Saturday, August 6, 2011

Inaugural Post

There was a time I considered the personal blog to be something of an exercise in egotism. Or, as Gabriel Marcel termed it in his work Homo Viator, “reflection.” As a person self-absorbed, “I treat the other person merely as a means of resonance or an amplifier, I tend to consider him as a sort of apparatus which I can, or think I can, manipulate, or of which I can dispose at will.” The way in which this phenomenon can play out in one’s everyday life is evinced masterfully by one Madame Bovary. The very idea that one could consider one’s own thoughts and ramblings as being of any interest to anyone else seemed inherantly self-important, others becoming objects serving only to “reflect” our own image of ourselves back towards us.

Roman Forum - Taken by the Mrs.
That being said, I now consider the truth of the matter to be that, while this is in fact true for those blogs at one end of the spectrum, at the other stand a good many which are anything but self-indulgent. My experience guest-posting a couple of times on a friend’s blog taught me that the endeavor to maintain a successful blog sinks or swims not chiefly on the blogger and how interesting he is (or thinks he is), but on his readers. This is testament to the fact that a blog can be more than a megaphone for an overconfident blogger. It can be a means of community—a forum in which persons come to interact with one another, share their thoughts and experiences with each other respectfully and to mutual benefit. In other words, a conversation writ large, the blogger himself serving only as moderator. More than that, as with any converstaion, it is through the sharing of these ideas that a sharing of one’s very personhood may occur, so that what might be mere communication may perhaps become true communion; that is, an intersubjective co-union of unique persons who view each other as just that. This quality of ego-centrism which I once attributed to blogging as essential, turns out to be only accidental. The difference is whether or not the blogger “become[s] preoccupied about the effect [he wants] to produce on the other person,” or sees the blog as a means to the true and meaningful interaction of persons. Pope Benedict himself said that “if used wisely, [new communications technologies] can contribute to the satisfaction of the desire for meaning, truth and unity which remain the most profound aspirations of each human being.” It is precisely in communion (even that which a blog might foster) that this search for Truth is to be undertaken, never by one man thinking to himself and locked in a stove-heated room.

It is in the spirit of mutual enrichment and above all communion that I inaugurate this blog. According to the Oxford English Dictionary (a.k.a. the single greatest linguistic resource known to Man), our word “inaugurate” stems ultimately from the Latin augur. In Ancient Rome, augurs were important priests responsible for divining the will of the gods from the movements and activity of birds. Amongst their other duties, whenever a new town was to be founded, an augur would stand in the center of the town-to-be and lay out the main east-west road (called the Decumanus) and north-south road (called the Cardo). (See Dino Marcantonio's fantastic post related to this topic.) at the intersection of which would stand the local forum, complete with miniature replica of the Temple of Jupiter at Rome. On that model, let us say that our chief thoroughfares will be more-or-less intelligent, thought-provoking content on the one hand, and the resolution to discuss that content with dignity and respect on the other. At the intersection of these two principles will stand the blog itself—the forum which develops out of that intersection and serves as the heart of our little community.

Hopefully you will have gleaned to what extent the life of this blog rests in your hands. Please remember to pass the word to others who might like to join the discussion. Also, you should know that not every post will be quite so serious as this one. Particularly those about Star Trek. There will be a lot of those.


  1. Good luck Mr. Beyer. I got your link from a referral link to the W/S. At first I didn't know who it was then I remembered our conversation. I agree with your post.

    I will say that I have been surprised how many people I have met through blogging, not all of whom agree with my view on things, in fact most of them do not. But there is a kinship in the conversation.

    Anyway, all the best, I'll be back and I am adding you to my blog list.

  2. Thanks for the kind words. It's great to have you on board. I hope to have the opportunity to respond to another of your comments soon.


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