On Blogging, Fixed Points, and Religion

My quest to categorize every blog post I’ve ever written continues (down to 180 posts now!). Since I’ve been doing it in chronological order (starting with the most recent posts and moving on to the older ones), I’ve had a chance to read over some of my old writings.

Wow.

Why in the world was anyone even reading these things?

Maybe it’s just because I’m only seeing the posts I attached no tags to, but there sure are an awful lot of worthless, empty posts. Throwaway movie reviews that consist of like one or two lines. Random one paragraph complaints about being hot or sick. I’d mention my writing, but not actually go into detail about what the book was or what it was about–even in vague terms.

Then again, none of this really upsets me–for a variety of reasons. First up, I realize that everybody gets better at doing things as they practice more at them. I’ve been blogging daily for almost 7 ¬†years now. It would be much more depressing if I read my earlier posts and discovered I’d gotten much worse over that time period. Second, some of it’s also attributable to my changing tastes as a writer. I read things I wrote years ago, and I’m surprised by them. They’re not how I’d write them today. It’s like I’m reading something by someone totally different than me. (Well, not totally totally)

Which of course makes me think some more. What is our perception of self, and how accurate is it? I’d like to think I’m a pretty consistent person. That I don’t make wild changes from one point of view to another. But as I look back on my life and my writing, I think I *do* make pretty big changes over time. Changes that are imperceptible on a day to day basis, but are nonetheless significant–sort of like the curvature of the earth. There was a time when I was a staunch “conservative.” I’d listen to Rush Limbaugh–and agree with him. Now most of what I hear him say just makes me shake my head. I still think of myself as a conservative person–just not a Conservative person, if that makes sense. That wasn’t something that happened overnight. It was a steady change over time.

Likewise, I see this happen in other people. Old friends who do or say something that contrasts starkly with the image of what I thought they’d do or say. Some of that is because I had an incomplete understanding of them. Some of it is because they’ve changed who they are. Again, not overnight. Bit by bit. Erosion, not a flash flood.

Which scares me, honestly. I like who I am now. How can I guarantee myself that I won’t be someone the me-now would hate in 10 years time? I can’t. There’s no way of knowing what the future will bring, or how we’ll react to that. I have super friends now who I wasn’t that great of friends with before. I have former best friends who I hardly ever speak to. As a person who prides himself in loyalty (sometimes to a fault) and consistency, the concept shakes me more than a little.

Honestly. this is an area where religion helps me. (Not that I want to go off on a sermon here, but work with me.) I like the idea that there is a value system greater than my own. I realize that I can think something is 100% right at one point in time, and then think it’s 100% wrong at another. (Or at least somewhere in that continuum.) So trusting to my own instincts and opinions is less than reliable. Religion is something that can potentially offer a fixed point. When you’re trying to walk a straight line in the wilderness, you look for fixed points to aim for as you go. That way, when you discover you’ve gotten off course, you can reanalyze your direction and reorient yourself using that fixed point.

Of course, this only works (for me) if the religion is question really provides a fixed point. If it’s just another conservative political party or like-minded group of people, then it’s liable to the same weak points I have as an individual . . .

But I don’t really want to write too much about religion today. It’s Friday, and this was supposed to just be a brief contemplative stroll down Memory Lane of Blogville.

So I’ll leave the thought there and let you continue to discuss it in the comments, if you so choose. Hope you all have a spiffy weekend!

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