Kirk Torren Smith
Often referred to as a "Jack of all Trades", I have spent my life exploring the myriad of experience and expression this life has to offer: from developing skills in the arts to an Arboricultural career; from exploring primitive back-roads on a motorcycle to solo-hiking remote regions, I have always been motivated by experiencing new adventures, new ideas, and the insights one might gain from development of new skills and expressions. As an avid lifelong reader, mythology, ethnography, and history have always held great appeal for me, as the Social Sciences are an endless source of fascination and have granted me important insights into how others of the distant (and not so distant) past both experienced the world, and came to understand their place within it. As a lifelong pursuant of the Arts, the myriad of different cultural expressions, forms, and styles have given me unending inspiration for developing new skill in such craft. Such varied points of emphasis have often resulted in my identification as a rogue spirit (although my pragmatic side would prefer something more akin to 'explorer'). Regardless, such broad interests have helped me understand how timidly many seem to live their lives, and how much of human experience is tempered by one emotion: fear. Such seems the consequence of a largely untested capacity for adaptability, and thus a desperate, insular clinging to "what is known." Ironically, it seems few can accept how little we actually do know, and fewer still can embrace the idea that the more we learn only illuminates how much more we have yet to learn. Isolating one's self from this revelation doesn't seem to spare one from the resulting insipid effect, but rather, only seems to heighten it. I have come to accept this simple Koan as canonical within my life-philosophy, and as such, it continues to press me to challenge my own assumptions, and constantly adapt my views to include the introduction of new information and ideas in order to challenge such self-imposed complacency. It is a mindful, actively conscious practice whose intention is in direct opposition to that of Skepticism, which generally seems to assume every premise as 'false' (with the notable exception of its own). In the end, in spite of all our modern advancements, there is ever so much yet to contemplate, experience and comprehend, and generally, I'm ok with that: as a life without challenge and mystery would be a most uninspiring, and tedious life, indeed.