November 07, 2002

Why blog? and other stuff

In the interests of transparency, full disclosure and compliance with sunshine laws I have to declare at the outset that one of my purposes in writing this is to encourage my friends (and also anyone else, even if s/he's not in that exalted category) to start and maintain their own blogs. It's fun, and since it harms no one that should be sufficient reason to do it. The requirements of an examined life, however, compel me to analyze the reasons further.

It is true that adding even more drivel to the blogosphere harms us all, so let us endeavor mightily and effectively to make what we write non-drivel...

This subject has already been covered very well in Molly's blog entry of 07/24/02. I'd like to say that in my opinion it doesn�t matter that "every blogger has written about it at one point or another". Is it really possible to write anything new and original? Just like the air I breathe has been breathed before by countless others, something similar to anything I think or feel has already, in all likelihood, been thought/felt by others. Or even by me. That doesn�t invalidate anyone's experience. Perhaps on the contrary, it should give us all something to share, a common ground, a basis for understanding.

Through my blog I am "meeting" a number of interesting people and learning a lot from them, and being stimulated to thought by what they write. The blogosphere is like a huge circle in which we can choose when to speak and when to listen. A blog is like a talking stick in this circle.

Sean has chosen Socrates' advice "Know thyself" as epigraph for his blog. Of course we all know Socrates' recommendation � usually, alas, "more honour'd in the breach than the observance" � but it is useful to be reminded of it now and then. Blogging is an excellent tool to pursue this goal. Perhaps one (or more) of my readers � if any... � can tell me the source of this quotation I love: "How can I know what I think/feel until I read what I write?". Blogging is useful to dig into one's mind, where everything we need is to be found, according to the sages. Mullah Nasruddin was seen one night in the street outside his house, circling a lamppost on his hands and knees, examining the ground with great attention. One of his friends walked by and, though accustomed to the Mullah's strange behaviors, could not refrain from asking: "Did you lose anything, Mullah?" "Yes, my keys; I misplaced them in the house and now I can't find them" The friend asked in astonishment: "Mullah, if you misplaced them in the house why are you looking for them out here??" The Mullah looked at his friend with compassion for his lack of understanding and replied: "Well, the light is much better out here!".

The Buddha taught "Be a lamp unto your own feet", let your own light illumine your path. Consider the words of the sages, but don�t go anywhere just because they tell you to.

On the other hand, I'm sad about the results of the election. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe women should not have the right to do as they choose with their own bodies. Maybe we should bomb Irak into the stone age (remember that delightful phrase?). Maybe we should strive for a gun in every pocket. Maybe...

Am I bitter about the election? You bet I am. I try to comfort myself thinking that after all what I consider the side of justice and compassion did not lose for THAT big a margin. Some historian � I can't locate the quotation now � wrote that the US is unique in the history of the world because all other empires have had a beginning, a period of maturity, and decadence, while the US has gone from beginning to decadence without going through maturity.

I believe there are reasons for everything, and maybe eventually we'll find out what they are.

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