Wednesday, September 29, 2004

a little note about this blog and where it is going and why it is here

I guess it is a good time (five months into this)to write an introduction as to why I am barking into cyberspace with my thoughts. As with anything, there are a multitude of reasons ranging from the benevolent (sharing information and pointing to things I have found enlightening/helpful/entertaining) to the narcissistic (egomanical delusions of world domination), but there were a few coherent ideas when I set out on this journey.

The title "Awareness is Painful" comes from feelings of mine which have been growing lately about the dangerousness of ignorance. If ignorance is dangerous, if it is detrimental, why is it so attractive to so many people? I am not being so simple as to take ignorance at just being uneducated, but am instead using the term to describe a larger outlook on the world. The mind's primary function isn't to expand our world, but to filter through the imput and whittle it down to a manageable size, but where we draw these lines is what is facinating to me. How to we manage our ignorance and our awareness? In the technology age, these decisions about what to accept, what to be sceptical of, what to embrace or reject are becoming increasingly complex and our choices about this have wider and wider ranging effects.

I fully understand the need to approach the world in manageable bits and to limit how far one extends themselves, but I am also emphatic in demanding an honesty about what you are doing. I personally can not control what is going on everywhere and my mind can't wrap itself around it all, but when I do see things going on, when I do do things with effects which will resonate further than myself, it is my hope that I begin with honestly acknowledging to myself what I am doing. I don't mind knowing that there are times that I have failed, or that people in general are far from perfect or even quite often miserable bastards. Knowing horrible things happen doesn't push the knowledge of beautiful things out of my mind. But what I am getting at is that I am seeing the beauty because of where I am looking and how I am looking, not because it is the only thing there. These are the world views which freak me out, the fundamental streaks in people's minds which say to them, "If this is true, it must be absolutely true."

I am not just speaking to the religious zealots (although they deserve a special place), but even just the day to day tunnel vision which so many people foster. The deep seated beliefs in the-way-it's-supposed-to-be. The beloved myths of used-to-be. Balanced with an awareness of realities that acompany these beliefs, they are useful and can help you keep yourself between the lines, but when treated as unassailable divine absolutes with hostility towards anything in conflict with them, they are recipes for disastrous conflict. There are more colors than black and white. This is somewhat my attempt at sorting all of this out.

This is also an attempt at documenting an exchange of ideas. This is certainly open to the introduction of others into the conversation, but it is largely based around ongoing discussions which Mason and I have been having for years now. We were roommates through college and have been living apart for sometime, but have kept up our culture of lively conversation via email. As you may have noticed, Mason writes less frequently (part of that is currently circumstantial -no computer access at his current apartment- but this is also pretty typical anyway) and drops the occasional well thought out deluge of ideas, while I blast off about everything fairly voiciferously. But point being, our conversations are something which I value and which greatly influence the way I understand the world, both through his guidance and criticism and through the clarity and sharp focus that the act of writing can bring. So this is my attempt to document and potentially share them.

Of course, in these polarized days, you will find me getting fairly political (although this wasn't meant just to be a political endevour). Partly this is because it is cathartic to have some outlet for these frustrations; partly it is in some vain hope that someone is listening out there and may find something illustrative in some of my rants or the links I suggest; partly it is just part of the converstaion: right now politics are crazy and I am pissed off for a thousand different reasons. But my problems with politics these days are rooted in what I find so frustrating about narrow world views. The willful ignorance and dishonesty these days is appalling, and I would argue that history has judged harshly on what comes of unfettered public momentum falling in with these kinds of self-centered outlooks. We are all operating under our own prejudices, but when they are not acknowledged as such and are treated as divine instead of as suspect, watch out.

I know this is going on a little long, but there is an end in sight. One last note on why I do this: to bear witness. Just to take notice of some things. I can't fix everything which makes me mad or sad, but I can keep my eyes open. I can bear witness. So, in my own little way, I try to.

I hope this exercise finds receptive eyes to read it. I hope you find something worth your time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

ignorance, huh? you should check out avitall ronell's _stupidity_. she questions the politics of ignorance: who benefits from it; how it is perpetuated; why is it so popular; what it serves? you may want to check it out.