Philosophy: Fear of Nonsense in Blogging

Philosophy: Fear of Nonsense in Blogging September 27, 2005

I guess its not just in blogging, but in life in general. That hesitancy in the moment of conversation, that lost opportunity to speak from the heart, the fear of nonsense and judgment. I’ve been feeling a bit of all of these lately and I’m only slowly coming to realize why. In a sense it is simple, I’ve written about it here (or my other blog) , I’ve discussed it with others, even teaching it once.

It’s hard to describe it, mainly because I’m still caught up in it to some degree. It’s that inside/outside block, the hypostatization/reification of outward circumstances as beyond my control and thus controlling me, where in fact all I have is my own dissonant and dissordered mental states discoloring and disfiguring an otherwise beautiful world around me. Clear enough? It seems clear to me. Clearer at least.

It’s about projecting my own unclarity into the world, and then wondering why the world isn’t making me happy, or at least wondering what it is about ‘this place’ that makes me unhappy. It’s about my mental conditioning here, my old habits, ways of life here (most of which were not healthy) coming back at me and having to confront them all over again. I had just left them when I went to Bristol, so it was easy to move toward that idealized version of me that seemed so impossible before. The Germans have a saying, “Stadt Luft macht Frei” (city air makes one free). I experienced that more than I could possibly know at the time, realizing it only now back home under big Montana skies.

The other side of that coin of dissatisfaction has been my retreat to self-centeredness in recent weeks. It’s easy when things are a bit crazy to spiral into a solipsistic discontent with life. But I think some of the momentum (some might call it Karma) from my Bristol days seems to be catching up with me to pull me out of that excessive self-concern. Part of it is certainly seeing the Dalai Lama in Tucson, meeting some very wonderful people down there, and cutting way back on my crazy schedule here. But a whole lot of it, more than I might like to admit, has been just hearing from old confidants and friends, some good talks with family, and sharing some of my worries about life: some of those seemingly little things in life that we can too easily forget about in the rush of life.

So, for those knowing of the darkness which was the great depression and the difficulty with which our nation came out of it, I give these (too often quoted out of context) words:

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. — Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Inaugural Address, March 4, 1933

And to make my philosophy classmates proud, we might ask about fear of nonsense in blogging: “Should we not be concerned as to whether this fear of error is not just the error itself?” — G.F.W. Hegel 1806, ¶ 74, Introduction to the Phenomenology of Spirit.

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