interview with a mantissa, act one

~the answers questions 3 and 5 still to come ~

1. Why do you blog?

Why do I blog? Hmmm … wow. Why do I breathe? To survive. Simple as that. I think that, if I did not have writing/blogging as a means of self-expression and purging that which constantly burgeons inside me, I would turn into this portrait of insanity! No kidding ~ I must write. All the time. Uncensored ~ i.e. with no view to how others will receive that which I write. That, I think, makes blogging attractive to many of us. The notion that we can put ourselves out there, without really being known, in the sense of physical presence. For me, that’s key, because I see physical presence as a sort of a mechanism of possession. And it scares me ~ who simply cannot … must not … will not … ever submit to possession.

Still. I have considered the larger question here ~ why do we blog? Visit livejournal, wordpress, vox, blogger, yahoo 360, myspace, friendster … you will find millions upon millions of digital entities called profiles that supposedly have some remote link to a human. What’s behind it all? What do millions of us derive from blogging?

Does it serve our primordial animal requirement for social contact and connectedness? Does it fulfill the hunger pangs of that narcissistic wedge in our being? Does it serve as a tool of self-discovery for those who have lost themselves to the fray? Does it somehow seem ironic that blogging, this communication tool upon which many depend heavily for human connectedness in a dehumanizing era, emerged as a possibility only because of dehumanizing technological advance? Could that very irony provide a sizeable portion of the answer to this question?

I don’t have the answers, really. But I observe, from my almost two or so of blogging experience, that this phenomenon appears to reflect an interesting fact about humanity. A mostly overlooked fact of humanity. A profound fact about +/-

humanity. Essentially we share the same core. Regardless of what latitude, of what longitude, of what continent people reside within. Regardless of what religious or political beliefs people follow, they all have hopes. Fears. Thoughts of and worries for the future. Children. Dreams for those children. Jobs. Careers. stresses. Neighbours. Vices. Joys.

The more I blogged, and the more I read the blogs of others, I realized. Its all so simple. What makes them (them = those individuals who do not reside in my geo-culture space) so different from me? Stripping away all the superfluous? Nothing makes them different than me. Me and them — that’s a construct, a mere construct. There’s only us. Fractured, in some places. But its us. If you liked cliche and believed in G-d, you might say, ‘there but for the grace of G-d go I.’ truly. We = them. Them = We.

Startling … or humbling … or despairing ~ that mere circumstance and socialization separates me from the fundamentalist and fervent religious believer. Or the comfortably numb suburban stepford wife. Or the family living among savage violence and carnage in Baghdad. Or the soldier, stationed somewhere in the middle east and a witness to unspeakable atrocity, venting his soul to cyberspace. Or that homeless person living in her car.

Since taking an online presence I have learned about life in Kolkata, India, in the Swedish Arctic Circle, in the American South. In America. Not that I felt myself ignorant before, but, thru blogging I have certainly increased my awareness of the cultural distinction between canada and the usa. And my awareness of the global village at large has certainly flourished. And, of, course have found some absolute treasures of humanity – intellectual, artistic, spiritual, eccentric. Also, discovered entire communities devoted to fetishes I once loathed myself for having.

Blogging has mashed directly into my heart and head the notion that I’m not that different, on the most fundamental human level, from any of those people I mentioned in the previous paragraph. (I like to say that everyone’s shit stinks ~ its true ~ it does.) Blogging has also had a great hand in my own personal metamorphosis. It enriches me. Energizes my humanity. What keeps me blogging, I suppose, relates to the way in which it nourishes my growth and understanding of the web of humanity, Self included. Blogging melts the walls, fences and other obstacles that separate so many humans in the physical and social worlds. It helps us see ourselves, makes us feel we belong. Blogging helped me see myself, at a time when I dearly needed to. And blogging makes me feel like I belong ~ a sensation I have never really fully felt before in my life.

2. What do you find most frightening in Western society? How would you try to change it?

the West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do.
~samuel p. huntington~

That quote summarizes only a part of what I see as most frightening about the West. We, apparently, still have not learned the alternatives to organized, brutish violence. We, in the West, apparently still live in the medieval ages, when violence solved quarrels and differences of opinion. We continue to deny, demonize and deny some more when we encounter disagreement. We simply cannot live and let live … tolerate. We revere violence, retribution and revenge. We honour obscene wealth and abundance. We demonize poverty and desperate need. We consume … to the point of consuming ourselves. We derive entertainment and satisfaction from killing and maiming one another. We do not do this to survive. We simply do this to flex our muscles. Because we can. That scares me.

Wait. There’s more. +/-

Like, the way we expect the government and politicians to solve every little problem that occurs in our daily lives because we behave stupidly and make the poor, ill-informed lifestyle choices. Remember the whole fou-fra around the White House Page scandal? It illustrates my point perfectly: do we really think its okay to send adolescents, who have questionably yet to reach the age of consent, into a environment filled with manipulative, power-addicted narcissists? OMG. If we do, we deserve what we get, then! Honestly, do you send your children to play in the freeway? Well, then? That scares me.

Wait. There’s more still. Like ~ the way we use religion and other self-righteous bullshit to justify that twisted ideological entitlement to the relief of suffering endemic in our thinking processes. Think, Abu Ghraib or some other similarly heinous group crime ~ it illustrates this point perfectly: do we really honestly believe, because we did not pull the trigger, wield the torture device, or hold down that 15 year old girl so 14 others could rape her, this grants absolution and frees us from accountability. Why? Why, if another human, somewhere – anywhere – out there, suffers would ANYone think they have no responsibility to contribute toward efforts to relieve said suffering? I dunno. But so many of us have so many excuses. That scares me.

How do I change any of this? By changing myself, and my responses to situations, things and people in daily life. I reject violence and anything that represents violence or a violent act. I reject censorship ~ denial of what we find disagreeable I find repulsive. I reject the consumeristic culture that surrounds me. I take steps to live sustainably ~ i.e. reduce my carbon print. I never stop learning, for that’s our key to growth and self awareness. That means, sometimes, learning things I may find disagreeable. That’s healthy. It promotes tolerance and understanding. I cannot change the world, I can only change myself.

4. What are two books that really made a difference in your thinking? Why?

(i) The Baghdad Blog, a blog based upon a blog Where’s Raed, a blog which iraqi Salam Pax set up to communicate with his friend Raed during the 2003 invasion of iraq. Before seeing this book in the bookstore, i had never heard of blogger. The book opened my eyes to several amazing perspectives, and several new worlds. I have lurked around blogger ever since reading this book in late 2004.

(ii) The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Volume 1: 1931-1934 by Anais Nin. Simply put, Anais Nin wrote exquisitely, in the lyrical way she expressed herself, and the subjects about which she chose to so beautifully and candidly write. Her writing speaks to the real, sensual female side of my psyche. And the spirit of her writing inspired me to really contemplate in writing the stuff I only felt contemplating in thought.

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~ by frizzyscissorhands on July 25, 2007.

11 Responses to “interview with a mantissa, act one”

  1. Mantissa,I just read your answer to question one. You are an amazing writer.

    Enemy’s first interview question is “Why are you an artist?” My answer: “Why do you breathe?”. I’m not changing it despite yours.

  2. Gandhi was once asked what he thought of Western civilization. He said that he thought it was a good idea.

  3. piktor ~ thanx! the universe has tried to tell me in so many ways that i was born to write … i should listen, i guess.i think its cool your answer is so similar to mine.

    x-dell ~ ha. i like that. i good hindu friend of mine philosophized to me the other day that desire is the root of all the world’s difficulties. when you distill everything down, indeed this seems like a wise perspective.

    how different a place this world would seem if we all could just take satisfaction from what surrounds us, rather than wanting to change everything all the time. change is good, but just loving what’s around us, for what it is, also is very good.

  4. Hi there!! I wanted to stop by and say thanks for the submissions to Poets corner and see how your interview with Cruel Virgin went.

    You have great answers…she also interviewed me and I had fun with the answers!!!

    I would like to link you to both my blogs if you dont mind.

  5. bardouble ~ hey to you too. i read on susan’s site that you were “sickie” … hope you’re feelin’ better …

    welcome to my lair, haha. thanx for posting my submissions … and yeah, answering these questions has been a lot of fun. i still have 2 more to work on … please feel free to link away … 8^)

  6. Mantissa, I wish I could write as well as you, or maybe Think as well as you. The only long answer to my interview will be on question 5.

  7. Wow. This is good. Let me think on my comment.

  8. lol spoilt princess
    don’t kiss me now I’ve just gad my hair done, sort of put the brakes on straight away

    Why do we do what we do? WE JUST DO
    Amazing how many thing I thought I might never do – I do, and yet how many things I’d like to do, I’ve yet to do. But I guess we can only try to do the best with what we are or what we have when we can, and the rest of the time we just have to make do

    If there’s ever a to do list to do
    You know five things TO DO while you can, as opposed to five things to do today. You know blog, coffee, blog, eat and blog some more … How does one choose only five, when there’s so much to see, so much to do

  9. susan ~ thanx. still working on the remaining two questions.

    quasar ~ welcome. yes, indeed. so true.

    🙂

  10. Blogging is a great vehicle to express our creative souls:)

  11. COOL BLOG!

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