Read a motherjones magazine article about blogging which, although it exclusively concerns the "blogosphere" of "political palmphleteering", neatly captures the somewhat shady character of this form. (I will never intentionally publish this stuff, despite and perhaps because of the techno-paranoia that some net-based Singularity will one day suck up all online data into her all-consuming Gaian maw... ahem... anyway...)
Young men writing rebarbative prose against utterly forgettable issues is a synctium of modernism in a way. Here to stay, etc etc.
I want to reflect instead on the context
of a blog. I guess by micro-level daily contextualisations it might be possible to form a decent idea of a person and times, but it's a hard road. Proust took one-and-a-quarter million words to do it.
And then there's the medium itself: the Net. It would seem to be an intrinsically postmodern thing. Timothy Leary did a characteristically specious diagram once in the late 80s 'demonstrating' how the number of realities one is exposed to on the net, compared to TV and print before it, increases exponentially. I disagree. The number of illusions, delusions, faux amis,
is what exponentially increases. Reality was never less discussed than in the welter of opinions that is the net; and the sinkhole of judgementalism must be the blogosphere.
So are blogs an intrinsically political form?
Last night I did some reading on a yahoo group about integrity. One of the wise things that stuck with me was that integrous behaviour at the most basic level of expression is an act of courage that, in the eyes of the actor, seems "reasonable, probable, and necessary". These ordinary and kind words belie the level of courage required to be moderate in one's views in a apparent world of extremists.
But moderation alone is an impersonal aim without the corresponding personal transformation. In political terms, the tendency to interpret information in terms of a feminist, ecological, marxist or other idealistic paradigm gives rise to solutions that are highly hypothetical and which rely the world being other than it is now. When these theories deny or override real-world experience the tool ends by becoming the master.
In the philosophy of science it appears the question has apparently been decided 30 years ago between Kuhn and Karl Popper. Kuhn said that science progresses discontinuously, so a monolithic and unified Science was not possible, and therefore science should encourage her mavericks. Popper asserted a monolithic, communal, and economically-driven science - but, deeper to the heart of the issue, also portrayed human fallibility and our flawed nature with a gentleness and humanity that endears him to us still. So while techno-omptimists pretend that Kuhn's argument won the day, the precise rendering of actual scientific reality that Popper philosophised over has become more and more so. And ultimately a full picture of scientific progress seems to emerge from a blending of the two views, which is always a highly personal and heartfelt matter.
How scientests come to moderation is revealing. According to their nature, they are communal or individualistic, Kuhnian or Popperian. But it is in their personal lives, in their conduct, integrity, and good-heartedness, that many scientests achieve greatness. I cannot imagine of a single person who could criticise Einstein for meanness of spirit.
As all this applies also to blogging. It is a highly personal matter, not a political one. It is an expression of generosity and caring, in the sense that one must reveal enough of oneself as is "reasonable, probable, and necessary". And reveal no more than that!