Daffodil writing

The popularity of blogging appears to be undiminished, despite terribly clever people involved in life-saving careers such as Internet Marketing telling us that it’s "all so last year, darling." The urge to communicate our ideas and thoughts continues apace, and who is to judge their relative value? To a social historian they will all be precious, and to ourselves as well. Our friends may be slightly more discerning, and strangers outright critical, even potentially hostile. Yest still vast numbers of us write.

Sometimes it has seemed to me that some posts are what Quakers (at least British Quakers) would call "daffodil ministry". THis is a bit of an in-joke, which just goes to show how witheringly satirical Quakers can be when so moved. Yes, the quiet people can make rude comments! Basically, daffodil ministry is the rather cliched, worn out ministry sometimes trotted out in a meeting for worship, and characterised by an opening phrase such as "As I was looking at the daffodils this morning…". For those not familiar with British Quakerism, think of Radio 4’s Thought for the Day, only less planned.

I’m not sure how fair a comparison this is – but maybe I’m not feeling fair today. Some blogs are pretty much a stream of consciousness to make James Joyce weep; some are well-reasoned and carefully constructed essays on the human condition, or whatever takes the author’s fancy (what Stephen Fry calls a  "blessay"); and the rest – well, those like mine certainly run the risk of daffodilism.

So, writing as an out of the closet daffodil minister, how do I justify my repeated attempts to inflict the vernal bulb of mediocrity upon you? (Bearing in mind, of course, that you do have the choice to click away at any time.) I find myself facing a dilemma. On the one hand, the anonymity of the blogosphere, the immensity of it, makes my ramblings the tiniest needles in a vast haystack. This means I feel free to write without fear or expectation of a response. And yet much of what I write is opinion designed to provoke the very response it is likely to be denied. It yearns for the opportunity to engage in the cut and thrust of debate, the chance to sit around a virtual pub table with a virtual pint and put the world to rights. Liberation yet restriction; self promotion yet secrecy.

Writing for this blog, I am aware that the contradiction and ambiguity of the situation feeds and defines what and how I write. I am not entirely comfortable with the idea of anyone working out who I am (although it would be easy to do). At the same time, if friends find me I am happy to continue the discussions off-line or on. It beats talking about the telly. In the end, I write for my own personal satisfaction. I do not expect to be lauded for my immortal insight, but I like to take some time to start thinking abut a topic outside of the work/family/home routine. My motivation is therefore also a dichotomy: individual presentation of ideas as a statement, against evolution of ideas through interaction and argument.

We frequently hear examples of how the world is divided into two kinds of people, followed by an example such as "those who divide the world into 2 kinds of people, and those who don’t". My personal favourite is "the world is divided into 10 kinds pf people: those who understand binary and those who don’t". But I digress. What I was trying to say was that this seems to me to a fundamental human perception, "us and them", perhaps derived from the process of individuation described by Jung, among others. The conclusion being that finding myself faced with dilemmas and contradictions such as those described here may simply be the default position for a human, and perhaps I can regard it as a sign of psychological development.

In which case, it’s good night from me, and good night from her. Good night!


Go on then, it's your turn

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