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Walking the razor’s edge…

I was talking to a friend of mine about starting this blog. He said something interesting. He said he didn’t like to write in a blog because he liked to keep his thoughts to himself. That got me thinking about this entry. For me, writing in this blog is like walking on a razor. Thoughts are divided into two pools by its sides: on one side lies the thoughts never spoken; on the other lies the thoughts only meant to be spoken. Here I want to speak the thoughts in between, that are carefully chosen to be spoken.

Sometimes I wonder if all bloggers are like that. Having read my share of them, I think not. At some point, I thought it was just self-important blather… and for most intents I still do. This is, of course, discounting all the news sites masquerading as blogs, all the corporate newsholes, and all the other fashionable things wandering out there like wannabe-movie-stars in New York cafes. Many blogs are just online journals. They represent cathersis, not discourse. In this world of digital communication, we are better connected to people on the other side of the planet whom we already know, than to people who stand next to us and share in our real-life circumstances. In this half-virtualized world, blogs represent contact points where we can speak out randomly and have people hear it if they wish. The audience stands before the blogger invisible and unknowable, and to the largest degree, the cathertic blogger does not care about the actual presence of the audience, but the believed presence of one through the asynchronousity of the digital medium. Perhaps this is what my friend means when he says that he prefers to keep his thoughts to himself. On the other hand, to take oneself seriously is to be self-important. So as long as I use the pronoun “I”, this may all be self-important blather regardless of my intent. Such is life.

That said, walking on the razor’s edge is a little different, at least insofar as my intents are concerned. Of course, the readers still witness in invisibility. On the edge, though, the thoughts are not purely expository. The difference is that the carefully chosen words can reveal a bit of the thoughts never spoken, and so perhaps can make people think about those thoughts. To see why, it’s better to start at the basis of blogs: language. We must use language in order to communicate, and because language is a formalism, we must simplify and discipline thoughts to fit into this imperfect formalism. When I discipline my thoughts, I have to make choices. I have to think about the things worth saying, and in the process discard the things not worth saying, even if the things not worth saying are themselves contextually worthy of saying elsewhere. The razor’s edge slices through these discarded thoughts to produce discourse which contains bits of the many meanings behind the quantized words.

So finally, to the answer. Why? Why spend time writing in this web page when a myriad persuits await? I think the best reason is that walking on the razor’s edge makes me think. It makes me search. It makes me take the things under the surface and give them form. The razor is the separator. It separates the soup of ideas into details worthy of words, and thoughts to be forgotten. As I refine the ideas into words, new ideas are birthed from these words, and perhaps some of these ideas are themselves worthy at a higher level. I give something up, and I get something in new. Hopefully, those who read these words also get something… perhaps even something that I no longer have. The formative process becomes the entry, and vice versa. So that’s the why… at least for today. Perhaps tomorrow, today’s children will have answers anew?

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