This post, dear reader, is going to be an announcement, a thank you, and an apology at the same time.
The announcement is that, as of yesterday, I’ve basically become the blog manager for my school’s student newspaper. In that club, the whopping 8 of us were content creators at heart, so we weren’t satisfied with the mere 4 full-fledged issues/year. The little background I’ve built here for the past five months allowed me to put a solution on the table: Make a blog, and we did.
This brings me to my second point. I have thanked you all many times in the past, and will likely continue to do so in the future, but this time is a little bit special. Today, I thank you not only for making me a better writer, but also for giving me the know-how to function WordPress, and on the Blogosphere as a whole. These skills may be more useful to me than I know.
Now, you might be wondering what I want the apology to be about. Well, the thing is, with Homework becoming increasingly hard, another blog to manage, and finals creeping in the horizon, I find myself with less time to write. Now, rest assured, I will do my best to share all my short pieces with you all as often as possible, and to read yours as well, but it won’t match the intensity of my involvement during summer break for example.
So, thank you, sorry, and see you ‘round! 😉
Tag Archives: ramble
This post, dear reader, is going to be an announcement, a thank you, and an apology at the same time.
I recently read a post that dealt with legacy. It was essentially a quote from the famous novel, Farenheight 451. To sum it up in a very non poetic way, it said we all need and deserve to have a legacy, the word being defined as difference in state of an object after our passage.
That quote got me thinking. Is that really what legacy is? A change we make that identifies us after our death? Do we really all deserve to have one? Is it even necessary to want one?
First on what legacy is (I’m not going to use any dictionary for this one, just good old Mr Rambles): To me, a legacy is indeed a change, but not usually a materialistic one. A legacy is a part of your life’s work or actions that is deemed worthy of teaching or passing on to the next generation, or, at least, to resist temporal erosion… for a time.
Indeed, a legacy has a lifetime of its own. Some, like Shakespeare’s or Da Vinci’s, are particularly resistant, some might say stubborn. However, I doubt that George RR Martin and Adele will be remembered in 400 years.
Speaking of time, a legacy isn’t created over an instant either. It’s generated over a lifetime, given shape over the years. It’s not a steady process. It can be strengthened by an action, and devitalized by another. Its importance and impact can change as society evolves. Legacies have all sorts of impacts, some of which aren’t very glorifying for those they represent.
That being said, do we all deserve a legacy? How does one rate the importance of an action or actions? To expand on that point, does our actions, good and bad, especially bad, not deserve to be forgotten, in order to give way to the next generations?
On a personal note, I’d say we all have a legacy, however small it might be. Whether they are physical things, like this blog for example, that will likely be around after we cease to be, or at least have the ability to, or more metaphysical things, like my over analytical tendencies, that will surely live out through the memories of loved ones after I kick the bucket.
If you do not know the amazing Celine JeanJean, you should definitely go check her blog out. She was kind enough to nominate me for a readership award (still working on that post BTW Celine, but I started this one a day or two before and didn’t want to let it sit in my unfinished projects folder for any length of time…), and is an amazing and entertaining blogger, as well as a great reader and commenter! This post is rather brief, so please, feel free to share any thought down below. What do you think about this legacy stuff?
They’re kind to me, they feed me and shelter me and love me. But they can also be harsh. They obsess over the future and the past, often not seeing the present as anything other than a means for reaching the future. According to them (or at least one of them) I must always be doing something productive for the long run. They put me in a cage. To help me achieve my goals they say. Focus on what’s real! It’s the only thing that really counts in life they say. Too often they trim my wings, pulling me back down to earth. They do not realise that I need the time I “waste” to be “wasted”. They do not understand that what they see as useless can mean a lot to me. I fear that though they do not mean to, they oppress me. And I fear that because of this I may never fly again lest it be some measly hop with shoulders too heavy and wings too short to take off.
I do know that I must prepare for the future, but must I really spend every minute of my time doing so? I value the present as I discard the past and strive towards the future. I might need help, but I also need the freedom to have to ask for that help and not have it forced upon me.
If I focus on what is real and only that, life becomes unbearable… Not because bad things have happened to me but because there is already so little freedom in life, according to how well you do you can go on to do certain things, the rest is achieved with money. Nothing can be achieved only through dreams anymore and we are slaves of the society we call free. So sometimes, I need to get away from that, to imagine I can do anything and be anyone, break the rules, because there is so little I can do in real life.
I hope you understand me, we are all different people with different ways of living, some of which are incompatible. We should acknowledge that and try to adapt to make sure everyone has what they need. Be open and try to understand people, that’s where you learn the most important things. In fact I think when we meet people, we can often say that we learn them and if you look deeper into someone, the chances are you’ll find something you never knew was there. Everyone has a secret, and people are not always who you think they are
I’m relatively new to WordPress, and one of my favourite things about blogging has been comments. I love to read, write and answer them. Recently, we were awarded a Liebster (not incredibly prestigious but still sent shivers through me when I saw Sue Blake’s comment). So we did the whole Q&A and nominated some bloggers we liked. One of my nominees was a girl whose blog I had just recently started to visit regularly, the amazing SJ Paige. During the ensuing comment chit-chat, she briefly mentioned her motivations for blogging. This seemingly casual remark caused a surprisingly big reaction within my brain. Why do I blog? Why do I spend countless hours in front of my PC screen telling stories of mages, secret agents, and spaceships?
Rationality gave me the answer. “You accepted your friend’s invitation and challenge to join the SpeakEasy” it declared, “after which you realised you could learn how to write better from these people.” Yes, but why do I feel this urge to write more? Why am I addicted to all sorts of feedback, comments especially?
Analytics then spoke up. “It’s a form of human interaction. You’re a human being (a bloody teenager at that). Evolution has wired you to pursue social interaction. It’s how you’re gonna meet a mate to further ensure the continuation of the human race.” Ok, but then why are the most satisfying comments tips, advice, constructive criticism etc… Why am I so proud when I put the final period on a post, one that outshines the tingle of satisfaction I feel when I hit “publish”? Why do I feel like a kid in a candy store while surfing through WordPress?
Dead silence from Analytics and Rationality. Well Ramble, it’s just you and me.
The way I see it, two possibilities stand out. Either I’m a lot more of an attention seeker than I originally thought I was, or this is what artists feel when they create a piece of art, or at least something that goes beyond the status of words on a piece of paper (Don’t have the pride or notoriety necessary to call myself an artist… in public… yet).
I feel like we all have an inner need for attention. We all need some sort of proof that we exist, that we are more than the sum of our actions, that we transcend the status of mere animated physical body. Maybe that is how Evolution makes us pursue human interactions: by making us addicted to them, being the most efficient and visible testimony to our existence (how it affects the life of others). Maybe it’s just a quirk produced by our overly complex brain. Maybe the machine in our heads has a desperate need to verify the reality perceived by our senses, to make sure it has a place in it.
Then again, this inner need for attention wouldn’t answer the whole question. It might justify the glee I feel when I see the high five comments on the SpeakEasy posts, and even part of the immense satisfaction caused by the comments with reactions in them (every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Here is a reaction caused by my action. My action is capable of causing a reaction, therefore it is real, and therefore I’m real). It doesn’t, however, explain the sheer pride I feel when surfing around on WordPress, knowing I’m part of that big machine. It doesn’t explain the satisfaction of finishing a post, or even that of having a good idea for a post.
That’s when the whole “artist’s pride” theory comes in. Again, I’m not calling myself an artist. I’m a teenager who happens to know how to use a keyboard. I have no qualification as a writer other than an unfinished high school education. Except quality doesn’t matter in this equation. The point is that it’s a creation, something my brain made from a set of electric impulses. Somehow, that simple fact makes us proud. Proud that we have created something. It doesn’t matter that it won’t make us rich or famous, what matters is that it is a contribution to a community (WordPress), and to a culture (the internet’s blogosphere). And that is a beautiful thing.
This pride does explain my urge to come up with new ideas, new stories, and new worlds. It explains my fascination for this community and my happiness to find my humble posts contribute to it. Is this artistic drive within all of us? Is it only due to yet another brain quirk? I have no idea. Do you?
Which one of these is the fuel my brain feeds off of when writing? A mix of the two probably. Which one is dominant? Are they fundamentally linked, and thus, impossible to separate? Am I an attention whore or Picasso?
Here is another question: Was Picasso an attention whore?
This is an elaboration on a “debate” that happened in the comment section of my submission to this week’s Speakeasy (165). SilverLeaf, a rather notorious blogger of this corner of the internet, took some of her precious time to share some insights with me on world politics, and abstract concepts like power, conflict, and cycles of chaos.
This is most likely going to be a ramble dealing with those issues, as well as a response to SilverLeaf’s most recent comment.
First, on the topic of Power, and its ability to corrupt the good will of men. My stereotypical teenager idealism and optimism refuses to admit that principle. I think power is only a source of corruption if one actively strives for it, as that power will take priority over introspection and morality, amongst other “good” traits of character. It can also become damaging if one grows too dependent of that power, or any privileges that come with an advantageous position, whether social, professional or political. However, if one can be in a position of power without becoming too reliant of the privileges that come with such a status, one can hold power without the conservation of said power becoming a priority that overtakes morality or ethical decision making. In a time of worldwide economic turmoil however, vulnerability to poverty or economic hardship makes conservation of acquired goods and privileges a bigger concern to all people (and groups/associations of people, as political parties, nations, religious groups and most institutions involving multiple people are concerned (Not to mention companies)). This economic turmoil also brings incentive for people to look for scapegoats on whom to collectively blame their problems (Has mob mentality EVER accomplished something good?), as if to persuade themselves that they have no part in the problems that plague nations and economies worldwide, as if it wasn’t their fault (and sometimes it’s not. That doesn’t justify the finger pointing though).
That brings me to my next topic of ramble: Politics and extremism. Take the situation I just described and add a new factor to the equation: A political party that likes to flatter your patriotism and national pride, and that blames the daily problems of the people on a part of society that is fundamentally “different” (Not a huge fan of the word), whether in skin colour, religion, nationality, social class etc…. Now take that entity, and make it promise to the people that they will maintain their resources and privileges if those scapegoats are removed from the equation, or, at least, prevented from taking a bigger part in it. Here in France, that phenomenon is very present. The extreme right National Front claims that foreigners from Africa and Eastern Europe are taking “French” jobs, that the Euro and the E.U. are killing the French economy, that the governing socialists are incapable of running the country (which, to their credit, is a widely spread opinion that I can, to an extent, understand). Then again, this rise of extremism cannot only be the cause of this power conservation mechanism, at least not directly. It is also caused by the mass distrust in classical parties, mostly due to their inability to deal with the consequences of 2008’s financial fallout. However that inability to solve the many problems that befell on national economies may also be tied to the power mechanism we were talking about earlier. Indeed, the crisis may have had the same effect on politicians and people of influence as it is having today on the electors/voters. They were faced with a failure on the global level. They had been elected, and now the people of their nation were faced with inflation, rising prices, and, in some cases, unemployment or homelessness. Maybe this caused them to grasp on to the power they were given access to, for fear of losing it despite their efforts. Maybe they lost focus of the problem. Maybe they lost focus of the voters who put them in that seat. That would be understandable when political rivals that were insignificant before now could claim that they had failed to protect the nation from economic hardship (an impossible task in this globalized world, by the way). So it all links back to power in a vicious circle of chaos: Rise; Corruption; Trauma; Rise.
Except that’s not quite true. Compare this situation to the last time extreme right, fascist parties were on the rise: in the 1930s and before, racism and xenophobia were widespread and part of mainstream society. Hatred was omnipresent after WW1’s “dictat”. In the meantime, we avoided an open conflict between the United States and the Soviets (which, because of the spread of nuclear weaponry, could have devastated life on Earth). This goes to show that, despite it being slow and gradual, progress is being made, and that might be best.
If we were to flip the table over and radically change society in a short period of time, then true chaos would ensue (Mao’s Great Cultural Revolution, anyone?). We will gradually improve our ability to resist corruption and hatred, learn to wield power with reason, learn to understand one another and bypass differences. Human society is like a rocket, fighting to escape Earth’s gravity: It consumes a ridiculous amount of energy, but it has the ability to elevate us above and beyond the flaws of human nature.
So, SilverLeaf, to answer your comment, no I don’t think that power is fundamentally bad, even if, in modern socio-political terms, it tends to be. As for global peace, I think and hope that we’re on the right track.