Monday, October 09, 2006

why do we blog?

Monday, October 09, 2006 says 398,000 blogs. says 55 million blogs.

livejournal says 11,299,071 blogs.

why do we blog? 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 of 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?

i don't have the answers. but observe, from my year 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 that people follow, they all have hopes. fears. thoughts and worries of 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 (being 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 god, you might say, 'there but for the grace of god 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 attrocity, venting his soul to cyberspace. or that homeless person living in her car.

since taking an online presence i have learned about life in the swedish arctic circle, have increased my awareness of the cultural distinction between canada and the usa, have found some absolute treasures of humanity - intellectual, artistic, spiritual, eccentric. have discovered entire communities devoted to fetishes i once loathed myself for having. have felt disturbed and chilled at the ease with which one could become homeless.

i'm not that different, on the most fundamental human level, from any of these people. however, i am definitely a different person now, as opposed to before encountering any such individuals in the blogosphere. blogging quickly becomes addictive to all who engage it fully for this reason. it enriches us. energizes our humanity. of course it does! for in contributes to the growth, and also our understanding of, the web of humanity. it melts the walls, fences and other obstacles that separate so many humans in the physical and social worlds. it helps us see ourselves. it makes us feel we belong.