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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This blog began as an open-ended, multi-purpose listening journal in which I reflected about music and other things. I started it in the late 90s when I was an undergraduate, and in its earliest entries you can often find me in direct dialogue with friends and other early bloggers, especially music bloggers who emerged from the newsgroup and mailing list culture of the 90s internet.

The blog has always served as kind of commonplace book, but it especially began doing so during my graduate studies in philosophy, partly because of my need to preserve a parallel space in which my unofficial reading and unworkable thoughts could still be attested to.

I have occasionally used the blog as an open journal of what might be called work in progress, but in general its relationship to anything else I might be writing or doing is oblique, and generally anything appearing here is written only 'for' here.

That oblique relationship extends to my life, as well. Over its first several years, this blog gradually found its own form, and I have learned to respect that when writing, or can't do otherwise. While it is not a diary, or even a proper journal, entries can evidently sometimes be autobiographical or personal. But I am a philosopher, and I do have some personal stake in ideas, and a literary or even scholarly attachment to the words and texts with which I work and live, no matter how impersonal those may seem to readers unfamiliar with the form.

At the same time, the form is inherently ambiguous as to whether, or how, it confers distance or intimacy upon the relation between what's said in any one entry, and the one who says it (of course, what is being said must play a big part in determining that). I suppose the best way to know is to know me, but the temporal character of the form also registers many ways in which one thinks, and feels, and can be known, only for a moment, or a day, or a season, or a period of life. Looking back, even as the author, reader of my own words, I'm rarely on perfectly intimate terms with the person who wrote them.

For someone committed to expression within this form, the more relevant question about some old entry is not what it says, and not what its author was saying then, but what its author says now—about what was said then, or about what that was said about. Most often, I don't have anything to say about that, now. But if I do, it would necessarily be something new.