Text Patterns - by Alan Jacobs

Thursday, June 9, 2016

why blog?

The chief reason I blog is to create a kind of accountability to my own reading and thinking. Blogging is a way of thinking out loud and in public, which also means that people can respond — and often those responses are helpful in shaping further thoughts.

But even if I got no responses, putting my ideas out here would still be worthwhile, because it’s a venue in which there is no expectation of polish or completeness. Sometimes a given post, or set of posts, can prove to be a dead end: that’s what happened, I think, with the Dialogue on Democracy I did over at The American Conservative. I wanted to think through some issues but I don't believe I really accomplished anything, for me or for others. But that’s all right. It was worth a try. And perhaps that dead end ended up leading me to the more fruitful explorations of the deep roots of our politics, and their relation to our technological society, that I’ve been pursuing here in the last couple of weeks.

As I have explained several times, over the long haul I want to pursue a technological history of modernity. But I have two books to write before I can even give serious consideration to that project. Nevertheless, I can try out the occasional random idea here, and as I do that over the next couple of years, who knows what might emerge? Possibly nothing of value; but possibly something essential to the project. Time will tell.

I’ve been blogging a lot lately because I had a chunk of free-ish time between the end of the Spring semester and the beginning of a long period of full-time book writing. I’m marking that transition by taking ten days for research (but also for fun) in England and Italy, so there will be no blogging for a while. And then when I return my activity will be sporadic. But bit by bit and piece by piece I’ll be building something here.

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