in mind that opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of my employer, my friends, my family, or even (if I am being sarcastic), me. In fact, they might not even be opinions!

What is this blog about? Well, I should probably just wait and find out like the rest of you. But, I am interested in, in no particular order: economics, politics, history, law, science, medicine, technology, religion, mathematics, and some other things. My professional expertise is in health economics, the economics of new technology, and the effects of government regulation.

However, I don’t really know all that much about rivers. They are usually pretty, usually wet, and if a river is small enough, you can put your foot in it. Once. ;-)