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14 October 2014

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Kate

Thank you for this defense of the life of the mind and the value of correspondence. For those of us who are perhaps more comfortable interacting online than in person, it can be tricky judging the line between worthwhile avocation and character flaw. But (as I used to remind college friends who complained about lack of exposure to the "real" world), there isn't any interaction with other people that *isn't* happening in reality. If we start thinking of any set of relationships as "not really real," we risk treating the people involved as not really real.

As you say, there are real friendships formed online. When I winnowed my FB list, I briefly considered cutting it to "people I know in real life." But I quickly realized that I would lose too much if I were to limit my interactions to people I've met face to face--and that for much of my married life, cooped up with small children, a good portion of my "real life" has been spent online.

Jenny

Three cheers!

I've not quite understood the shunning of online interaction as a guilty pleasure. Can you spend too much time on blogs or check FB too often? Absolutely. But it would then be a sin of excess not of the medium itself. In these days of social isolation, many of us thrive through our interactions on blogs and social media. For some the choice isn't between online friendships and real life friendships, but between online friendships and loneliness. For others the internet provides an outlet to converse over and above their daily in-person correspondence about topics that may or may not be interesting to those physically around them. And all of these things are good. Every online conversation happens between real people and real connections made between real people is not a bad habit that needs to be expunged in order to live a better life.

Erin

Here, here!! Totally agree and have thought this for a long time.

Amy F

Whoo-hoo!

I only rarely write in my own blog, but it has been around for 9 years now and when I need to remember something from 2006, my blog is the place I am most likely to find it. That whole life-with-two-kids time is pretty fuzzy and I'm glad that's the chunk I blogged most heavily. It inspires me to come back and blog the big stuff at least, my birth stories and overviews on how I'm homeschooling.

Margaret @ Minnesota Mom

"Work hard every day at increasing your purity of heart, which consists in appraising things and weighing them in the balance of God's will."
— St. Francis de Sales

He says it better than I can. ;)

Emily J

Can I borrow this explanation? I have a hard time explaining, sometimes to myself, why, when there are so many other things I could be doing, I prefer to sit down and blog. When I write in a diary, I don't compose my thoughts very well. And the few letters I send aren't usually about my thoughts, but about our doings, or are congratulatory or sympathetic. I like your idea that blogging provides the opportunity to practice philosophizing (emphasis on practice, in my case), to record memories, and to form and continue relationships. The challenge is balancing the time needed to think about what and how to say things with the time needed for everything else in life!

MrsDarwin

I wasn't able to comment on my phone when I first read this, so I'm returning to say brava and thank you. There are so many important things in life, and I'm also tired of reading these blog apologias for not blogging (often seemingly calculated to draw comments and links, because otherwise if one really had a deep philosophical conviction that blogging was a waste of time, the best thing to do would be to just stop without writing a clickbait post).

Melanie B

Hear! Hear! For the deep life of the mind and long distance correspondence carried out between real people, for the daily trivia too and all the sharing of recipes and housekeeping and parenting tips and grousing about non-sleeping babies. All these things are very, very good indeed. And we are all so much the richer for them. Life would be lonely indeed without you and all my other blog friends.

Sarah

This is my first visit to your blog, which was linked to by Brandy at afterthoughtsblog.net .
I must say you have very well helped me land on your side of this fence that Ive been straddling :) I just told someone last week that I stopped using FB because it was too much of a draw on my time. I have been trying to come to terms with this whole topic for several years now. Should I remain lonely and isolated from others who think and do things similarly to me, in turn, trying to find greater satisfaction and contentment with my time spent at home with my young children and those few friends I have contact with physically? Or is it actually a legitimate use of my time to connect with like-minded people online and otherwise pursue an intellectual life for myself, even if it means I don't keep my house perfectly composed? After years (5ish maybe?) of what feels like intellectual, and perhaps spiritual, starvation, I am convinced that I need more community, more exposure to Great Ideas, and more of Jesus :) Thank you for this post releasing me of any guilt I might otherwise have experienced while pursuing those things!
With Blessings, Sarah

Bearing

I find FB to be a double-edged sword. I have to be kind of vigilant about not clicking on certain things so that my use of it is more about connecting with people and less about wasting time. But when I use it with self-discipline, it is great.

Amber

I've been thinking about this ever since you posted it and while I agree with you, I can't figure out how to get past in my own mind the feeling like I can't blog until I've caught up on the laundry, made sure the kitchen is clean, cooked the appropriate meals, pre-read the kids' school stuff, cleaned off my desk, posted pictures to the family blog, etc. etc. etc.

Which means I post maybe once a month? If that? And half the time only because I think, "oh, screw it, I'm never going to actually be that on top of things." Maybe I need to figure out how to cultivate that mentality more?? And how on earth do I let go of that perfectionism?

bearing

I don't know. It's certainly the reason I fall into the habit of less blogging and more FB (which is good, but not as satisfying as blogging). FB is quicker.

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