Tuesday, March 21, 2006

What is the point?

When I first created this blog a few months ago I did it primarily as an experiment. First, I wanted to see how easy or difficult it was. Turns out it's pretty easy. I guess that's one of the reasons there are so many blogs out there. Using the help files and various web sites I quickly learned how to edit html, change the look of my blog, and add things such as counters and blog polls. It was fun. A chance to be creative.

The other main reason for starting a blog was to have a place to write down my thoughts and opinions. I'm a fairly educated person who has always been interested in what's going on in the world around me and I've always had very definite opinions about most things. I thought this blog would be a place where I could organize my thoughts and ideas and present my arguments to the world at large. Isn't that why most people blog? To show the world how right they are about everything. Or how clever they are. Or witty. The internet is the ultimate stage upon which anyone can perform and show off their talents. Right?

Actually, I'm not sure that I really intended for anyone to ever read this blog. I haven't promoted it. I've told almost no one about it. I've always been rather reserved and introverted. Unless I get drunk. Then you can't shut me up. That's the time I let people know what I really think. (Me, at a party after way too much red wine "So, you're pregnant? I guess you're having a baby to try and save your marriage." Or this, also at a party where I've just lost some party game and felt like the others were cheating "Everybody here is an asshole but me!"). I'm not looking for recognition or public adoration. In fact, I've never cared (much) what people think of me. I don't need to have my thoughts or actions validated by others. This blog was mainly to be for me. An outlet. A release.

So why haven't I been blogging much? Oh sure, I've posted here and there. Told a few anecdotes, reviewed a book or two. But mostly it's just been posting links to things I've come across online. I guess I just don't have that much to say after all. It's not that I don't have opinions, beliefs or strong convictions about things. I just don't feel like writing about them. When I really sat down and tried to examine the reason for this change of heart, what I came up with was this: What's The Point?

Who really cares what I have to say about anything? I can express a viewpoint on this blog and there will be a number of people out there who agree with me and an equal number who won't. Such as: I believe that all the world's problems are either directly or indirectly due to religious fanatics and/or lawyers. (Which is one of the main tenets on which my philosophical foundation rests.) I'm probably not going to change many people's minds with what I have to say. The people who agree with me may continue to read the blog. The ones who disagree with me won't. I think that's the ultimate fate of most blogs. You just end up preaching to the choir.

What could I do to make this blog unique and interesting. Or at least interesting to me? I could go the entertainment route. Tell funny stories about my family and life like you'd find on Dooce or manky stories like the ones on Scaryduck. But I'm not as funny or clever as Heather B. or Scary and frankly I'm not sure I want to expose my family life on the internet for the world to see. I've got two little boys whom I think are hilarious but I'm pretty sure the only ones who'd find their stories funny are my relatives and I'm not sure I want them reading this blog. I doubt my wife would like me posting pictures of her on the web either.

I could review books. I'm a voracious reader, consuming everything from classics to science fiction to history to biographies. I've tried to do that a little on this blog, but I'm not very adept at literary criticism. I can tell a good book from a bad one, but have some difficulty in explaining this in an erudite or entertaining fashion. There are plenty of people on the web already who do a much better job than I ever could. Steph or Bookslut for instance.

What about a political blog. In the past I was very passionate about politics. I watched the news chanels, read the newspapers and stayed well informed on the current political issues. Now I'm just disgusted by politics. The political process in this country and the world at large is a mess. It's degenerated into partisan personal attacks and character assassination.There are no longer any meaningful discussions about the issues. Politicians seem to only be interested in getting re-elected and consolidating their parties' power, rather than doing anything constructive to help our country. The Middle East is in turmoil and probably always will be. European leaders are pathetic. Quick to criticize the US for anything and everything but unwilling to take any action or provide any real solutions for the crises that are consuming the planet.

I guess this takes me to one of my main points and that is: I'm very pessimistic about the way civilization is headed and about the future of our existence on this planet. Things seem to be headed in a downward spiral with no end in sight. Society as depicted in books such as Orwell's 1984 or Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale seem close to becoming a reality today. Postapocolyptic stories like King's The Stand or Atwood's Oryx and Crake are a real possibility for our near future. I fear for my children and the type of world thay will grow up in.

It's this overriding pessimism that I think is the real reason behind my developing apathy. I could write about the things that interest me, bother me, "get them off my chest" so to speak but again, what's the point? It won't make any difference and it probably won't make me feel any better.

So what should I do? Keep plugging along and hope I'll snap out of this funk I'm in and regain some of my passion for life? Continue to blog and treat this site as a sort of personal diary? Or just chuck it all, delete this blog and retreat to my study never to emerge again. Maybe the problem is that I haven't promoted this site or told my friends about it. Maybe I need the readers, the comments, the interaction with others to make this seem worthwhile. Maybe it's time I developed the courage to show my blog to everyone I know, let them read it and let the chips fall where they may. Yes, I think that's exctly what I will do.



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