Posts tagged ‘Orwell’

Why I Blog: Egoism, Exhibitionism, Demons

Some years ago, I read some George Orwell texts: 1984, shorts stories (Shooting an Elephant — hillarious!), essays (Socialism and the English Genius). When I had some discussions about blogging recently, why one should do it or why not, one Orwell text came into my mind: “Why I write”. Because I am too lazy to think myself, I will build my argument on “Why I Blog” on this Orwell essay.

Being absolutely honest, this is the main point, and also true for me:

(i) Sheer egoism. Desire to seem clever, to be talked about, to be remembered after death, to get your own back on the grown-ups who snubbed you in childhood, etc., etc. It is humbug to pretend this is not a motive, and a strong one.

I don’t receive that much comments on my blog, but I am always very happy to get some. Some people write mails or comment on Facebook. Especially from people I don’t know at all, or people I did not see for a long time. This always satisfies my egoism, speaking with Orwell. Today, maybe “sheer egoism” sounds too strong and one would call it rather “Self-Marketing”, “Network-Reputation” or “Online Reputation.” Anyway Orwell is still right with the point of “sheer egoism.” Blogging is not socialism.

Some political entries I wrote also quite agree with this argument of Orwell:

I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing.

Blogs have power because of immediate, subjective response to events. If you ever face an event, and your Blog is visited by just 20-30 people weekly, there is the potential to “get a hearing.” I think this is a basic need for humans, speaking in biological terms, that other people listen to them, and this goes beyond sheer egoism. Blogs, in contrast to oral communication are more like a monologue, this makes it harder to get a hearing, but it still is possible to deliver a political/personal message. And, who knows, maybe someday you are the first one to comment on a historical event?

So, is blogging for people that are egoists and people that like to talk to themselves? Orwell ends his essay with the idea that the mystery of writing cannot be totally solved. Let’s end this Blog-Entry with a very long quote, because I am again too lazy to think:

For all one knows that demon is simply the same instinct that makes a baby squall for attention. And yet it is also true that one can write nothing readable unless one constantly struggles to efface one’s own personality. Good prose is like a windowpane. I cannot say with certainty which of my motives are the strongest, but I know which of them deserve to be followed. And looking back through my work, I see that it is invariably where I lacked a political purpose that I wrote lifeless books and was betrayed into purple passages, sentences without meaning, decorative adjectives and humbug generally.

Again, Orwell speaks from my heart: I want to find an idea of truth, although I know that there is none. A truth about me, about others, about what’s out there. And as Orwell, I regularly look back on my Blog-Entries, what I wrote on Social-Network profiles, just to see what I was thinking, and how I changed my mind or my interests. Or not.

September 15, 2009 at 10:21 am 1 comment


About jannesr.wordpress.com Blog

This Blog has no real mission, but it is just a place for me to publish stories.
I like to have the pressure to simply write something down for an abstract audience. Bristrouble.wordpress.com was another attempt of me to do this when I was in Bristol. See below.

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