Hello to all my blog-readers. I think I could count all of you on my fingers, and better still, I could name you 🙂 Nevertheless, I don’t care. I told a friend who was starting a blog, let’s call her Bernice, that you should blog as much for yourself as for others. Who cares if no one reads it, write it for yourself. Write it for your self-in-ten-years. Write it for your kids, you future spouse, some random Zimbabwean who happens to drop by your blog out of pure serendipity. Whoever, whenever, just write.
I think that writing is to our thoughts as exercise is to our body. It helps to expunge our brains of all the nonsense that’s up there and allow some of the more meaningful thoughts to touch the surface. In our wonderful, comfortable, information-saturated existence, we are hardly ever thoughtless. There’s usually something going through our brain – work, play,church,eat,drink,learn,read,etc – so generating thought is not hard. The problem is, is that our thinking is dragged down to the lowest common denominator of our world – basically advertising and consumption. So we need to reclaim the higher ground that we have lost to this denigrating force. And I think one of the ways we do this is by writing (reading also, but that’s a whole other kettle of fish!).
When we write, especially for an audience, we have to distill truth, meaning, humor, sorrow, love or hatred, or any other notion, into words. We beat our disorganized thoughts into shape with the tools of grammar and language. We allow others to follow our thought processes: to think like we did, to see what we saw, and hopefully, to realize what we realised. Poets, novelists, prophets, researchers; all people who use the written word and try to convey something, perhaps it is meaning or a narrative, revelation, truth or discovery. In every instance, the very act of writing is a step of faith. We are saying, ‘let me write this down so that another may be enriched’ (even when that other is simply another version of you). Implicit in that statement is that we want others to benefit from our experience. Perhaps someone can identify with your pain as you coped haphazardly with the death of a loved one…or maybe you can help someone expand their understanding of a problem by your systematic research.
So I think writing is important. I think thinking is far more important than writing, but usually they go hand in hand. Because it’s important, and because our society doesn’t value taking time out, we must discipline ourselves to write. We must also discipline ourselves to think. One such initiative to discipline me to write is the pelting-pact-of-persistence. Yes, I realize the name is completely bizarre – although the author must have a fondness for alliteration by the sounds of things! Anyways, it’s just an agreement with two friends (who also blog, see here and here) that we will blog at least once a week (and they are caning me, although I think I get double points for mentioning the name in the eternal halls of the interweb). So this constitutes my week’s blog. I have also done some other writing (see here), and while that is probably more important than this (although I think this is also important), I think I prefer writing like this. For one thing you don’t have to pore over every sentence – you can just say it and let the chips fall where they may.
Anyhoo…not too much else to report on…econometrics test coming up on Wednesday. I really hope that the learning disposition falls on me sometime soon, otherwise the panic-disposition is sure to follow. Also teaching, Two Oceans trail run and something else I can’t remember right now…
Cheerio all you good people…
PS – I have no idea why the picture is relevant but it is
**PPS – the title comes from a lovely Economist article, I include the excerpt below: (David Cameron was visiting Tahrir Square in Egypt)
““Are you happy now?” Mr Cameron asked a teenage boy whose face was painted in the colours of the Egyptian flag. The boy proving happy but silent, Mr Cameron settled for a handshake. An older relative stepped in to inform curious reporters that the youth “loves the new freedom”, adding, “Lovely-jubbly, tally-ho, tally-ho.”