what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!
The Bucegi mountains - the range I see from the front balcony of my mountain house - are almost 120 kms from Bucharest and cannot normally be seen from the capital but some extraordinary weather conditions allowed this pic to be taken from the top of the Intercontinental Hotel in late Feb 2020

Monday, September 14, 2020

Another Milestone!

 "Peripheral Vision” has just celebrated the 400,000th click. That’s just under 40,000 a year – about 100 a day. Not great – but I don’t do it for the fan mail…I do it from my own recognition that, until I have struggled to express in writing what I understand about a subject, that understanding will be deficient.

I’m confident I understand an issue but, when I start putting that understanding into words and sentences, I suddenly realise that there are things I didn’t actually understand    

One writer offers no less than 15 justifications for why people should blog. I would go with nine –

1. You’ll become a better thinker. Because the process of writing includes recording thoughts on paper, the blogging process makes you question what you thought you knew. You will delve deeper into the matters of your life and the worldview that shapes them.

 2. You’ll become a better writer.  – once, that is, you start to reread your material or get feedback which shows your text was ambiguous…

 3. You’ll live a more intentional life. Once you start writing about your life and the thoughts that shape it, you’ll begin thinking more intentionally about who you are, who you are becoming, and whether you like what you see or not. And that just may be reason enough to get started.

 4. You’ll develop an eye for meaningful things. By necessity, blogging requires a filter. It’s simply not possible to write about every event, every thought, and every happening in your life. Instead, blogging is a never-ending process of choosing to articulate the most meaningful events and the most important thoughts. This process of choice helps you develop an eye for meaningful things.

 5. It’ll lead to healthier life habits (although my partner doesn’t agree!)! Blogging requires time, devotion, commitment, and discipline. And just to be clear, those are all good things to embrace – they will help you get the most out of your days and life.

 6. You’ll inspire others. Blogging not only changes your life, it also changes the life of the reader. And because blogs are free for the audience and open to the public, on many levels, it is an act of giving. It is a selfless act of service to invest your time, energy, and worldview into a piece of writing and then offer it free to anybody who wants to read it. Others will find inspiration in your writing… and that’s a wonderful feeling.

 7. You’ll become more well-rounded in your mindset. After all, blogging is an exercise in give-and-take. One of the greatest differences between blogging and traditional publishing is the opportunity for readers to offer input. As the blog’s writer, you introduce a topic that you feel is significant and meaningful. You take time to lay out a subject in the minds of your readers and offer your thoughts on the topic. Then, the readers get to respond. And often times, their responses in the comment section challenge us to take a new, fresh look at the very topic we thought was so important in the first place.

 8. It’ll serve as a personal journal. It trains our minds to track life and articulate the changes we are experiencing. Your blog becomes a digital record of your life that is saved “in the cloud.” As a result, it can never be lost, stolen, or destroyed in a fire.

 9. You’ll become more confident. Blogging will help you discover more confidence in your life. You will quickly realize that you do live an important life with a unique view and have something to offer others.

 That puts it rather well – although I would amplify the first point by emphasising the sharpened critical faculty regular blogging also brings to the reading of what others write. Thomas Hardy was spot on when he (apparently) said - “How can I know what I think until I read what I write?" You thought you knew something but, when you read back your own first effort at explanation, you immediately have questions – both of substance and style.

But this also conveys itself very quickly to changes in the way that you read other people’s material – you learn more and faster from a critical dialogue (even with yourself) than from passive reading…..

 That’s why they say that the best way to learn about a subject is to (try to) write a book about it (rather than reading several books). It sounds paradoxical (as well as presumptuous) but it’s actually true – and the reason is simple.

Translating your imagined understanding into a written summary allows a dialogue with the books – which has the added advantage of helping you better remember the issues….  

Blogger Duncan Green makes another important point that –  

regular blogging builds up a handy, time-saving archive. I’ve been blogging daily since 2008. OK, that’s a little excessive, but what that means is that essentially I have a download of my brain activity over the last 7 years – almost every book and papers I’ve read, conversations and debates.

Whenever anyone wants to consult me, I have a set of links I can send (which saves huge amounts of time). And raw material for the next presentation, paper or book.


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