Before beginning a journey, it is important to choose a destination. The destination may be concrete or abstract, but it must be well-defined. If it isn’t, how will you know if you’re off-track, or if you’ve arrived? “My destination is nowhere” is explicit, and so acceptable. But if your destination is somewhere, further definition is paramount. Even the wise men needed a north star.
So it is with travel, so it is with work. A well-defined “why”, like a good north star, allows course correction and coordination, and serves to motivate & focus all involved parties. Fittingly then, my first blog post is about why I am starting a blog. This post is as much for me, the writer, as it is for you, the reader. In order:
I am writing a blog to think better. The essay, as a medium for ideas, both permits and requires greater coherence than the human brain does. Most humans can hold only a few objects simultaneously in their working memory. The written word circumvents this limitation. The advantage in idea generation & communication of a man with paper is similar to the advantage in arithmetic of a man with computer. Writing is a tool for thinking.
I am writing a blog to elicit feedback. The internet is a hive mind, producing insights and patterns far beyond what any single human might. In my own small way, I hope to contribute. More reasonably, as is typical when engaging with a far greater intelligence, I wish to learn. Blogging is a tool for communicating.
I am writing a blog to train my ‘future generator’. The brain frequently revises history in its favor once an outcome is known. “I knew it all along!” says every investor, after the fact. By periodically recording my thought patterns, I hope to discover & learn from more of my own mistakes. A blog is an intellectual accountabilibuddy.
I am writing a blog to contribute. I am guessing 60% of my knowledge comes from reading other blogs online, and so I believe it is important to give back. If my writing is able to help just one other person, whether today or at any point in the future, I will consider it a wild success. Humans are the blind men and the elephant in idea-space. Only through teamwork & communication can we hope to learn from our disparate fumblings. The written word is stigmergic.
With these reasons in mind, I am considering the following content: long-form & short-form essays, project-based walkthroughs, reading recommendations, responses to other essays, book reviews, and principle defining. For now I am focusing on essays.
This will take time and mistakes to figure out. All processes do. When I venture off-track, this post will serve as my north star. If you feel I’ve deviated, or have any other feedback, please let me know. After all, that is how we improve.