Failing Others   8 comments

I suppose it’s inevitable, but there are times when you hurt people you care about. I did that recently with a post that was on this blog for a few days before being taken down.

I didn’t mean to hurt those whom I did with that post. But I should have had a better sense of its ramifications. Sometimes—and it has happened multiple times, I suspect, in the course of writing this blog—I get so caught up in the theory and philosophy about which I’m writing that I lose sight of the personal element to many of these posts. I am someone who uses personal experiences to illustrate the philosophy and ideas that I write about. It’s simply the way I make my arguments—there’s no changing it and I have no desire to change it. Yet, such a method requires a certain degree of thought, consideration and caution. I failed on all three counts with my previous entry.

To the people I hurt, I’m sorry. I care about them, they’ve treated me well, and I screwed up in offending them. I hope they’ll forgive me.

Those readers who saw the post will likely have noticed by now that it disappeared. I apologize, as well, to those who had commented on the post and on the disappearance of those comments. Those who didn’t read the last post but are otherwise regular readers have probably noticed the absence of any new content. What happened with the last entry is part of the reason for that. I’ve been thinking a bit about this blog, the way I write it, what I want to say and how to say it. I’ve been considering whether or not I need to change my approach and reevaluating ideas for posts. However, I also have been busy and in a period of transition, and that’s played a part in my relative silence here. I haven’t minded giving myself some time off from this blog, even though it has continued to call for my attention during the break.

I feel ready to resume my writing here, though. I may need another week or two before I get the How To Be Poor series going again, but I have some other posts I want to write. New content is on the way.

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Posted April 5, 2012 by Joel Caris in Meta

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8 responses to “Failing Others

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  1. I hope that you won’t find this awkward, but since I have read all of your posts recently, I struggle to see what you may have said that from which one could take personal offense.

    I hope that you don’t start diluting your discussions in order to save someones thin skin. A good deal of the time, taking personal offense is just another way of dealing with the reality of one’s imperfection.

    That is why a great deal of the time, I treat my blog as a personal diary. It is open in the house, but I don’t ask anyone to read it. If they do read it, they have no right to bitch about my privately held opinions.

    • Well said, Degringolade. I read your blog as well as Joel’s, among others, and I admire the openness of both, though they are stylistically somewhat different. Obviously if one decides to go public with one’s thoughts and experiences there’s always going to be a risk of offending someone sometime – or possibly most of the time – but I think the practice and the honing of one’s skills it provides are likely worth the risk.

      • Thank you, Martin. I do like to be open in my writing. It’s what’s most natural for me and I think can be an effective way to get your point across. It just has its dangers, as well.

    • I don’t intend to start diluting my discussions, John. In fact, I think the next How To Be Poor post will be the exact same as it was going to be. I just had a moment there when this blog messed with my life, and I didn’t much enjoy it. It was through my own screw up. I just need to think through things a bit more.

      I think one of the ways that last post came across badly was because I don’t treat this as a personal journal. While I write about personal things, it’s in service of certain philosophical positions I’m taking, and so I’m not typically trying to comment on those personal experiences in a broad context. In the last post, I was purposefully focused on certain negative aspects of a certain situation—not trying to present a full summation of my feelings about that situation. The post thus came across as negative, understandably, but it served as a very poor encapsulation of my state of mind in a general context. It was simply about making a specific argument. There were lots of other elements to the situation I didn’t discuss because it didn’t serve my broader point.

      I also tend to put links to these posts on my personal Facebook page. Then when I find out a friend has actually been reading this blog, I’m always kind of amazed and slightly dismayed, simply because what I present here doesn’t completely mesh with who I am in real life. I’m not as obsessed with collapse, for instance (well, okay, most of the time) and I’m more positive (er . . . most of the time) and I can be perfectly happy enjoying modern distractions without obsessing over the implications of that behavior. So while I’m not putting on airs with this blog, I am dealing with a particular aspect of my personality and interests while leaving aside much of the rest of what makes me the person I am.

      The clash between those realities, I think, is part of what got me into trouble. I’m just planning on being more attentive to that disconnect. Generally speaking, I don’t expect it to be a concern. Only occasionally do I come up with something I would like to write for which I have to keep in mind discretion and privacy outside of my own life.

  2. First let me say that I haven’t read your blog for the last couple of months because of a move, so have no idea of what you refer to.

    Next, I want to know, but I also understand how the virtual world lends itself to misunderstanding intentions…that’s why I deleted my fb account around a year ago.

    Lastly, a blog is not the place to be concerned about politics. If you let politics in then the purity of your point becomes cloudy. I suppose this is the genesis behind pen names of old.

    There is a Thomas Jefferson quote that I used to have up on my blog that went something like this (a paraphrase) “there is not a truth that I know of that I would not want the entire world to know.” So…do not apologize for your vetted opinion because if that is not what a blog is, than what is it?

    As there is no place for profit in health care, there is no place for politics in virtual pamphlets such as this…

    Aaron

    emtmusings.blogspot.com

    • Glad to see you back, Aaron. I checked in on your blog a week or so ago and meant to get back to leave some actual comments. Never did, obviously, but I was enjoying what I was reading and it was good to hear your voice again. I understand the busyness of moving, as I’ve been doing that myself, and so I haven’t been getting around to many blogs outside of the Archdruid of late, but I’ve been wanting to catch up with you and a few others.

      Anyway, the virtual world is indeed a dangerous place, especially when you mix it with friends and family in the real world. That’s not always a good mix, outside of certain straightforward interactions. I suppose I’ve known that and I suppose every now and again I have to relearn that lesson. If I was smart, I would just dump Facebook entirely, but I’m not always that smart. I still find it enjoyable in limited quantities.

      As for that quote, it’s good. The general points I was making in that post—about making things work and understanding what luxuries you can afford and what you can’t—I don’t think we’re the problem. In fact, I think those points ended up obscured by other offenses that were entirely unintended but understandable. In other words, I could have spoken the same truth I was getting at in a different way or with different examples and been fine. Oh well—there are always lessons to be learned, mistakes made, challenges dealt with. So it goes.

  3. Hi Joel. All is now explained! To err, is to be human they say and your apology sounded genuinely sincere. Sometimes I’ve found that it is not the act itself, but the response to that act that leaves lasting impressions in people. Hope everything is cool with your friends and that you also had a lovely Easter too. Regards. Chris

    • Thanks, Chris. Things seem to be better. I certainly made my apologies and they were indeed sincere. I think everything’s settling back to normal.

      My Easter was pretty uneventful, but nice. Feed the animals, read, go hang out on the beach for a bit. I enjoyed it. Hope you had a lovely Easter, as well.

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