December 16, 2006

How your mind looks on the web, part 2.

In a recent post, I asked: "What do you think is the single most important question about this blog?" Ricardo offered this answer:
At some deep visceral core level, blogging (like most other creative endeavors) is about "actualization" (as Mazlow might say). Writers write because they can't not write. Painters paint because they can't not paint. Photographers photograph because they can't not photograph. Bloggers blog because they can't not blog. This is what they have to do in order to see the world through the right prism. This is how they learn the lessons they are meant to learn, find the answers they are meant to find, complete their mission in life that they are meant to complete. So the most important question here is not some surface issue, but the deeper issue of "Is this blog actualizing Althouse in the way that her heart and soul are crying out to be actualized?"
That makes me think back to that old slogan about blogging "How your mind looks on the web." I wrote about that back here, just 10 days into the life of blogging. (I was really into being terse and enigmatic back then.)

Why am I making a post out of Ricardo's comment? For one thing, it struck me to read the word "soul" right after doing the previous post with the quote from the conference....

But I need to dash off and relocate myself... so I'll finish this post in a few minutes. How my mind/soul/heart look on the web will have to be subordinated -- for the moment -- to where my body is situated on the face of the Earth.

ADDED: I seem to have stumbled into a "conservative soul" theme that makes it seems as though I ought to read Andrew Sullivan's book. Too bad he annoyed me so much the other week! (The soul of Althouse is riddled with spite and pique! Is that liberal or conservative... or somehow ineffably centrist?)

MORE: Hey, whatever happened to I'll finish this post in a few minutes? Sorry, I had to relocate to my office to do office hours and students actually came to them. I wasn't expecting that! So, anyway, where was I going with this, before the nonvirtual world grabbed hold of me? Let's see... Is this blog actualizing Althouse? Hmmm.... The opposite of "actualizing" might be virtualizing. This blog has definitely done something to me. I'm afraid it has completely restructured my brain! Whether that's the real me or not... is just more material for another blog post.


Anonymous said...

You've got the makings of a epistomological trilogy going here. It might not be up there with Lord of the Rings, but it ain't bad:

I. The crisis: Have I allowed my political self-identity to be determined by opposition to my peers?

II. The journey: I discover that I am not a "true believer," and probably don't want to be.

III. Resolution: With the aid of "Ricardo," I discover that I am the sum of all my blog posts.

Anonymous said...

Writers write and painters paint because they're too useless to do anything else. Painters are really useless. At least a good writer can do a script and maybe write a book you can stand to read. Photographers photograph because they like hanging around models (or want to be a model but were born the wrong sex) and make money doing it. Usually, though, it's because someone gave them a Leica, and saying you're a photographer sounds better at a party than saying you're unemployed.

And bloggers blog because...ha ha...that's rich! Bloggers blog because they have too much time on their hands. "Heart and soul crying out." That's really a good one. Excuse me. I've got to go get some Kleenex, I'm laughing so hard.

yetanotherjohn said...

'Bloggers blog because they can't not blog. '

Sounds more like an addiction than an hobby.

Kirby Olson said...

Maybe too bloggers blog because it's the easiest way to get thoughts into print, and it's fun to have commentary on the thoughts. I'ts almot like having a real conversation, and is evanescent in that way, too.

My blog Lutheran Surrealism is also rather centrist (although I like Bush it's mostly because he drives all the hardliners I know up the wall). The hardliners that have hijacked the Democratic party and academia itself have driven me toward the center and even a bit to the right. The more they yak the more I like people like Patrick Buchanan. I think the left believes that they can brainwash the population, but in fact they are creating a very palpable backlash against them especially among what they consider to be their strongest constituency: students.

Students can think. Not very well, but they understand what brainwashing is, and they invariably react against it. And that's in a sense the beginning of thought. Ironically therefore the more pushy leftists there are in academia the more powerful the vote for the center and the right will be as students react against the attempts at brainwashing.

At any rate, I found your blog through reading Michael Berube's idiotic leftist blog. Anything he writes against I look up and I inevitably prefer it to his own Marxist blather. I assume thousands of others are doing the same thing.

Every time someone calls Horowitz "clinically insane" and then you read five of his books and find him to be rather sane afterall, you then tend to completely discount the sort of mind that would attempt to deter you from that sanity.

At this point I don't think leftists have any credibility at all. Not one of them. They can only exist in a vaccuum where no other thoughts can get in.

David53 said...

Blogging is not about "actualization." Blogging is about whatever the blogger wants it to be about. There are endless reasons why bloggers blog. I never bought into Maslow's theories of self-actualization.

Maybe Ann's ego cannot resolve issues between her id and super-ego therefore she blogs in an effort to reach a type of equilibrium and maintain her sanity in a repressive male-dominated society.

It's all a load of hooey. I don't care why she blogs, I don't care whether you label her a liberal, a conservative, or a centrist. I just enjoy it. If her soul cries out to blog I doubt it has anything to do with "actualization."

Sissy Willis said...

Right on, Kirby Olson, when you note that our fellow citizens of the left "can only exist in a vaccuum where no other thoughts can get in."

It's what I call "Fear Society Lite" in the Natan Sharansky sense.

Theo Boehm said...

I think Bea above is playing at being far too cynical.

If a person truly, deeply inside him or herself, needs to paint or write or take photographs, then that might be part of what a Buddhist would call right livelihood. The problem is that too many people like the idea of being an artist or writer, without that internal, organic, relationship to the thing that right livelihood implies. Ricardo correctly says that writers and artists need to do what they do

I don’t, however, much care for the term “actualization,” as it seems too loaded with the Self. Getting beyond the ego is a time-proven necessity for any endeavor to be worthwhile.

It is a hard thing to confront yourself, your soul, if you will, and see if you are really meant to do what you think you are. This is truly a pathless land. There are no checklists.

The other element, beyond love, is ability. You ultimately have to match your ambitions with what God gave you for a body and a mind.

Everyone who is serious about life has had to make this journey. For writers, the Internet has changed things dramatically. No more printing and paper. I’ve been amazed at the vast talent that has suddenly sprung up, given this new means to express it. The blogosphere is in its first bloom. It also might be the first unfolding of a new consciousness, a new neural path for the world.

But let’s not go down the New Age path. All I can say, otherwise, is that I am amazed by the whole phenomenon. And I agree with David53 above. Just enjoy it. If you have a need to blog and you’re good at it, and have readers, well, welcome to a new world.

caffeine soldier said...

"The soul of Althouse is riddled with spite and pique! Is that liberal or conservative... or somehow ineffably centrist?"

Uh, there's a difference between 'centrist and 'self-cemtered', Althouse...

Ron said...

Althouse may be the first Transhuman to ascend to Bloghood!

"The Apoblogosis of Althouse: The Blog as loci of meaning." Grist for the grad student paper mill already!

tiggeril said...

There was something in the air that night, the stars so bright, Fernando....

Guesst said...

I'm more interested in why students actually came to office hours.

I would be thrilled now at forty to be given such opportunities (I also ignored them and squandered them at twenty).

I sometimes think we are wasting our time and attention on the wrong generations. Then again, who would create faux mortar rounds?

Anonymous said...

You people take yourselves far too seriously.

You know, when you get to my age you don't need that much sleep. Insomnia's a big problem.

I think I just found a cure.

What's with this twaddle? Is that Theo Boreme up there? Great name. Get a life. Learn to write jokes. Learn to write, period.

I'm not taking any pills tonight. I'll just read more of this.