“IMAGINATION DEAD IMAGINE” (Samuel Beckett)
I have never believed in the dividing of recent history up into “generations” or into “eras” or “ages”. These divisions have always seemed to come from people who saw themselves as central figures and key exemplars of a particular generation or epoch. From their point of view I would seem to be an “in-between” phenomenon, not exemplary enough, or an outdated late-comer, out of touch and behind the times. All this is Chronos, externally imposed mechanical time. I have always felt “untimely” in relation to such classifications, sometimes sadly, sometimes proudly, most often at a loss.
I came to philosophical blogging late, and the conversations that interested me were already well under way. I was not welcomed to these conversations and it took me some time to understand this fact. There was the paradox of a small and closed clique seemingly addressing the world, but basically in mutual admiration and reciprocal promotion. The careerist aspect became clear as these bloggers passed on to academic careers and book publishing. The vampiric aspect showed itself in my being ripped off (occasionally) but banned (never to be mentioned). There was no real Bataillean excess, abundance, incandescence and giving but miserly investing.
These are some of the pathologies of the blogosphere, and I am glad that many of the blogs that exemplified them are extinct. They do not define an epoch, but my misunderstanding of their nature inspired me to begin blogging, my way. Perhaps they misunderstood themselves (some of them, partially, at first). They explored a golden possibility, and when it turned to dust between their fingers they proclaimed that the “golden age” was finished, as they turned towards other sorts of gold (that any alchemist would call base).
So much dead matter being removed means that book blogging is more “alive” than ever, with the untimely intensity of bare life, without the extraneous stakes. We blog because we love it. We love reading, and we love sharing.
Perhaps “extimacy” characterises this sort of experience. I kept a diary for thirty years before I began blogging, but since then it has faded into the background (never entirely ceased). Something changes when you formulate your intimate thoughts for an unknown outside gaze. You realise that “intimate” is not always synonymous with “private”, and that such expression is takes place in the no man’s land between inner and outer. Book blogging is neither just about the books, nor covertly about the narcissistic ego, it has its own form of incandescence. I see no death here, only life conveyed through extimate intensities.
Thanks for your blog, the fruit of otium rather than of negotium.