Why Blog?

SocratesI have often questioned why I blog.  All that I have posted could simply be written in a journal and kept private.  In fact, much of what I write is fragments from a journal and thoughts from many…many years ago.  And journal writing is much freer, truer, purer, and contains more depth and content – for you are both the voice and the audience.  Better yet, journal writing is less vain, less egotistical, and less impulsive.  Below, I have a little fun with this debate that goes on now and again in my head of whether to blog or not.

Socrates:  So Tincup, why do you blog?

Tincup: Well, I decided to create a blog when another blogger was censoring my comments about a topic I felt strongly about.

Socrates:  I see.  So once you created your blog and made several posts, did you adequately express yourself in regards to that topic?

Tincup:  Well, when I created the blog I decided to incorporate more than just that topic and expand it to incorporate many topics.

Socrates:  Why didn’t you just create your blog to adequately address that one topic and then stop blogging?  In other words, why did you expand the topics on your blog and why are you still blogging?

Tincup:  Well, I guess I wanted to see what other people thought about what I think in regards to those different topics and ideally use the blogging format to debate different thoughts.

Socrates:  Does that occur?

Tincup:  Well, it did at the beginning, but I have found those that don’t agree simply don’t engage.

Socrates:  So, why are you still blogging?

Tincup:  Well, it seems like some people are interested in what I am posting.

Socrates:  How do you know they are interested in what you are posting?

Tincup:  Well, sometimes they hit the “Like” button.

Socrates:  What does “Like” mean?

Tincup:  Well, it means they liked what I had to say.

Socrates:  Are you sure?  Might there be any other potential reasons bloggers might hit the “Like” button

Tincup:  Well, maybe they feel obligated since I hit the “Like” button on one of their posts, or decided to follow their blog.

Socrates:  So, if you aren’t certain why someone hits the “Like” button and there isn’t much debate or discussion, why are you still blogging?

Tincup:  Well, I get “X” number of views per day and I have “Y” number of followers.  This means lots of people are looking at what I am posting.

Socrates:  I see.  Well, tell me Tincup, do all those people who are following and viewing your blog actually read what you post and if so, how do you know?

Tincup:  Well, I can’t say for sure.  You see, views can be generated simply by the key words you use in your tags.  Also, I can’t tell if my “followers” read a post unless they hit “Like” or comment.

Socrates:  So Tincup, why are you still blogging?

Tincup:  Well, I do enjoy reading and viewing other blogs and interacting with them.  I have met some very interesting people.

Socrates:  I see.  Do you comment and debate on all these blogs you enjoy viewing?  Have you met all these people in person and shared food and wine?

Tincup:  Well, I don’t always comment or debate.  You see, some of the blogs are poetry or photography or art and it really isn’t for debate.  And sometimes I just skim a post and sometimes I read it and hit the “Like” button.  And no, I haven’t shared food and wine with these people.

Socrates:  Well, couldn’t you simply view and interact with these blogs without actually having your own blog?

Tincup: Well, yes.  There are several people who participate on my blog and other blogs that don’t have their own blog.

Socrates:  I see.  So Tincup, why are you still blogging?

Tincup:  Well, I have lots of interesting things to say about economics, corrupted capitalism, utopia, philosophy, the universe, love, and oh so much more.

Socrates:  Well, didn’t you say in the introduction to this post that the expression of your thoughts contains more depth and content via the journal form compared to that of blogging?  And, how do you know that the thoughts you express in your blog hasn’t been expressed before by other men and woman from the past and present?  And if other men and woman have expressed such thoughts before, men and women who are more intelligent that you, then what service are you truly providing to those reading your blog?

Tin-cup:  Yes, I did say I find a journal to be more valuable to me.  And yes, all my ideas, in fact I would argue all ideas, have been expressed before.  But here is the thing Socrates.  Not all of these people have heard or read of these ideas.  And I can give them a quick taste at no cost.

Socrates:  I see.  But again, how do you know they are reading your posts, that they like them or get something out of them, and that you are also getting value for yourself in the creation of these little snippets?

Tincup:  Well Socrates, it seems we have come full circle.  Let me contemplate our short discussion and perhaps we can continue again after we enjoy some food and wine.  Here you go dear friend.  Enjoy.

39 thoughts on “Why Blog?

  1. I would totally love to have food and wine! Maybe in the near future, it will be possible over long distances. I mean, when you think about it now, it’s like we can share thoughts and ideas over this amount of space instantaneously. Socrates would have found that rather hard to imagine, I imagine. So maybe in a few dozen years or less, we can have food and wine without leaving a room, that would be splendid!
    I fully believe that we never know our impact on the world. The stats and comments and likes are what they are, but they aren’t the whole thing. You blog for some reason, maybe you never fully grasp it, and maybe you don’t need to or you don’t fully grasp anything. Maybe someone reads a word in a year that you wrote last year and decides not to hit the big red button that ends everything. Who knows, anything can happen. But if you like blogging and you are fed by it in some way, any way, whatsoever, then awesome.
    Plus, it takes the power away from anyone deciding to read your journals and share your secrets with the world..because you already have! 🙂

    • Well, I guess people could eat and drink and discuss via Skype…lol…but you have to admit that is a little different than a group of people sitting around a table together…eating…drinking…discussing.

      You have a very open approach as to “why blog”…that seems to say…it doesn’t matter why as long as something nudges you to do so…regardless of what is causing that nudge. It is an interesting perspective. Why does an author write, a composer compose, an artist paint…not important why is the answer.

      My main reason for thinking about the why is because, in my opinion, it shapes how and what you write…the structure, the content, and the form. It is important to think about to whom you are writing…for once you write to an audience this must be taken into consideration.

      Now, when you think about a blogging audience, who are they? How are your altering your content, format, and form to reach this audience? For example, when I write something on this blog, I tend to ensure it is relatively short and to the point…even though I could go on and on. I also tend to use images…which can bring more life to less words. Why do I do this? What am I sacrificing (or gaining) in this process compared to other potential forms of expression? What does the above say about the blogging audience itself? And, what does it say about me in that I have chosen this medium as opposed to others?

      Just some thoughts to ponder. Of course an even bigger question…which I don’t even attempt to address in this post…is….why write at all? And once you can answer that…perhaps it answers what medium is best.

      • Haha those are great questions! The answer to ‘why write’ changes by the day, but i suppose it keeps me sane. And the reason I blog as part of that is because it helps me get feedback and learn what others are thinking, and to let the universe sort of have its way with my words and let people find them who might need them. Which, oddly enough, is sort of the answers to the questions I was having in my most recent post..and yet through answering them for you, they get answered for me..very interesting!

      • I mean to get over to your recent post on numbers…I briefly read part of it from the reader…lol…it is related to some extent to what I am blabbering about here. Thanks for your comments.

  2. I have often shared your thoughts but alas Socrates is not one of my followers. In my recent 200th blog I shared my very first blog in which my son asked if art was still art if no-one ever saw it. Nobody has ever answered that question. You ask it again here. You may not consider what you write as art but i would disagree. Your words express ideas and concepts as painters express the same through a different medium. If you only wrote in your journal it would be the same as if an artist kept his paintings in a closet and never shared them. From one point of view – who cares – there are enough paintings and books already – why add to the pile? Another way of approach is that we now have the technology to share our ideas with the world. At my age in life this is still a magical thing and I, for one, am enjoying this miraculous and somewhat democratic freedom. I still remember the time that, if I wanted to share my art it would be only with friends, or if I was lucky, through a gallery. Now I can exhibit my art and ideas in the open world gallery of the WWW. I raise the flag and see who salutes it. If what I have to say really sucks then my readership reflects this. It comes down, I think, to a personal preference. We can paint or write alone and never ask ourselves why or we can take advantage of the 21st century wonder of computers to be part of a new social movement that places us all into a world size room in which we can meet and share our particular point of view.

    • Hi Mr John Clinock, SoundEagle agrees with you on the ease with which humans could communicate and share information with each other through modern technology. That is a given. Against this backdrop, SoundEagle senses that Tincup is more concerned about the epistomological aspects of communicating via technology (blogging in this instance) to the extent that he is examining the validity and reliability of blogging as well as bloggers in this post.

      Hi Tincup, the conversation that you setup between yourself and Socrates reminds me of The Allegory of the Cave. Whatever the Cave could have taught us about the ontological nature of life and existence, (and by extension, the life, value and importance that we ascribe to, and project on, art), and whether we choose to share our arts or keep them in closets, SoundEagle feels that the pace of social change and the increasing human population as well as information overload have caused many things to be cramped out of existence and to recede into the past, into oblivion, into historical junkyards. It would seem that even authors and artists have to build in obsolescence in their stories and characters.

      “Existence is a series of footnotes to a vast, obscure, unfinished, masterpiece”, according to Kush.

      Thank you for a very good take and dissection on the issues in your current post, which seems to have served as an evaluative tool for an honest and thorough self-appraisal. Your thoughts and philosophical ponderings are appreciated by SoundEagle.

      • “SoundEagle feels that the pace of social change and the increasing human population as well as information overload have caused many things to be cramped out of existence and to recede into the past, into oblivion, into historical junkyards. It would seem that even authors and artists have to build in obsolescence in their stories and characters.”

        “Existence is a series of footnotes to a vast, obscure, unfinished, masterpiece”, according to Kush.

        SoundEagle…this is a very interesting perspective…and thank you for the comment. You seemed to have dug deeper than the post itself…and to have sensed what I sense. Our thought, or the quality thereof, and expression of that thought…is becoming watered down…or drowned…by a combination of factors…such that expressions of that thought are being squeezed into mere sound bites. And, of those sound bites relating to past thinkers from the distant past…what has been lost in translation while condensing such thoughts into mere sound bites? You mention pace of social change, huge population, and and information overload…as main factors causing “many things” to be cramped out and tossed in a junkyard…what are the important things you are referencing? I have my own ideas, but what are yours?

      • Thanks SoundEagle for your thoughtful response – I have read through TC’s post again and think I now have a better understanding of where he is coming from. I address this in my comment to TC.

      • Hi Tincup, SoundEagle begs your pardon for not replying sooner, as there have been too many errands and duties since we last communicated, not to mention my being a sole carer to someone very dear to me.

        In the time that SoundEagle has, and given the space and format allowed here, only a very skeletal, cursory sketch is possible in answering your question.

        You asked “what are the important things [SoundEagle] are referencing”. They are and could be ecologies, paradigms, modalities, worldviews, knowledges, cultures, lifestyles (norms, expectations, freedoms, choices, constraints and way of life), social and cultural capitals, languages and so on, both qualitatively and quantitatively, and both within and between them, across their fabrics and interstices. Furthermore, the processes by which these could be affected are many and varied.

        It could be helpful to examine them through the categories and dynamics of human versus human, technology versus technology, nature versus nature, human versus technology, human versus nature, and technology versus nature, as well as all three at once.

        As for quantifying or justifying the relevance and validity of blogging, whatever and however tincup may approach them and arrive at some truce or answer, perhaps it could be conclude so far that we have come across each other here, and that there may be decent, sufficient or even compelling reasons for us, including Mr John Clinock, to hold each other in good stead and high regard, and therefore SoundEagle could gracefully sign off for now with some fond gestures and end-of-year greetings to all of you with art, graphics and poem at http://soundeagle.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/season-greetings-from-soundeagle-merry-christmas-happy-new-year-and-joyful-holiday/.

      • That is quite a skeleton you have outlined. As for the piece on blogging…I agree with your conclusion. Sorry for short response and not getting back sooner…was on a short little fantasy island trip and just got back tonight…sleepy right now. Catch up with you later.

      • ~~zzZZZzzz zzzZzz~~zZZZz

        May you wake you up from your suspended animation, a beauty-restoring slumber and deep rejuvenation feeling refreshed and ship-shaped!

    • I appreciate your comment and got a few laughs in the first part. Now, here is a slight difference, not touched upon by SoundEagle…who’s comment I find to be very powerful and true to what I am exploring. You have a process outside of the blog John…that process has gone on for years and years without a blog. And, that process and output is of course your art work…where you travel…observe…think…imagine…use your hands…eyes…the brush…the pallete…then you create…and……………….you use the blog to “share”. You even treat the audience to the written word…which is an additional process you may have added because of the blogging experience. I can understand how you view blogging as a more free and democratic process…the same I think could be said in regard to photography…which you know is my first instinct in expression had I the time and resources pursue it properly.

      But…the written word…especially words that are perhaps more philosophical in nature…is a different beast. I am not sure blogging…is the right medium for the expression of big ideas or conundrums. I am questioning myself…about my process…is my process self-contained and independent of blogging…should it be…or should it not be…maybe this is the right medium and process for me…this is what I am contemplating.

      • As I said in response to SE I have read your post and reply to me again and I think I now understand more clearly what exactly you are questioning. Do you not find it a little ironic though that we are having this discussion through your blog? Personally, I missed your posts when you recently took a long hiatus and I am more than glad you are back and contributing to the blogging community. I would never have met your mind if you had not chosen to blog and that would have been a loss to me and to blogging at large. What kept me blogging was the
        multi-layered warp and woof of the blogging tapestry. If all I found was posts
        about cute dogs and photos of travel I would not be here now. The discussions
        you offer add integrity and profound challenges to us. This may not result in a
        vast gathering of followers but what the hell – how many opportunities do you
        ever have in your non blogging social sphere to share your ideas and engage in discussions such as the one we are having now. I learn as much from the
        responses to your posts as from the posts themselves. I think the fact that you returned to blogging says much about what you get from this process. But hey, if it’s not rewarding or meaningful to you anymore, why do it? You could organize a philosophy discussion group in your city / town. You could promote more family gatherings and get heated discussions going around the cup cakes. You could write a column in your local paper – or you could simply hibernate in your den and write in your journal, hoping that someone may publish it someday, or not…You have a brilliant mind TC – the question is what will you do with it?

      • Thank you John for your kind words and challenge…”the question is what will you do with it?” That is a question I have struggled with since I came of age to understand what it meant. You…without getting ridiculous…are a role model…as is my brother…of course this sends me back in time where I find regrets…but it also is a source of inspiration to keep going. I may alter my process a bit…perhaps more journal writing…and then posts…thus less posts…but more thought behind them. Cheers.

  3. One thing you did not mention, although it may be significant, is that while you mention the possibility of others coming across ideas they have not encountered before, you do not say too much about the reverse flow; you come into contact with ideas that are new to you, either via their comments or because you have been tempted to visit their sites. Surely these possibilities make a good argument for using an e-log rather than a journal. Is it not worth looking into why you were concerned primarily in this dialogue with your self expression and pay relatively little attention to the fact that using an e-log gives you the chance to consider ideas that you have not heard or read brought up by others. something a journal would not provide.

    • Great point Ben Naga! Most of my formal and post formal education focused on great thinkers from western civilization. Most of my spin-off thoughts come from those sources…Goethe, Nietzsche, Plato, Heraclitus, Plutarch, Robinson Jeffers, Shopenhauer, Herman Hesse, Aldous Huxley, Marcus Aurelius…blah blah blah. Then there are life experiences and observations…..all these things go into my mind through my eyes and out come my words.

      When I read something new via the blogs…am I really seeing it…listening to it…or am I filtering it before I even get started? I did mention the idea of simply reading blogs without having a blog, so yes, I did address this…but really as a side note. When one blogs, one certainly has an ego, a view of the world…and that is why I prefer debate or discussion. Often I have attempted to debate ideas on other blogs…it often doesn’t end well…because people tend to be set in their views. Personally, I would find the blogging experience much richer if it centered on discussions…rather than views, likes, and polite discourse that often simply inflates the ego of the blogger. Of course, much depends on the nature of the blog…poems and fragments and photos and travel content isn’t really about discussion…and I enjoy those types of blogs…as a reprieve from more deep thinking discussions.

      • I am not a fan of debate really, I’m afraid, mainly because of the intransigent attitudes you allude to. I have rarely found any value in the exercise.

      • Try a dialectic with yourself about an important concept or idea…or with a good friend…and see where it leads…hell, try Hegel dialectic…in fact…I think the reason I like Hegel so much is that is how I was taught to write in college…it really does challenge your ideas and ways of thinking.

  4. A lake evaporates upward and thus gradually dries up; but when two lakes are joined they do not dry up so readily, for one replenishes the other. It is the same in the field of knowledge. Knowledge should be a refreshing and vitalizing force. It becomes so only through stimulating intercourse with congenial friends with whom one holds discussion and practices application of the truths of life. In this way learning becomes many-sided and takes on a cheerful lightness, whereas there is always something ponderous and one- sided about the learning of the self-taught.

    THE above is from the Chinese I Ching.

    • Socrates: This is an excellent image askcheeta…now tell me, from where does a lake or lakes receive their water?

      Lol…I like what you state above from the Chinese I Ching. Some of my favorite dinners with family or friends or my brother were when we went into discussions about a topic…sometimes it can get heated…sometimes you learn something new…sometimes you change your mind…sometimes you don’t.

      It is funny, because often you hear people say…find the truth or whatever “within yourself”… well what the hell does that mean? Hell, even Heraclitus has a fragment that says something similar. I tend to think that first…you have to fill your cup before you have something to share with others…and how does one fill the cup? What does that process look like? With what are you filling your cup?

      Certainly, the eyes and ears are very important in that process…as are life experiences and observations of others and self. The best debates or discussions are when the parties come with their guns fully loaded…the question is… loaded with what? How did they load those guns?

  5. The I Ching passage above talks about “congenial friends” which does not sound like those who want to bring the guns of egotistical power to the discussion? I see well-meaning friends around a campfire with sincere desire to discuss the truths and mysteries of life, and be willing to change a point of view without “a hit to their ego” since their opinions and views are not how they “define” themselves. On the other hand, there are points of view I will not compromise or question- such as any terrorist bombing innocent civilians. Also, if someone comes to a group discussion to defend or promote a hard and fast ideology with no reason or intent to listen to others, then that is another factor.
    Perhaps a debate is where one person or party struggles to “win” and be “on top”, while the congenial discussion of the truths of life is more open-ended and perhaps more likely to reveal new truths? Not sure where Socrates stands on all this……….did he want to win, or just
    try to destroy any since of winning?

    • lol…yes…I am sorry. I probably shouldn’t have alluded to guns…I came up in a strange family…where we could have heated discussions but still finish our dinner…well…once my brother and I were debating or discussing different philosophies in golf…we were in a nice restaurant with his nice lady…we of course were sipping some wine after a long battle on the golf course…we got so crazy that his fine lady left us…and we almost got kicked out…but we laughed about it afterwards and each got something out of the discussion or heated discussion…I think. Yes…perhaps the camp fire is a better idea.

      I am not sure if Socrates was out to win. I don’t like debates like that either…when one sets out to win…it isn’t a political debate to which I am alluding too. But, one must have built up a strong position and have an open enough mind to realize that position can be wrong…I don’t think Socrates actually took a position…he merely showed the faults in all positions…in fact…I think if you applied the dialectic in a pure form…it could probably find holes in almost every position…perhaps one of its own faults as a tool…or not? Yes…an open minded or open-ended discussion…of congenial nature…is certainly fruitful and also the type I usually engage in…but I do enjoy a little heat now again as well.

  6. I hit the “like” button because I really do like this… I can’t believe I wasn’t following you before but now I am… and these are good reasons to blog… but the truth of the matter is, you blog because you are meant to share your mind with others… the real reason you may never know… because it is out in the universe… whatever that means.

    Keep up the good work

  7. Rather than engaging in Socratic dialectic, I will reply to this in a parable.

    As you know TC, on one of my journeys through Europe, I ran out of resources and had to live on the streets of Paris for about a month. I stayed up all night wandering the streets because I was afraid to sleep, and then slept during the day on benches in the parks. I lived on baguette sandwiches and water. I kept warm at night by laying on the steam vents that blasted warm air from the underground tunnels of the Metro. One of the offshoots of this experience was a pact I made with myself to under no circumstances look at my reflection in mirrors or windows. I occasionally caught accidental glimpses of myself in windows but immediately looked away. When I finally reached the end of my tether, I spent the remainder of my depleted resources on a bed in one of the cheapest hostels in the city. I fell asleep for 12 hours and then woke up and went to the restroom. I washed my filthy, bearded face in the sink and then looked in the mirror. What I saw there was a completely unrecoginizable person–the image of an utter stranger. I had forgotten what I “looked like”. The image of myself from an outside perspective had all but perished.

    There is an elusive fountainhead of power that surfaces from existing solely within oneself without reference to the external–a power that is easily underestimated if it is even known of at all. We live in a world that is convinced that power lies in seducing and being seen, perhaps even “liked”, by millions and billions of “viewers”. I have a hunch it truly lies in being seen by none.



    • I love that parable…and this is a topic that would be very interesting to discuss in length…for it goes to the heart of the matter regarding my utopian impulses versus a focus only on the individual…I have to think about this and write about it and perhaps I can make a post on the subject and we can take it on.

    • That is quite some soul-searching, inner travail in conjunction with situational challenges in your protracted wrestling with fundamental necessities away from the maddening crowd and societal expectations. . . . . . one of the many processes that had been explored and grappled by many wise persons and sages.throughout the ages. SoundEagle salutes you with both wings and greet you with sharp gazes!

      • Plato and Socrates were two very different individuals. Only one of them wrote. I think Socrates would have enjoyed what you did. You openly explored yourself using ideas attributed to him. I’m sure he would have approved.

  8. Pingback: SoundEagle in John Clinock’s Art Rat Cafe | SoundEagle

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