This is my 900th article in this blog. Its also the 10th anniversary of this blog. As a result of this, I have reflected a lot on blog writing. I have thought a lot on what I should write on this occasion but no one theme has appeared. Instead, many themes appeared and no one theme was dominant. Here are some of the themes that came up:
A Sort-of-an Experiment
In many ways, this blog is a sort-of-an-experiment. I’ve been writing my thoughts down since the 1980’s. But, one day, someone told me to write down my thoughts in a blog . . . so I decided to try it. For 10 years I have written down many of my thoughts and put them down here.
Looking back on it now this blog has been both good and bad. Its good in that I’m continuing to do what I was doing before . . . writing my thoughts down. But, to put them in this blog, I have to spend a lot of time “dressing the thoughts up”, so they are presentable and readable, which actually takes a lot of work and is rather exhausting. This tends to detract from the thought process, I’ve found, and can hinder the process. It makes we wonder if I should end this blog or at least reduce the amount I put in it. I guess we’ll see what I do next.
The Question of Purpose
The primary purpose of this blog was to ask myself “how do things truly appear to me?” The intent is to reach down within myself and be truly honest, saying things bluntly, plainly, and without distortion, and without reliance on other points of view and explanations. In short, I was trying to find “my explanation”. In actuality, most people don’t use their explanation but, instead, use other peoples or societies explanation which they use wholeheartedly or as a basis for theirs. Because of this, we are not truly honest with our own explanations.
Finding out what “my explanation” is may sound easy but its actually quite difficult. I often described it as being painful, almost like giving birth. It can also be very difficult and hard. In many cases, I had to venture off into areas of interpretation and explanation that were so alien to me that it was like walking into a foreign country . . . and without anyone or anything to help me. I often felt like I was walking into a land where no one else has been before. Oddly enough, I often had difficulty trying to “digest” and accept my own explanations. It was easier to accept generic explanations that were already established. It took great effort to resist this impulse. Overall, I’d say that it has qualities of excitement, fear, confusion, and pain, as well as a joy of discovery. In addition, there is something that can be called the “fear of what I may discover”.
Continuing to Blog
I think I continue to write in this blog because I continue to think about things and write them down. Since I write them down why not put them in this blog? I think that’s the main reason why I continue this blog . . . why not? But, as I said above, it takes a lot of work to make them presentable and readable. In fact, at this time, I have over 700 articles that are started but have to be finished and be made presentable. Whether that happens, or not, depends on if I “get in the mood” and do it. Unfortunately, that mood comes and goes and isn’t all that prevalent. Its like there are stages before something is written down in this blog:
- I have the idea
- I note the idea down on a slip of paper (I always keep a slip of in my pocket to note an idea when it comes)
- I think about the idea and elaborate on it
- I start to write it in a blog entry in a simple way
- I elaborate on the idea but its not presentable
- I make it presentable and publish it on the blog
For every idea that is written in this blog there are probably over a 100 that don’t make it. In this way, what is written here is only a fraction of what I actually think. I would actually say its the “tip of the iceberg”. There’s just so much . . .
The Amount of Material
I have gone through a lot of material these past 10 years. The material I’ve gone through is immense and varied, ranging through many fields and subjects. Its almost unreal. I’ve gone through so much material that I can’t even recall most of what I wrote! In fact, I’ve forgotten so much of what I wrote that I tend to restate things in articles. I often wonder how many articles are duplicates. In addition, its not uncommon for me to look at stuff I wrote years ago and I don’t even recognize it as something I wrote.
When I look at my old articles there are many reactions that I have:
- Some of it seems naive or horribly simplistic
- Some I don’t agree with anymore (I often wonder if I should remove them)
- Some I don’t even know what I was trying to say
- Some needs to be rewritten (which I have done)
- Some seem stupid and dumb to me
- Some seem absurd or ridiculous
- I even feel embarrassed by some articles I wrote
- I often wonder if I have revealed too much personal information in some articles
- Sometimes, I wonder if I should of even written about some themes
In short, my own reactions to my own articles range from “good” to “bad”. I’m probably my own worst critic.
Writing to Myself
To me, these articles are really personal thoughts that I am really writing to myself. Much of these thoughts are, in a way, a means to offset the fact that there is no one to talk to. I have found that there is really no one to talk to. Many articles are initiated by thoughts I have when talking to people but are not based in the conversation itself as there usually is none. The conversation initiates the thought process, basically, and I finish the thought on my own. I guess one could say that, in a sense, this blog is a conversation with myself that is often motivated by the fact that there is no one to talk to. Perhaps that’s why I like to publish them, as it gives an illusion of a conversation with people. In this way, it describes a loneliness of sorts, of a loneliness for conversation.
A Desire to Share Thoughts
I do not believe that this loneliness for conversation is the only cause of my writing though. These thoughts are motivated by a personal need. I would describe it as a need to “share” my thoughts with people. I often find it very hard to have thoughts and keep them to myself. This more or less means that this blog is motivated by a desire to “share” thoughts. Why I want to “share” my thoughts I don’t know.
This is further complicated by the fact that, according to my observation, thoughts really don’t mean much to anyone nor does it influence anyone. It seems, to me, that thoughts and ideas have no real value anymore. They are a dime a dozen. As a result, “shared” thoughts have no real worth or, at least, I see no evidence of it. This often makes me wonder why even bother with this blog.
The Importance of Creation
I should point out that all that I write are my ideas. I came up with them. What this means is that I had to think all of it up on my own. This means that the material I’ve gone through is the material I have created. Its not like, say, going through material in the sense of reading a lot of books, watching educational videos, or taking classes at the University, which largely consist of prefabricated material that one repeats and maybe reformulates in a new way.
In that way, I tend to view this blog as a blog of creation. I have to create everything. I have to trudge through the discovery of something, the inquiry of it, the elaboration of it, the working through the details, and ironing out the wrinkles. Frankly, that’s a lot of work . . . and I’ve done it god knows how many times and in god knows how many subjects. I got to admit that this gives me a sense of pride.
The Motive of Creation . . . the Joy of the Hunt
To me, there is a great joy in creation. There’s a joy in bringing things out, of self discovery, of hunting. I’ve always felt that I was a hunter at heart. I’m continually hunting and I love to hunt. There’s something about the hunt . . . it seems to bring out a deep primal need. I can’t really explain it. But hunting is not the same as “looking” or “searching” or “learning”. To me, that is like sitting in an armchair and “casting a glance” at things in a casual and safe way. The hunt, at least as I see it, requires a person to walk into the darkness of life, into the midst of an awareness where one is exposed, disoriented, and vulnerable. It requires more from a person. In a way, the hunt entails a death. To me, every true inspiration comes with a dying of self, at least in some way. And this dying of self must be complimented by a rebirth of a new self . . . the inspired self. In this way, inspiration isn’t coming up with new ideas but, rather, coming up with a new self. This is why I have always maintained that “I do not seek knowledge but a new self”.
The “Intellectual Tradition” . . . Just a Matter of Interpretation
One thing that is apparent after pursuing the “intellectual tradition” for 40, or so, years is that its actually all a matter of interpretation. Practically every idea, and form of knowledge, is an interpretation that someone does. None of it is “written in stone”. It seems that the “intellectual tradition” should be called the “interpretation tradition”. That is to say, intellectualism is not the “quest for knowledge” but a “quest for an interpretation”.
I have always been particularly appalled by how science and the Universities, and some professions, state their knowledge as the absolute truth. I think that the idea that there is only “one interpretation” of things . . . as science professes . . . is ridiculous.
For me, the important thing is “what does it mean to me?” That’s the critical thing. Writing this blog has shown this to be very true. Frankly, I don’t care if people disagree or think that something I say is wrong. I’m not trying to solve the world or claim to give the correct and only interpretation. I’m only describing it as it appears to me and in a way that has meaning to me. Not only that, I know, from experience, that the interpretations that I do are in continual change. What I feel is correct today I may not feel is correct a year from now. And so, for me to say that I am correct, and what I say is the absolute truth, is ridiculous. I think that the situation is no different for anyone else, any institution, any organization, any group, or any profession . . . we’re all just giving our interpretation . . . and it will continually change.
The Question of Authority . . . the Importance of Inspiration
I often mention how I have nothing to look up to in this society. There’s no authority, no mentor, no example, no direction. These are the facts that I have found:
- I cannot rely on society
- I cannot rely on other people
- I must rely on myself
As a result, I have to do these things:
- I have to be my own authority
- I have too look deep within myself, to look beyond myself, for any authority
- I have to follow what I feel is right
This society, and the condition of the mass society and the modern world, has made it necessary so that I must rely on myself. The U.S., in particular, has done everything it can to destroy belief, culture, tradition, social hierarchy, and other human institutions . . . all in the name of freedom, democracy, and progress. What it has left is a cultural, spiritual, and human wasteland with empty vacuous beliefs based in the unstable footing of political theory and intellectual idealism. Not only that, the “intellectual tradition”, knowledge, science, and the education system, try to portray themselves as an authority but they’re really not.
As a result of this, I have found myself in a position (as many people do) where I have no choice but to abandon society and rely on myself which is, in many ways, all that’s left and all that remains constant. There’s no one to look up to. There’s no god. There’s no leader. There’s no authority. All that’s left? . . . The authority within ourselves!
The problem is that I am very much aware of the fact that I am not authority. Because of this, I take the point of view that I am only standing in the “stead of authority”, which is absent, but that is needed nonetheless. As a result, I must “be authority without being authority”. To put it another way, I must be an authority without presuming to be authority. This is a precarious position but a position I have found myself in.
I found that that the to “be authority without being authority” has caused a perception of two parts of my self:
- The “outer me” . . . this is my normal self and does not contain authority
- The “deeper me” . . . here lies a form of authority
The “deeper me” is “beyond me”, out of reach of my normal “outer self”. It is as if separate and removed from my normal self and mind. As a result, I must find ways to “connect” with it. One way this is done is the reflections that make up the articles in this blog.
When reflecting I must do these things:
- I must abandon my self . . . I must become dumb . . . destroy my “outer me”
- I must feel a need to inquire, to seek the “deeper me”
- I must not judge what I say (that’s the “outer me” judging the “deeper me”)
- I must rely on intuition to determine what is correct (this is following the “deeper me”)
This sometimes appears almost like a “divining”, or consulting an oracle, in some respects. I generally speak of this as “seeking inspiration”. I’m basically seeking that inner part of me that “knows” and displays an authority. This is basically an intuition.
In “seeking inspiration”, many of the thoughts “come as if from nowhere”. Oftentimes, I am stunned by much of what I think and write. They are seldom a result of deliberate thought. In fact, many articles are written “off the top of my head”, the words just flying out. I often struggle trying to keep up. But it is through this process I’ve had some of my greatest and most insightful thoughts. More importantly, they seem to possess an authority that normal thought does not have. Inspiration, really, has become one of the substitutes for a missing authority. It has guided and helped me in many things.
Continual Change and the importance of “Pattern of Thought” and the Interpretation of the World
Its interesting how much has changed in these 10 years. Contrary to what is often supposed, later thoughts are not necessarily “built upon” or “improvements” on older thoughts. Some may be and some aren’t.
Overall, the thoughts of the past 10 years seem more like a meandering to me, through a great labyrinth of speculation about things. But there are definite “patterns of thought” in many articles. In many ways, that’s the most important thing. Its not the thought, itself, that is important but the pattern of that thinking for in the pattern is the base of all thought. In the pattern of thought is revealed the character of the interpretation of the world. The thoughts, themselves, are like building blocks. The “pattern of thought” is like the building. In this way, the writing of these articles have helped to reveal the character of interpretation that I use. That, really, is its main benefit, not in the actual ideas themselves.
At the base of much of this writing is the idea that I am really perplexed by the world . . . I’m not sure what to make of it. I should point out that I still don’t, even after all this reflection and speculation. I have often said, “I was thrown into the world and my reaction has been, “huh, what?””. This is complicated by the fact that I was thrown into a world that has become a never ending war of “my explanation is right”. I speak of the intellectual, philosophical, religious, and scientific wars of Western society. As a result of this, I have explanations coming out of my ears . . . and they all profess that they are right. To be frank, there was so much of this that I turned to the only real authority that remained . . . myself and my intuition.
The Importance of Organizing Thoughts
One reason I like to write my thoughts down is because writing helps me to organize my thoughts. If I just think about things then the thoughts as if “go to and fro” like the wind, and most thoughts would pass away and be forgotten. In addition, there would be no organizing of many different thoughts into a coherent whole. Most certainly, writing helps me to organize my thoughts which has helped me a lot.
Writing is a form of explaining things to me. It implies that I do not know, which I don’t. In fact, I don’t care if I know. I have found that the knowing is not what is important. I find the act is what’s important, not the results. In other words, the power is in the experience. It is explaining-as-an-experience. To me, there is great joy in this.
My form of explaining is to focus on the inspiration of explaining, not the use of established knowledge or explanation. In this way, the explaining is always new. In fact, seeking this “newness” is critical.
To me, thoughts are really a labyrinth of confusion. In some respects, I’ve become dumber than when I started. I’ve found that knowledge just clutters the mind. Looking back on it now I think it would be safe to say that if it wasn’t for the explaining-as-an-experience the confusion of all these thoughts would of destroyed me.
The explaining-as-an-experience implies the importance of two things:
- The expression passion – this refers to the yearning for something, the experience
- The establishing of the self – this refers to me as-a-reality, the center of the experience
To me, these are intimately related and reflect two sides of who we are.
Both passion and self need a “form” to manifest itself. They can’t just “sit there”. In many ways, explaining is a creation of a “form” for the passion and self. In this way, explaining-as-an-experience becomes something like an art. But this form of art is really not for public show, its not an art to display to other people. Display has no value in this art. Its the experience, the doing, that matters, and how it is done. What is written here is just the “after effects” of that process.
The Illusion of Thoughts and Ideas
One thing that has become very apparent, to me, is the illusion of thought and ideas. If anything, writing this blog has made it apparent how vague thoughts and ideas really are. By this I mean that they are “right in a way” and “wrong in a way” . . . and they are all that way. I look at most of the stuff coming from the Universities, for example, and almost want to spit because of how they talk as if they are “right”, as if they have discovered the only truth. Practically everything coming from the Universities is opinion, no different than what anyone else has ever done in history. This is the same with all the books, studies, articles, etc. that are out there. In other words, I found that to talk of thoughts and ideas as being “right” is hypocritical and nonsense. No matter what we say today, and believe is right, it will change when a new point of view, and way of interpretation, appears . . . and it will. Not only that, it doesn’t matter what you say, or believe, there is someone to contradict it . . . and they will have their proof, don’t you worry.
Going Beyond Thoughts and Ideas
With the failure of certainty caused by the illusion of thoughts and ideas I find that I tend to look beyond them. I often speak of this as “seeking what is before the word”. I found that thoughts and ideas are a product of “something” and that’s what is important, not the thought or idea. Writing this blog has greatly shown me not to look to thoughts and ideas as if they are what one is seeking but, rather, to look for the “something” that inspires them. In this way, writing this blog has actually led me further away from blog writing which is writing down thoughts and ideas and to look at motivates them, which cannot be written down.
Writing all this stuff in this blog has caused a great humility in me. It could probably be best described in the statement, “what the crap do I know?” Writing things down, and publishing them here so that everyone can see, makes me feel like I’m saying that I am the authority in the matter and know everything. This, of course, is not the case. I have never professed that. Writing all this has only made me realize that I know so little about life, and things, and that I am not this great person. I am only “a person”. I can see that, behind these thoughts, is a person who is striving, a person “in need”, and with a great desperation. Its given me a great humility. Its helped me to put who I am in the context of life, that I am “just a person in life, striving to make the most of life, just as everyone else has done since the beginning of time”. In many ways, this humility is the greatest thing I gained from writing this blog.
Copyright by Mike Michelsen