The Obligatory Explanatory Note
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Well, I have finally done it, if in a very timid way: I have acquired a weblog. Any of you who know me reasonably well may well be confused, stumbling upon this page, for you must know that I am a ceaseless promoter of quietism. "Mind your own business," I should like to say to many of the people I meet, "because I'm certainly not going to." I don't in general read anyone else's blog; I'm not a rabid New Media activist; and I don't have any emotional stake in the number of hits this page will get. So why, dear Reader, am I going public?
There are a few reasons. I will now use my HTML prowess to display them to you:
- I am bored with my current use of the Web. There's only so many times I can waste the hours doing the things I do (check the email, read the webcomics, peruse the Space and Cosmos section of the New York Times, learn about math on Wikipedia) before my painfully-short attention span starts wondering if there's more to life. Unfortunately, I am also pretty bad at seeking new and interesting things on the Internet. (To see why this is so, I refer you to the 'debater's paradox' of Plato's Meno: you cannot seek what you don't already know.) Therefore, I have decided, like so many others, to create my own Destiny of Interesting Content. If I have a blog, I can only blame myself if this little corner of the Web is boring. Now that's motivation.
- I have a thing for easily-made beauty. WordPress.com provides a wonderful tool for making some very pretty blogs, and they also provide the server space that hosts me, for free. Perhaps someday I'll thow off the yoke of being chained to a free service and port this over to my own domain, but not before I know what I'm doing. I extend my thanks to these nice folks for helping me get off the ground, even if they are doing the same for a lot of other boring content. I'm also experimenting with LaTeX these days, for much the same reasons. If you don't have to worry about the aesthetics, it's easier to write something worthwhile. Or so the theory goes.
- It's a good place to experiment with papers and get feedback. One of my original motivations for this site was to have a place that I could publish my ideas in a format that would make it easy for some of my professors to read and comment on, without costing me ten cents per page to print them. To this end, I'll probably be putting chunks of my senior philosophy thesis on here as I write them. I haven't decided whether to do this directly in the blog, or as attached PDFs, to avoid the clutter; but it's a moot point at the moment, since I have a few months before I even need to think about it. I wanted to be up and running before then, so there would be no technological issues to mess around with when the time comes. This is one of the few instances of foresight on my part likely to be seen in my use of this space. Anyway, this is fair warning: my philosophy is coming.
- I type faster than I write in my journal. In general, I prefer using pen and paper, but sometimes the slowness of it causes good ideas to be lost. Of course, the trade-off with typing is that there is a much greater danger of blathering and non-sequiturizing; I shall have to keep myself in check. I won't be using this blog as a replacement for my journal, but I will, perhaps, select some bits from time to time. Musing things over in this sort of digital pressure-cooker sometimes helps me see things about my own writing that aren't obvious when they're disguised by my sleight-of-hand, so maybe something good can come of it. It's an experiment; we shall have to see.
I think, for the moment, I would prefer to leave the rest of my intentions 'open-textured', so as not to contradict myself later. Suffice it to say that I mostly intend this site for personal use, but it is public, and if you want to read or even comment on my various pontifications, I invite you to do so. I shall endeavor to avoid the sort of pointless barking parodied in the New Yorker cartoon below, but I suppose we all succumb to it sometimes. Maybe if I get it out of my fingers while I'm alone in my apartment, no actual people will have to get hurt.
There you have it, then: my first blog entry. I hope that in reading it, you've enjoyed the same sort of smug-yet-ashamed satisfaction that I have in writing it. Now, however, my procrastination must end for today.