Tuesday, April 03, 2007

I hate blogging and why I'm doing it anyway

I swore to myself many years a go that I would not ever write a post about the fact that I haven't been updating my blog.

"It is the beginning of all true criticism of our time to realize that it has really nothing to say, at the very moment when it has invented so tremendous a trumpet for saying it." - G.K. Chesterton (1923)

Well, there we go. Chesterton was most likely talking about broadcast radio when he said this but it seems to apply nicely to myself at this moment. The fact that I am not the first to use this quote in reference to blogging is, to me, proof of the validity of the criticism.

For a long time, I've viewed creating personal spaces on the internet (since the days of Geocities) and now blogging with an unhealthy grain of salt. Part of this comes from a few paragraphs from Milan Kundera's The Book of Laughter and Forgetting:
Graphomania (a mania for writing books) inevitably take on epidemic proportions when a society develops to the point of creating three basic conditions:

(1) an elevated level of general well-being, which allows people to devote themselves to useless activities;

(2) a high degree of social atomization and, as a consequence, a general isolation of individuals.

(3) the absence of dramatic social changes in the nation's internal life. (From this point of view; it seems to me symptomatic that in France, where practically nothing happens, the percentage of writers is twenty-one times higher than in Israel. Bibi is, moreover, right to say that looked at from the outside, she hasn't experienced anything. The mainspring that drives her to write is just that absence of vital content, that void.)

But by a backlash, the effect affects the cause. General isolation breeds graphomania, and generalized graphomania in turn intensifies and worsens isolation. The invention of printing formerly enabled people to understand one another. In the era of universal graphomania, the writing of books has an opposite meaning: everyone surrounded by his own words as by a wall of mirrors, which allows no voice to filter through from the outside.
[Later in the text]
One morning (and it will be soon), when everyone wakes up as a writer, the age of universal deafness and incomprehension will have arrived.
I always come to the end of reading this and have the overwhelming sense that anything I might write afterwards simply contributes to the universal deafness and incomprehension that surrounds us today.

This is why I don't blog.

However, conventional wisdom claims that in order to connect via blogging, one must produce. If one cannot produce quality, then produce quantity.

Aside from my moral misgivings about excessive blogging, I suffer from a form of mental constipation where I will read something that will trigger an idea for writing a blog post, but I have a need to look deeper before I say anything publicly. What happens is hours of reading other people's commentary, often months after I have had the original urge and often better though through or written than what I might wish to say. Then comes a day or more of thinking about all of what I have read and forming some half-baked new tangents off of that. After that, the desire to regurgitate any of it and put form to it in a way that it is even remotely comprehensible to anyone outside my skull is gone.

In the mean time, pent-up ideas needing feedback, or ill-formed opinions needing correction lie festering only to explode through my synapses at the worst possible moments.

So, I will give conventional wisdom a try and commit to writing a post a day, regardless how trite, how ill-formed, until either I form a habit or I completely solidify my view against inane writing altogether.

Fantastic. I'm clearly off to a good start on the ill-formed part.

1 comment:

  1. This got me thinking...

    ...and in my "not so profound opinion" such as yours... I think blogging has given a lot of people an outlet to express to the world the things that they are passionate about...

    we can tell a lot about a person by reading their blogs...

    and since I like seeing how other people point of view... I like reading blogs...