Why I’m Tired of this Blog Right Now

Petteri left a couple of comments on a previous post that got into frustrations about blogging and so forth. This started out as a comment but I thought I’d just roll with it as a post instead.

It sometimes becomes tiring dealing with emotionally filtered thinking and comments based on what people think has been  said or imagined has been said by myself or others, and not on what’s actually been said.

That’s one of my conscious on-line practices-to comprehend what’s actually there and get directly to the point. I know that comes across sometimes as harsh to some people but life isn’t long enough to wallow around in the weeds, particularly when they relate to such tangential things as personality flaws, manufactured ego  dramas, unrelated issues, and so on.

Some years ago I was taking a bunch of writing courses. There was always the dictum to not waste words. That means to put forward only those things that relate to the point (plot) and not get lost in tangents. Tangents are worth expressing and exploring, if they relate to the issue, but if they don’t it totally derails the discussion. (ie comments section of the Washington Post) That sort of efficient view or style of communication is not for everyone and we all like to take some moments to gather our thoughts, so I try to relax my (one) pointedness to a degree. 

However strictly emotional arguments are not my cup of tea at all. I don’t see a point to them other than people working out their own emotional issues and I don’t care to be cast in that kind of psycho-drama narrative. So I don’t participate much in those kinds of things.

I try to keep my ego shit off this blog as much as possible. That means things like personal problems and stuff which only I can deal with. I don’t expect anyone to wallow there with me. And much of that is dealt with in practice anyways. Do it long enough and you get to know what’s of substance and what isn’t.

I’m way more interested in social issues, creativity, attempting to understand the world, existence, humanity as it is and to try to get to the root of all of that.

I realize that some expressions of emotional outrage are expressions of suffering. But I’m not a teacher, psychotherapist or counselor.  And neither are most people who blog, participate in forums etc.  If what I write touches upon that in such a way I will take my share of the blame insofar as I’ve written something that touches that. But I won’t take up the responsibility for someone else’s emotional state.  Ultimately the responsibility for that rests with the person who chooses the response. And I do consider emotional responses to be a choice in many cases. (Sometimes not if people are in shock or are really deluded or lost in their own fantasies or nightmares, like with PTSD or something) 

Some time back someone referred to me as  a”banshee”. I can’t remember exactly where. It doesn’t matter. I don’t care much about that. The reason it stuck in my head was the lack of rationality involved. It’s real easy to hurl labels but a lot more difficult to rationally justify it. Name calling and labeling is something I really try to avoid, as is strictly emotional ranting. Not always successful (I can think of 3 specific instances where it was not). I do rant aplenty but set myself a certain burden of reasoned proof for such things.

As well I have to answer to my own satisfaction the following questions:

  • Why am I saying this?
  • Does it possibly serve a useful purpose?
  • What tone am I using and why?
  • What are the possible logical arguments against this position? (That’s why some of my pieces are so long)
  • What is the emotional content? Is it tied to my own issues or to greater concerns?
  • What, potentially will the receiver of this information experience or feel? (That’s a little difficult since I’m not a mind reader, but I try to shift perspectives throughout everything I write)
  • Is the message relevant to goals other than my own wish to express or vent? (I am venting right now and not really giving too much of a shit about it actually, it’s totally self-indulgence-kind of a difference between what I usually write Hmmm?)

There’s a whole lot more that could be put on that list but everyone has their own lists when they are questioning stuff.

I also get tired of unrelated agendas that seethe beneath words. Things like veiled threats, pleas for feeding a victim mentality (not about real victims but imaginary ones),  attention-getting mechanisms and so on I just don’t have any more patience for. Nor for distortions of facts, masquerades of truth made for self-serving purposes or statements that parrot “what everybody else says” as if that’s justification for belief.

Then there’s all the psychological crap like projecting of motives, manufacturing of consent meaning trying to whip up mob mentalities, looking for approval or agreement and so on.

I could go on and on but there’s not much purpose left in this post. I don’t feel like justifying myself to anyone.

But I will say I’m pretty much the same in person as I am in the words that appear on this blog. Don’t see a lot of need to create persona when I’ve already got one called an ego.

So if I’ve responded in a rather testy manner it’s because I’m tired of some stuff for the moment. And there is a little bit of existential pissed-off-ness as well as misanthropism to that tiredness.

Considering Sartre: Hell is other people.

Or Aristotle who follows a more ontological route: the misanthrope, as an essentially solitary man, is not a man at all: he must be a beast or a god, a view reflected in the Renaissance of misanthropy as a “beast-like state. [Wikipedia]

Grrrrrrrrrr.

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13 comments on “Why I’m Tired of this Blog Right Now

  1. Hey – just wanted to send out a word of appreciation for your posts. Though I often don’t get a chance to do more than skim them since I started subscribing to your feed a couple of months ago I get a taste of your mind and wanted to say thank you.

    It was your being “tired of emotionally based thinking” and “unrelated agendas” that caught my attention. I was curious. Who was it who said “It’s a miracle we do as well as we do”? Kalu Rimpoche perhaps.

    Anyway I am enjoying you bringing your human perspective to this western reinvention of buddhism.

    ;-) Caitriona
    http://www.manzanitavillage.org/

  2. I lurk your blog daily since finding it and thought you should know from my non-Buddhist, personally uninvolved perspective, I find it to have a great deal of interesting stuff as well as what I naively think of as pure abstract merit. It would be a loss if a bunch of hoohah within the blogosphere or other people’s ego games gave you a distaste for expressing the things you are able to convey to others. AFA the vegans–I read that article, and I must say, it’s awfully silly. There’s nothing wrong with calling people out when they make totally absurd arguments based on their own view of what’s GOOD or real; in fact it could be seen as the duty of a rational mind. These are the people that assume everyone is them, or if they aren’t, they should be. Screw them. Hope you continue to provide your insights as long as you find it the right thing to do.

    Plus you have great music. It often makes my day.

  3. well you know, i kinda prefer people to have opinions. Even if I disagree, if I can see someone has a well thought out argument, or even an argument that comes from their heart, well I will listen and respect that. Mostly.

    Arguments that are not well thought out are the bread and butter of the webiverse, and I think we have all run into wacky oppositional people before. Also, I can think of a couple of times I have been one myself.

    But none of this means you should quit your blog. That’s because we need your voice out there, saying what you think and feel. I appreciate your longer posts with links and theories and ideas – it stretches out my mind in a good way.

    I can also appreciate that you want a break from being knee deep in the fray. But maybe make it a holiday break. But come back – definetely come back.

    On the vego issue – well I have been vego for about fifteen years I guess, and I was vegan for a while there too. Such choices often provoke debate, and we should expect that. Issues involving personal choices often invoke emotive responses. As a vegan I knew that. There was lots of opportunity for dialogue and challenge – and that was good. Everytime I said to myself – is this really what I think? And then if it was, try and communicate that. I think our differences provide excellent opportunities to learn and grow and understand each other further. Of course that’s very nice and merry to say – but when we are in the moment sometimes we would prefer to reach for a large rock to throw. Or is that just me?

    Whatever you decide to do about your blog – good luck and metta to you.

  4. It sound like you would be okay if everyone would stop reading and commenting on your blog. But then, who would you have to blame?

  5. 1. Do you feel that you have an obligation to blog?

    2. Do you feel that you have a compulsion to blog?

    Honestly curious, because I have to deal with those all the time. I think I’ve got (1) on a leash, so it’s mostly (2).

    • 1. No
      2. No
      Have been writing since I was 16 years old. Blogging is not a good forum for writers. The immediate feedback disrupts the process of the organization of thought and thereby stifles deep creativity. There is too much rush to production. I actually prefer writing with a pen and paper.

      Then there is the issue of comments. There is a lot of opinion but little considered thought. The philosopher Alain de Botton wrote:
      “The ungenerous comment has an (unearned) tendency to seem like the clever one.”
      Pseudo-cleverness in byte sized quips is taken for intelligence and consideration and propagated as the same.
      It seemed that blogs would be a good place to store some writing rather than keep adding to the piles in various trunks and suitcases. Saves a lot of time in getting stuff published, which I’ve done in the past, but don’t do now since I’m not a marketer and it’s real time consuming.
      But the format of blogs is rather dictatorial. Some people moderate comments, don’t have comments or pick and choose which comments to display-but I don’t want to spend my time being that kind of arbitrator or dictator myself. Am thinking to put stuff in ScribD or Google Docs or something like that instead.
      It’ll work itself out eventually.

  6. I read your post just around the time I was reading WAPO about a talk show host hanging up her spurs in frustration. Similar [but different too] to your Post.

    They both sound like something might change.

    From WAPO: She added: “The reason is, I want to regain my First Amendment rights. I want to be able to say what’s on my mind and in my heart and what I think is helpful and useful without somebody getting angry, some special-interest group deciding this is the time to silence a voice of dissent and attack affiliates, attack sponsors. I’m sort of done with that.”Schlessinger’s advice program has been a fixture on talk radio for years and is heard on almost 200 stations around the country. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/17/AR2010081706418.html

    Seems like since Descartes Disease left over from the 16th C
    I think therefore I am, I feel therefore I am [Freud,
    I know therefore I am [knowledge makers]
    and I opine therefore people: follow me [teachers & talk-show hosts like Laura]

    Kierkegaard and others have thought that this kind of separated from the world paradigm is a dangerous discourse.

    Contrast with Heidegger where the point of reference isn’t knowing something detatched & in abstraction; but actually being in the world of connected stuff tactile stuff, real people face to face is much more common and normal.

    His example was a carpenter hammering the nail connected to the board, house, house blueprint, neighborhood, world. The carpenter or artist [or to use Dogen’s example of cook] is not disconnected in distance thought but in the thick of being.

    Fundamentally you can be->do->know [Heidegger], not only know->be->do [Descartes]

    Dogen says, when one cooks, the cook is in the kitchen [of life] & prepares a complete meal –

    6 flavors:
    bitter sour sweet salty mild hot

    3 virtues:
    -light & flexible
    -clean & neat
    -conscientious & thorough


    And my read:

    no kitchen, no cooking, no happiness; in the kitchen of this life, nothing is hidden.

    Just want to stare at the menu and not cook the real meal and share it?

    Just want to opine on the computer screen and express road rage?

    Bernice McCarthy suggests we are stuck in a certain abstract knowing learning style
    http://www.aboutlearning.com/what-is-4mat/what-is-4mat where what counts is not the experience of being in the world but the knowing of the classroom teacher.
    She says there are at least 3 other possibilities than lost in the abstractions of the classroom teacher & the computer screen.

    Dreyfus suggests sooner or later what you know isn’t so interesting but what you do with what you know is interesting.

    The music score isn’t as interesting as the music played. The play begs performance in the theatre not the bookshelf. After many considerations the surgeon actually takes up the scalpel and cuts. The pilot has the opportunity to put down the flight manual, look out side the window to see what’s real and then actually land the airplane in the Hudson River – or not.

    Dreyfus has a lively model of practicing skillful means that goes beyond “Beginners Mind” – which of course is always useful and necessary to finding a place to put something into the world

    http://www-personal.umich.edu/~lormand/phil/teach/mmm/readings/Dreyfus%20-%20NonRepresentationalist%20Cognitive%20Science.pdf

    I’ve been re-reading [ finding a lot of substance from]

    David Reynolds Constructive Living and

    Jisho Warner et.al. Nothing is Hidden – Zen Master Dogen’s Instructions for the Cook.

    The first is about being with and in an ordinary day; the second is about when I have intention to manifest an intention in the world. [write, cook the meal, heal, fly the plane]

    This is not the view of a movie goer who observes and comments like a knowledgeable spectator-critic who splits the world into watcher/watched ala Descartes 16th C paradigm.

    Seems like Posts and Comments are intentions manifest on the computer screen and in some way what is posted and commented can be connected to my actual world not only the wifi network.

    Likely if there is road rage on the computer screen, there is in the other place too. Where ever you go there you are; and if nothing changes, nothing changes.

    • “this kind of separated from the world paradigm is a dangerous discourse” I agree.

      There are similar notions such as “being in the world and not of it.” which also gets misconstrued as disengagement from life or some kind of impossibly transcendental existence where no one or nothing can have any effect. Rather like catatonia. There’s a lot of that in certain Zen circles.

      There are times when one can deliberately, or by force of circumstances (such as having some kind of nervous breakdown) back off from the intensity of things but there isn’t any way to disengage except to die. That’s fairly drastic and not a solution to dealing with reality.

      There’s always going to be the possibility of road rage on any path.

  7. Hummm, Neela . . . interesting. This post of yours left me speechless, which does not happen often :)

    With much metta, and a deep bow to you for the sincerity of your practice, and sharing.

  8. I see the mirror, more often than the moon reflected in the mirror. I see my impressions. more often than whatever was the actual form of the previous instance, before – whether or not reasonably leading to – those impressions.

    Of course, there are also impressions of impressions. I’m not saying as if there was no thing as objective meaning, by that. I simply don’t know how easy an objective meaning can be to pin down, though, as far as judging another person’s intentions.

    I’m sorry.

    :makes like a turtle and leaves:

  9. I think it would be rather cool to be called a banshee. There is a charming tension there between threat and absurdity. If I were called a banshee (unlikely, being the wrong sex — why are banshees always female? what’s the nearest male equivalent?), I might agree and own it, humorously.

    I have suggested elsewhere that we humans are all monsters, and recognizing that is a key to the Buddhist path. (Well, Vajrayana Buddhism for sure.) Pretending not to be a monster makes one self-righteous — and does not make one any less monstrous — and that is dangerous. It’s people who think they are highly moral and not at all monstrous who burn Korans and blow stuff up.

    The trick is to allow one’s monstrosity and nobility to coexist, and to transform each other.

    I liked what you said about how you write. I try to take a similar approach. If one is just straightforward, then sometimes one will be seen as a monster. That’s inevitable, so one might as well find it funny — and preempt the nonsense by declaring oneself a monster from the git go.

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