This is an unapologetic interdiction directed to the influx of new followers to this blog. It is meant to be at least partly true and maybe a bit humorous (if I can strike the right tone, which is unlikely). It is also inspired by Leavergirl’s recent post called “Pulling the Plug,” though I’d been mulling this post for at least a week prior to reading hers. Make of it what you will.
To Follow or Unfollow — That is the Question
Over the past few months, I have received a steady trickle of new followers/subscribers to this blog. The count is now over 250 (still pretty modest, I know, so why am I complaining?). Unlike most bloggers, Facebookers, and pundits who revel in increased attention that hits, likes, friending, thumbs up/down, votes, ratings, rankings, links, referrals, trackbacks, reblogs, and follows/subscriptions would suggest, I care about none of those. Evidence that anyone wandering into The Spiral Staircase is actually reading what’s written is mostly absent. (There is a surprisingly large number of Filipinos who find this blog searching for Scheler’s Hierarchy in Google, where my post is currently the fourth hit returned on the search. None of them stop to comment.) Real proof would be a thoughtful comment that addresses the subject of the post. Agreement and disagreement are both welcome but not really the point. I get some comments, but not many. However, if this blog were to receive scores of comments like successful blogs do (measured solely by numbers, of course), I would not be able to keep up. Therefore, I’m not especially desirous of voluminous commentary. Like the fellow who blogs at Gin and Tacos (see blogroll), I’d probably end up throwing up a post for consideration then ignoring the comments (or at least not deigning to reply, which I consider tantamount to the same). Admittedly, I don’t always have a reply.
I recognize that among the millions and billions of people out there surfing the Internet, lots of intelligent, thoughtful, sensitive, humane people do exist. The proportion of them who can construct a good English sentence with something worthwhile to say, on the other hand, is suspiciously small. I don’t quite know why (reckless conjecture withheld). So seriously, what the hell are you doing here? If your blog is in a foreign language (non-English) or is an obvious content farm, I’m not returning any favors. If you write a series of inspirational posts (religion, self-help, life coaching, careers, fashion, etc.) or muse on daily life, I’m not reading your posts. If you’re selling vinyl siding somewhere in Canada, probably Ontario (I’ve actually got one such follower), I’m not even remotely interested in buying. Think about going somewhere else. If you’re selling SEO, then please DIAF.
What This Blog is Really For
Let me retrace my steps to the beginning, since no one reads the backblog besides the About Brutus link. In the past, I have been an active participant in several online discussion groups (listservs, actually), enjoyed the discussions, and learned a lot. It helped enormously to hone my thinking and writing. Online media has now shifted to blogs and social media, few of which foster discussion well. Worse, anonymous comment has opened the door to some truly cretinous behavior and opinion. Yet still having plenty to say and think about, I started this blog to gain posting access to a now-defunct group blog (which still gets more hits than this blog despite no new posts in 10 months). Regular posts and discussion there seem to have run their course quickly and I was left with this solo blog. I post here maybe 3–4 times a month — not a pace sufficient to keep most readers engaged and interested — mostly to work out ideas of interest to me. Several subjects and themes ought to be apparent by now if you have read a few posts:
- general theory of consciousness and cognition
- cultural criticism and book blogging
- collapse of industrial civilization (or doom of the world)
- classical music and other fine arts
- semantics and media theory
Consciousness is my primary intellectual preoccupation, but my recognition that history has gone vertical probably became the dominant theme of the blog early on. I continue to believe it’s the biggest story in the history of mankind scarcely being told (the greatest story scarcely told?). The others are areas of interest in which any public intellectual ought to dabble. In true liberal arts style, I’m that sort of dabbler, which I consider a birthright and in some ways superior to the overspecialization that is legion among academics and careerists, whose expertise easily eclipses mine but often results in professional blindness, pointless positioning, and argumentation in the abstract. So I’m still interested in meaningful discussion, but there is very little. That might be a good thing.
Here is the interdiction, plain and simple: if you’re not an independent thinker, a quasi-disinterested participant in discussion, and a judicious consumer of ideas, then you’re probably a mark. This relates to the really scary part (barely acknowledged) of George Orwell’s novel 1984, which is the state’s (or the New World Order if you’re inclined to conspiracy) ambivalence about destroying people (it’s still a-okay to destroy people, but that’s not really the goal). Rather, Orwell depicts a Ministry of Information having a maniacal devotion to winning hearts and minds and the willingness to brainwash and forcibly reprogram citizens to achieve that aim. Gotta break a few eggs to make an omelet, right? In our reality, gotcha capitalism (a human institution run amok) wants your servitude in the form of debt, but it’s the state that wants your soul. So the state goes to absurdly extreme lengths to project false reality (e.g., political theater, propaganda campaigns, and psyops) to ensnare the masses and perpetuate a style of social organization designed to serve mainly those at the top. I’ve argued that being king of the shitpile is a questionable achievement, but no matter; the motivation to rule or will to power never dies in some small percentage of Scrooges, Grinches, and Renfields.
Moreover, know this: everyone is competing to rope your eyeballs in a juvenile game of make-you-look, ranging from harmless pranking such as Rickrolling or Trololoing to manufacturing desire through wall-to-wall advertising to invading your privacy and mining data to use against you and/or sell you out. Your online presence and never-diverted attention to mass media make you a willing, craven even, participant to the colonization of your own mind. As your attention increases, you’re evermore a rube repeating the memes some troll created for you. In contrast, this blogger does not want to develop a large readership and has no illusions regarding the ultimate irrelevance of the ideas shared here. So let me suggest that you unfollow, unplug, and ignore me, as indeed you should most of the rest of what the information environment coughs up as digital exhaust and psychotic knowledge. Go away. Get a (better) life.