Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I have read, that to lust after another man's wife is tantamount to committing adultery with her.  I am not convinced about this, surely the thought would be missing all of the ecstasy and a good deal of the agony of the deed but it will serve me well enough as an analogy to the notion that it is dishonest, when means of publication are available, to withhold an idea.
I have a few ideas that I am keen to express but have held off doing so because I would not want to cause pain to anyone who might, correctly or otherwise, identify with what I consider to be causes of deficiency within our society.
I discussed these fears with a close friend recently.  She had not doubt about the dishonesty of harbouring even our most antagonistic thoughts.  Later the same day I read William Soutar's diary entry for Friday 27th April 1934.  Soutar is referring to his diary but the sentiment holds equally good for blog posts:

A diary is like a drink: we tend to indulge in it over often: It becomes a habit that would ever seduce us to say more than we ought to say and more than we have the experiential qualifications to state.  It is a kind of private paper that demands its quota of news every day and not rarely becomes a mere recorder of spiritual journalese.  But not only can it persuade us to betray the self - it temps us to betray our fellows also, becoming thereby an alter ego sharing with us the denigrations which we would be ashamed of voicing aloud: a diary is an assassin's cloak which we wear when we stab a comrade in the back with a pen.  And here is this diary proving its culpability even to its own harm - for how much on this page is true to the others?
This was an augury.  Henceforth, it will be a cause of regret to me that any friend or casual reader of a post of mine should be offended by anything I publish.  Rest assured though that I shall use all my diplomacy, such as that is, to avoid distress.  I have no choice now, however painful it may prove to be, but to express my deepest  concerns; the unseen hand on my shoulder insists that this is so.


Anonymous said...

"Publish and be dammned" as the saying goes, although I have always thought that it could be interpreted as either encouragement to publish or warning not to, although it generally seems to be taken as encouragement, which is how I meant it. The Soutar thoughts are very apt (as many of his thoughts are). There are so many things that all of us wish to say, I reckon, but so many of us hold back from saying because we don't wish to offend, and a diary, or a blog, can easily seduce one into going to far, and regretting having done so. It's why so many bloggers hide behind false names and fake identities. But should we regret what we say, or should we regret the social difficulties which cause us to hesitate about what we say, and so often hold back. I look forward to reading what you have to say. Anyone offended can tell you so, or just stop reading.

John Foster said...

Thank you for that Andrew. My firm opinion is that it is pointless to publish dishonestly. I believe that blogging provides a platform from which seeds of contentment and consideration can be sown to germinate and grow a more beautiful, considerate, contented and consequently happy society. Withholding our ideas and critical opinions and not finding the courage to stand up for our beliefs is not conducive to achieving that end.

Claudia said...

It's not so much what we say, but the manner of our speaking which matters. So many people are "missionarie". They believe that there is only one truth. And they push it down in people's throat. It's interesting to read what someone thinks, on different subjects. But the readers shouldn't have to agree with everything all the time. Unless you want to meet just yes-people. There are two sorts of blogs: the Monologue and the Dialogue. It's up to the blogger to decide whether he/she wishes to write a Diary-à-la-Samuel-Pepys, or to engage in a friendly conversation around the world. One essential quality, in a blog, is a sense of humour. To be able to laugh together, even about our disagreements, is such a relief in the often-disastrous world we face every morning.

So many of my friends do not agree with what I believe. But they are such decent, charming, knowledgeable, humorous people that I cannot picture my life without them.

It takes courage to start a blog. May your honesty allows you to appreciate and accept other people's honesty. Bonne Chance!

Anonymous said...

"...is such a relief in the often-disastrous world we face every morning"....

Oh Claudia, for goodness sake, why are you always so negative? (yes, I am laughing...)... "...disastrous world..."? Why can't you have a more positive and optimistic outlook on life like me? (yes, I am laughing some more...)

[PS: The word verification I am told to insert is "hopess" Ha ha! I think maybe John's First Cause is having a laugh too]

Claudia said...

Ha!Ha!Ha! Andrew...But I put the word often disastrous. Not always-disastrous like you would...

À ta santé, cher ami.;-)

John Foster said...

My slow and peaceful life here does not generate sufficient material to write a "Diary-à-la-Samuel-Pepys". When I somewhat reluctantly began this blog I established these ground rules; that it should not be a tedious record of my day to day life, that "I" should, as far as possible, be kept out of it and that it should not proselytise my beliefs. I hope that my posts reflect these conditions although, when setting them, I had not reckoned on blog comments! Conversations without a degree of argument are no more than talk; I wish only for conversational argument to be reasonable; able to be reasoned. Our lives are composed of an omnidimensional mosaic of human experience to exist in a world of mid-grey clones would be to not experience life at all. Thank you, by the way, for the introduction to Sean Jeating and his blog.
You have "my" First Cause, in which you do not believe, laughing but, rather than being anthropomorphic as many believers and most non-believers think, my First Cause is, as I have essayed to explain elsewhere, as abstract as a geometric point or straight line. Interesting eh?

Claudia said...

By commenting on another blog, you made yourself known, and in a way, invited people to visit you. It's hard to control a very public, world-wide conversation. The comments you'll receive might not always be as deep and reasoned as you would wish. But I'm sure you'll always be very courteous towards all. I went back to your previous posts, and I've been impressed by the gentle and peaceful atmosphere they present, though some of your days were impregnated by the sadness of your loss.

I'll keep on reading you as I'm very interested to find out, eventually, if you think of the First Cause as your Creator. And what we're doing here on Earth. And where we're going when it will all end.

All serious human beings try to find answers to those questions. And also what is the best way to fill the hours we have been granted.

Thank you for your attention. And for sharing with us some moments of your life.