January 27, 2014

What is this "old school" blogging you speak of?

An aversion to paragraph breaks? That's my first thought on looking at Will Wilkinson's post bemoaning the loss of something that once was.

Why can't I just drain a little overflow off the top of my head at any given moment and move on? Will says:
The idea that the self is an “illusion” tends to be grounded on the false assumption that if the self is anything at all, it must be a stable inward personal quiddity available to introspection. But of course there is no such thing. The Zen masters are right. 
Okay, so maybe a blog is a better representation of who you are and what life might be than any other form of expression, but Will's main problem seems to be that you can't do it right if you're doing it for money.
A personal blog, a blog that is really your own, and not a channel of the The Daily Beast or Forbes or The Washington Post or what have you, is an iterated game with the purity of non-commercial social intercourse. 
What do the Zen masters say about purity? Hei Neng said: "If you cherish the notion of purity and cling to it, you turn purity into falsehood. Purity has neither form nor shape, and when you claim an achievement by establishing a form known as purity... you are purity bound."

If you're enjoying the Althouse brand of old-school blogging, please use the Althouse Amazon Portal. Perhaps you need some quiddity. Or Zen supplies.

11 comments:

Meade said...

"Perhaps you need some quiddity. Or Zen supplies."

All I need is a pair of old-school warm mittens. Commercially made would be fine. Doesn't have to be pure. In fact, a built-in nose wipe would flow in a Zen-like way. Bloggy even.

Ann Althouse said...

"Purity" is a new tag, but I went back and added it to a bunch of old posts.

I like that tag. It's an abstraction, so it gathers in different things, but it's a specific word, so I was able to do a search and come up with ever post where I used it, in the whole 10-year archive.

Christopher said...

A personal blog, a blog that is really your own, and not a channel of the The Daily Beast or Forbes or The Washington Post or what have you, is an iterated game with the purity of non-commercial social intercourse.

I was already losing my patience but pretty much stopped reading right around there.

chickenlittle said...

Triumph of the Will...

...Das Reinheitsgebot!

jr565 said...

Ah Will. How's that liberaltarianism project going?

Old RPM Daddy said...

I think what he's trying to say is, "Blogging was cooler when we amateurs did it."

Is he upset about making money via blogging, or other people making money via blogging?

Jane the Actuary said...

So I guess I'm an old-school blogger, because www.janetheactuary.blogspot.com sure isn't earning me money. (Though I am curious about how little the "adsense" earnings would be . . . )

But there are different reasons for blogging. Some do it to establish a name for themselves as a writer, then try to get a publishing deal out of it. For instance, the crock-pot woman -- she cooked in the crock-pot for a year, blogged about it, and then wrote a cookbook which, from what I could tell from the library copy I skimmed through was mediocre; or the Hyperbole-and-a-half or Crappy Drawings bloggers who wrote books that could be skimmed through at the library in the length of time it takes my kid to pick out a movie.

Some people monetize the blogging itself, or at least imply that the tip jar funds their blogging-related costs.

And others of us have some alternate goal (e.g., make one's voice heard in politics, develop yourself as a writer, etc.).

But to talk about "purity" in blogging is a bit silly no matter what.

Ann Althouse said...

It's not the purity that makes it good.

Will gets close to a sexual metaphor but walks away from it and speaks of "hanging out."

The key isn't whether you economically benefit from sex (and blogging) but whether it has intrinsic value for you, which would mean that the expression comes from within you and is done for its own sake.

David said...

The link to Hei Neng takes us to Thomas Merton's Mystics and Zen Masters. Merton is quite a challenge to understand. At least for me he is. It takes a lot of thought and concentration just to read him at a basic level.

If you peruse Merton's text around the linked quote, you will be told just how difficult Zen is. Distraction is one of the enemies of Zen. For most of us the internet is not the path to Zen.

khesanh0802 said...

That piece of writing was a joke, NO? Bullshit indicator on high.

Smilin' Jack said...

If you cherish the notion of purity and cling to it, you turn purity into falsehood.

Is that purely true?