The Last Word In

More than once I get an idea and start writing a post only to realize after one or two hundred words that I don’t really believe in what I’m writing. It’s a concept that sounds logical, and I can wrap it in nice analogies and metaphors, but it just doesn’t match my beliefs or my experience. Tonight I started thinking about the importance of having a good idea to orient oneself towards when doing creative work, wrote a hundred words on it, and only then realized that the idea isn’t important for the creativity, but as a sort of talisman against the demons of doubt. The topic finds itself when the words are put on paper: Not mysticism, just creativity.

How nice that I could just delete it. Those words I didn’t believe remain unsaid. But that’s the advantage of writing, isn’t it? What if I was speaking out loud? How long would it take me to realize I didn’t believe what I just said if everyone had been listening? What if it was a heated argument?

Would I ever admit I was wrong?

I like to think I would, but it would be hard in a way that just deleting a post that doesn’t work isn’t. Hard to recognize the untruth, hard to admit it.

How many people live in a nest of calcified semi-truth, unable to change positions at all amidst the wreckage of their diatribes?

Many people even regard this as a desirable trait. We elect people for failing to admit they misspoke! Being able to change one’s mind in the face of new evidence is paraded by ideological opponents as evidence of weakness – on examination an abstract sort of weakness with no corresponding form of strength.

We talk about burning bridges, about severing the connections we have between ourselves and others by saying hurtful or destructive things, but we don’t talk so much about the barriers we create within ourselves by saying them, blocking us off from being any other person than the one we have demonstrated ourselves to be through our language. Everyone knows that loose lips sink ships, few admit that they can also build them, can also carry us far from home, committed to a journey to nowhere in particular for no good reason.

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