January 1, 2008

Armchair Alethiology

In preparing to start the new year with a new blog, one of the things I needed to think about was what I was willing to share with the world in this space. Would I be completely open about every thought and feeling, spilling the beans about every last little dribble of hope and doubt, success and self-pity? Or would I choose to censor myself, sculpting a public, if seldom read, persona to match as closely as possible what I wish to be, rather than what I am?

That got me thinking about my own larger system of values, insofar as I've ever consciously constructed one. I've always placed great value on honesty in other people, but I started to wonder how useful a barometer of friendship or integrity that really is. What do we mean when we say someone is "genuine" or "disingenuous"? Where is the line drawn, if there is one? Surely social niceties like polite laughter at an unfunny quip don't indicate some hidden contempt for truth on the part of the casual role-player... or do they? Is giving someone false hope with a lie better than dashing their remaining speck of it with the truth? For that matter, isn't the best of fiction often admired for revealing hidden truths even as it spins endless fabrications?

I can't claim to know the grand score, but I tend to doubt any system that replaces spectrums with binary oppositions, even if I myself am often guilty of viewing issues in black-and-white polarities at less wary moments.

And so, I find myself reappraising my own behavior and relationships on the occasion of the breach birth of yet another new year. I've always felt a great, if intangible, distance between myself and other people—even the people who are meant to be close to me—and I've always strongly doubted that anyone can ever truly know anyone else well enough to claim the spiritual kinship I crave but have never once truly found. This problem might well be the reason I place such a high value on language, even as I swim in a culture that appears to prize the manipulation of minds and the vacuous acquisition of objects above all else.

It's entirely possible that language simply isn't a strong enough thread to carry the required weight. The same could be said of music, or film, or video games, or masonry, or any other art. But despite this nagging doubt, I'm learning to appreciate my own intuition with more conscious regularity, and am willing to put just a little bit more time and faith into it. I could scarcely start a new blog, let alone a new piece of fiction, if I didn't have some spark left in me, however hidden it might seem at present.

And so, I'll try to accept whatever pitted and potholed road I'll find myself wandering in the new year. I hope 2008 will be at least a little bit better than the last few spools of the calendar, and that when this time next year is carving its notch on my consciousness I'll have something more tangible to show for the hours, days, and months marking its passing.


Anonymous said...
See, I just post about guitars and shit.

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