Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Windmills of my mind... 

I lied. I didn’t know at the time that I lied, but I lied all the same. There’s another reason, a seemingly darker reason, why nothing has appeared on here lately.

There’s been a song playing in the back of mind this last week; I couldn’t quite make out the words though. Not until today that is. It goes like this:

What if everything on here, every goddam word in every post, even – or especially – this one, is just a form of attention seeking? Look at me, look at the clever way I play with words; the beautiful structures, the masterful language, the deep insights.

In fact, what if every blog on the planet is just that?

Silly song, nonsense song, but it’s one of those infuriating tunes that plays itself over and over and over in your head and wont go away. A constant background; you don’t even know you’re humming it, but it’s there playing behind everything and pushing out every other tune.

Would it matter? If, once in a while I, or anyone, comes up with something that amuses or inspires or provokes thought or elicits laughter or even tears; even if its source was attention seeking in some form, if it has that positive effect, does it matter what the source was?

The first answer I came up with went like this: it only matters if I pretend it’s not true. We’re all human; a craving for attention is a fundamental part of what it means to be human, a part that stays with us from the moment we’re born to the moment we die; it might be manifested in a needy, selfish, grabbing way or in a higher seeking for connection; for a meeting of minds; for acceptance. But the need, at its core is the same. And so it’s not wrong; it’s part of being human.

Suppose I run with that idea. It is attention seeking, but that’s OK.

But now I’ve got another dilemma. If I post this, you’ll know, and I’ll know you know, and you’ll know that I know you know, and that will be all right because we can all carry on pretending, but knowing that we all know really. Yet if I post it, I can’t escape the feeling that I’m devaluing others’ blogs, and their comments here, and that’s not what I mean at all

On the other hand, if I accept it but keep this thought to myself, it’s going to keep on nagging at me. It’ll be a dark secret tucked away in a cupboard. I’ll know it’s really attention seeking, but we pretend otherwise; we don’t talk about that. It’s one of those questions polite people don’t mention in open forum. It’s like discussing bodily functions at a genteel dinner party.

Damned if I do, damned if I don’t.

So answer number one got rejected.

Answer number two feels better.

Blogging isn’t primarily about attention seeking – not here anyway, and not anywhere in this corner of the blogosphere. There are blogs like that, but not in our neighbourhood. What we - I - enjoy more than anything else is communication, the pure joy of connection with fellow human beings, sharing ideas, being inspired.

It just happens that the most effective communication, the most effective sharing often – but by no mean always – is helped along by skilful use of language. So it can look a little like attention seeking, and maybe even sometimes become so if we’re tired or lonely or just having a bad day.

But we’re only human. It wouldn’t be so bad really, would it?

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