Friday, January 07, 2005

Why am I doing this?

I've been thinking about why I decided to start this log, how I'm going to go about it, and why I'm doing it at all.

I was inspired partly by the attitudes of Robert Fripp towards his online diary while I was reading it a few years ago. As a personal discipline, he commited himself to posting at least one entry a day in a publicly readable diary. One of the phrases I believe he used was that he wanted to open himself up to public humiliation.

Now, when I read to M______ a similar passage by Fripp regarding how he conducted his teaching of guitar students, which involved the word "humiliation," she hit the roof, or at least gave me a look and asked me pointed questions regarding my apparantly cult-like interests.

Having read a lot of his writing, it was clear to me that RF was using the term "humiliation" in its original and traditional sense-- an experience that provides humility, and not in the more modern usage of "shamed and degraded" which is how most people today would read it.

I was following this idea last night before drifting off to sleep, and it occured to me that the concepts of humility and pride have really switched places so far as society goes.

Pride used to be a sin.
Humility used be a virtue.

It was one of the seven deadlys. You could go to hell, be tormented for all eternity, for being proud!

In buddhist/hippie/new age terminology, pride is the experience of the self-importance of the Ego, the thing you're trying to rise above.

When did pride become good, become something that we are teaching our kids how to be, become something that as citizens we're expected to be? And when did things which gave humility become "humiliating"?

Which word would you link up with "getting a promotion and a raise": proud or humble?
And why?

Anyway, I'm writing this as a personal discipline. I'm going to post daily, on average. I think it will be an interesting excercise not only to commit myself to writing every day, but commiting myself to writing something every day which I expect will be read by other people. This is a very different thing from the standard writing excercise of writing something every day no matter what it is-- just write. The added dynamic of having an audience really changes things. I'm absolutely sure that it will be humiliating. I will become more humble about myself and my writing during this experience.

Also, part of it is an excercise in being more communicative to family and friends. When I launched this thing, I sent notice out to various folks whom I'd like to chat with more often. It'd be nice to have some comments and conversation, but really I'm just trying to work on giving more of myself to people that matter to me, and this is a nice way of doing that.

Finally, I'd like to get some of the short story ideas I've been ruminating on up and going. In order to get up to speed on writing I need to excercise by writing every day, and excercice by writing with the intent that what I write may be read by others.

So, I expect to grow, I expect to share, and I expect to learn. Sounds like a plan.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

> Pride used to be a sin.
> Humility used be a virtue.


i guess i don't see them as having entirely switched places, though. it seems to me the most virtuous condition is that of doing or achieving something about which one would be justified in being proud of, yet remaining humble, whereas the least virtuous would be the converse (or would it be inverse, or contrapositive -- ?): false pride.

anyway, i still find the public displays of pride -- justified or not -- somewhat distasteful. although i do kind of buy into the whole modern notion of the importance of self-esteem.

interesting thoughts, though.

as to:

> It'd be nice to have some comments and conversation...

i'll try to chime in and add my $0.02 from time to time.


p.s. how about a nice game of go?

9:54 AM  
Blogger fatoudust said...

Okay, "switched places" probably wasn't exactly the idea I was going for. Poor phrasing, that. I should have expanded it into something like, "the levels of esteem granted these concepts by society have switched places" or somesuch.

Self esteem and our seeming obsession with it has always seemed like so much crap to me. I can't help but think of Al Franken's character Stuart Smalley, "You're good enough! You're smart enough! And, gosh darn it!, people like you!"

Here's something to ruminate on:

Exploding the Self-Esteem Myth"Boosting people's sense of self-worth has become a national preoccupation. Yet surprisingly, researchshows that such efforts are of little value in fostering academic progress or preventing undesirable behavior"

1:05 AM  

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