Sunday, August 31, 2008

Opinions...

I haven't been writing lately, in any capacity. This is an unfortunate development for me because, as I've said before, writing is one of the things that keeps me sane and centred. There are some good practical reasons for this drought but as we all know practical reasons never keep us from doing the things we love.

I have been terrified lately of the danger of opinions. This is the product of many varied streams of thought. Partly it has to do with a discussion that was making the rounds on a number of academic blogs that I frequent and partly with the related experience of applying to several graduate programs. In the discussions on the blogs I just mentioned there were some bloggers and commentors who suggested that there is a great deal of danger involved with posting on blogs. The danger is that you will make a statement or present an opinion that will later, and I'm sorry I can't find a more elegant way to put this, bite you in the ass.

The relation to applying to schools seems pretty obvious but I'll spell it out anyway. I have been nervous for some time that I will not be wanted because of who and what I am. I simply do not fit into very many traditional molds and this blog is one of the best examples of my personal oddity. I love whimsy too much. I am not conservative enough. I am not liberal enough. On top of that I know that I make mistakes. Sometimes factual errors and sometimes errors of logic or rhetoric but errors nonetheless.

I am afraid of being unwanted and of being wrong but I know that this is hypocrisy. All statements are fraught with danger and written statements all the more so since they can be referred to at will. But all statements are also powerful and written statements especially so. To appropriate that power an author must be willing to risk, and in many cases to risk all. In my experience authors who are willing to take that risk are either great or awful (and occasionally they are both). That awfulness is the danger that any writer of any kind fears but it cannot be negated or set aside. It is necessary. It must be.

And so here I am, risking myself and my reputation in a forum that hardly anybody reads and anyone can find and hold against me at will. Why? Because I need to write. I need to share and challenge others and even more to challenge and push myself to think more carefully. Writing is the only way I know how to do this.

5 comments:

Trevor said...

I can definitely relate buddy. But I got tired of not saying what I thought, so I just started venting anyways. Besides, I don't have much to lose being an oil worker!
http://trevorsponderings.blogspot.com/

Tara said...

um,... ya... JOIN THE CLUB!!! I'm the head of the pastor's wives in trouble for airing their own beliefs and opinions too honestly club.

Stand strong friend.

And I screw up too.

DGResch said...

I know the feeling well, Colin. PhD studies, especially, can underscore how little one actually knows about most things and, therefore, how unfounded are most of one's opinions. On the other hand, they also serve to remind one of how unfounded are most of the opinions of others too! ...But that is just my opinion :)

Joy said...

Well, I'm no smarty pants, and am easily intimidated by smart-super confident people. Usually someone like you, Colin, would intimidate me...and I must admit, at times I have felt so when I have stated my opinion and am told in no certain terms that I am wrong...I hate being wrong as well. But you know more, so I trust your opinions above my own a lot of the time...unless I know for sure that I am right, and then I just say that to myself in my head and smile and nod. :) The point of this little diddy is to tell you that even though you may be opinionated, anyone who knows your heart will know that you still love them even if you think they are wrong. I have been incredibly blessed having you in my life and anyone who doesn't accept you because of your thoughts that you share aloud...it's their loss.

I love you Bro!

Joy said...

By the way, the last post was from Christa...stupid having to get a blogger account so I can comment. :P