josh blog

Ordinary language is all right.

One could divide humanity into two classes:
those who master a metaphor, and those who hold by a formula.
Those with a bent for both are too few, they do not comprise a class.

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23 Nov '14 01:04:54 AM

'Their speech will be confounded; they will leave off the building of their own city.'

22 Nov '14 12:26:52 AM

New Hope for the Dead

14 Nov '14 05:26:02 PM

'It's "personal" because you pour yourself into it—your thoughts, your programming.'

11 Nov '14 04:54:05 PM

'The actual magic trick is making the worker disappear.'

10 Nov '14 05:30:27 PM

'… a spiritually corrosive quality…'

10 Nov '14 03:51:21 PM


9 Nov '14 03:11:18 AM

It is also why school sucks and recess rules.

9 Nov '14 03:10:05 AM

The more widely read a classic is, the more it sucks to read, because you know you're supposed to think things about it, and you want to, but you know that the things you think won't satisfy anyone until you also read the crap everyone says about it, which makes you kind of not even want to think the things you think about it.

This is why reading Emerson is better than reading Kant.

For example.

7 Nov '14 02:32:18 AM

Peli sez: 'blogs are the one thing we read backwards'.

I just called my own blog 'something I write for myself', using a phrase I had been thinking about (to myself) for a few weeks while trying to articulate why I thought a personal blog was particularly well-suited to something that could be called philosophical writing, and philosophical writing of a sort whose nearest analogue in traditional forms always seems to me to be the journal. But why? I don't know; so I had been, still am, puzzling over what the essential difference is between journaling for yourself and journaling in the open, where others can read you. I like the idea of a 'first reader' or an 'only reader' as a status a journal-keeper is privileged to have with respect to her own journal; or maybe 'her own first reader', as a way of acknowledging that writers can also be readers, but with some texts, there are only ever accidentally other readers. Then, in contrast, it could seem like the main thing about a personal blog is that it can be 'overheard', Mill-style, so that other readers have a view of an 'own first reader' form something like the way readers of lyric poetry have an outside or secondary or second-step view of a form—mode—that is maybe reflexive in its own characteristic ways.

That's not right, but it's the direction my thoughts about the form have tended in lately; maybe because I'm preoccupied with the openness, the lack of plan or definition—definition 'in front', in Thoreau's phrase from Walden—or the diurnal quality, the connection between the journal and each new day. I think of the new entry, the next entry.

I could have, like what Peli says suggests, thought instead of the last entry, the previous entry; and all the previous entries. I still remember—I can't find where—Tom Ewing grousing in the very early lifetime of this blog that reading blog archives—i.e., reading them backwards—was a pain. But I think that might only be true when you're looking for something, or, what would be more likely, trying to catch up, which means, to read enough of the past entries to understand, have a feel for, the newest ones. To be able to follow them.

But once you do, you don't read backwards (at least, you choose whether to go further back); you read forward, from newest to newest (almost). In that way, blogs are, like I said, 'more like people than pieces'. Before you know them, everything you can know about them is in their past. But once you do, and keep knowing them—reading them, returning, seeing them from one day to another—you can also know about what is (almost!) new for them, not yet in their past. Once you become a reader of a blog—follow it—you can keep following it as it develops. In that way, you share something more with its author than do those who haven't read it, haven't got a history of their own with it, which means, a familiarity with its history, its past. So that there's a way in which the blogs we read backwards are the ones that are finished, or dead; or new to us. The ones we read forward are just that: the ones we read.