Thursday, March 28, 2013

Unblogged Ideas

In my blogging absence the last couple of months, there were numerous things that could have been blogged about.  This raises the tree-falling-in-a-forest question: if you don't blog about an idea, did you really have it? This may not be as crazy as it sounds.  Indulge me for a moment.

Ideas come in degrees.  Everyone's favorite skeptic (or sceptic, as the Brits like to spell it--which is a little too close to the tanks I used to install working on a crew one summer in high school), David Hume, recognized the need to distinguish between impressions and ideas.  For him, impressions were just the raw feels delivered by our senses, and ideas were the after-images that remain in our consciousness when we think about them.  I actually prefer Kant's understanding of the matter in that the contents of our consciousness get shaped by our minds (my former students will remember the Play-Doh Fun Factory analogy here).

I've come to think as blogging as a Kantian process of sorts.  The act of writing something out makes the idea take shape in my mind.  Even sometimes when I've been mulling something over for awhile, it is changed considerably when I take the time to write it into a paragraph.  For instance, this post is not at all what I thought it was going to be when I sat down to write it.  Writing happens in fits and starts for me.  There is generous use of the delete key and constant editing and shaping.  New thoughts come when I read over something written down.  So who knows what the "ideas" that I've had the last couple of months would have become?  Even if I were to write a blog entry on them now, I'm sure they would be different than if they were written at the time.  Let's leave it to the metaphysicians to decide their ontological status.  I'll content myself with listing a few of those ideas that never were, children never conceived, falling trees that made no sound.  In no particular order:

  1. How my life has changed now that it revolves around an iPad
  2. Watching White Collar on Netflix
  3. Son #2 beating me in ping pong for the first time
  4. Our culture's absurd rhetoric about gun rights
  5. A trip to Seattle, complete with botched flight connections
  6. The Crossfit competition at Bethel
  7. Reading The Chosen for the third time
  8. The evolution of my thinking on evolution
  9. My good wife and her tolerance of all the testosterone around her
  10. Battling squirrels at the bird feeder

No sense pining for what would have been.  We set our faces to the future and march boldly into that great unknown, hoping to shape it in these pages in ways that lend a modicum of understanding.

1 comment:

Socrates43 said...

I'd like to hear about your re-re-reading of 'The Chosen' (even if it is not what you initially would have blogged about). 'The Chosen' is one of my favorite books, and one that I've returned to many times with considerable enjoyment. I think the themes are as serious and important as it gets (how to properly respect tradition, community, and individuality; how to overcome personal prejudices; the power of friendship in the face of social sanctioning; the proper role of intellectual pursuits in interpersonal relationships; the choice of what sort of life one wants to lead; etc.), and Potok builds the tension between the characters nicely for a great narrative flow. Love it.

-David Wright