Friday, November 16, 2007

A blogger's "maiden speech"

I have a feeling that Subversive Muse will become a favoured double-click of mine. There are many--obviously including myself--who can learn something from what he has to say here:

It's noble to start a blog with intentions of changing people's opinions. That kind of idealism is something beautiful but unfortunately, rather deluded. It is in the nature of the reader to seek out information that reaffirms their beliefs, not challenges them. Aldous Huxley said that we live in a sea of island universes, perpetually separated from the experiences of others. We can share something with another person but we cannot truly place ourselves in their shoes. Still, despite our isolation, most of us are comfortable enough within ourselves and particularly, with our own personalised view of reality.

Within this view of reality, we are inherently informed about right and wrong, good and evil and beauty and ugliness. Each event in our lives moulds us into who we are and shapes what we believe. Our attitudes and values towards the world, other people and other beings all struggle to maintain their integrity. Although our lives are in a constant state of transition, we resist it. Apathy becomes the easiest option. We lose any sense of self determination, yielding to the whims of sloth, losing that childlike ability to accept things as they are, yet working to change them.

Accepting this notion, as a writer especially, is difficult. A writer, or anyone who expresses themselves through a craft, would like to believe that they act not only out of love for that craft, but out of the ability to inspire others to behave or think in a way that is out of the norm. Art is an egocentric process only in the sense that artistic work should have an impact on the world and not remain locked in a vacuum, only to be looked upon by the person who created it. So to accept that people are conservative by nature, that they will always resist your images and words, is rather depressing. It makes the author question their sense of identity, and moreover, their sense of purpose.

Merely reaffirming a reader's views is a hollow practice, in spite of the sense of camaraderie that it may foster. It's like reading books with the same plot structure over and over again. We begin to accept that a certain structure is more valid than others and then begin to get comfortable with it, forsaking everything new. Authors want to illuminate, to click with something in the reader's mind that was previously inactive and neglected. The human mind needs constant stimulus, as nothing quite compares to that little jolt of euphoria you experience when you've learned something completely and utterly new.