What We Find Changes Who We Become

As someone who regularly watches my blog statistics for patterns so that I may deduce something about the behavior of those who find my blog, I take special notice when someone looks up quite a few posts in a short time. This is especially true because the posts viewed often give some sort of pattern showing what material someone is looking for. For example, shortly after a recent wedding I went to, within a short period of time there were about half a dozen linked posts viewed involving the wedding, a couple of previous church dances, a post about a particularly meaningful song that was mentioned in the sermon at one of those dances, and a post about my misfortune in writing personal notes. From that chain of posts it was fairly easy to determine what person or small group of people were looking at those particular posts given their common interest in that particular material. Last night, between 10:00PM and 10:30PM, when my blog has its new day during Daylight Savings Time, someone viewed about thirty posts in a short time, most of them relating to my interactions with people in the local church congregation. Such a pattern will tell me that someone is intensively looking for this sort of material, presumably of deep personal interest to them, but it does not tell me what they think about that information in the absence of further communication. It is one thing to know that people want to find you and find out what you are saying, but it is another thing entirely to know what it is they make of what you say, as it is hard to know whether someone is actually reading what is being written, or merely feeding their own fears and anxieties upon the written record of your own concerns.

With a few very rare and treasured exceptions, it is hard for me to know what it is my blog readers come here looking to find, although I would very much like to know, especially those who know me personally and have particular questions they are asking my blog to answer, questions that I would be happy to answer openly and honestly to save them the toil and risk of misinterpretation. The exceptions are notable and worthy of comment. For one, those people who come to my profile looking for my roughly monthly blog series on Rock & Roll Hall of Fame snubs are often very interested that I write about certain artists. I know I have been somewhat slow about writing about some of these, but believe me, I pay attention to these requests and have them in mind. The fact that only one post a month deals with this topic does mean I plan on writing about them indefinitely, as there are hundreds of worthy snubs to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (worthy meaning as worthy as being in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as Laura Nyro, Ringo Starr as a solo artist, and Faces/Small Faces, which is a pretty large group of bands and artists). So, for those who want me to write about Golden Earring and Huey Lewis & The News and many other bands, I will (eventually) get around to your request unless the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inducts them first. The other exception is made up of a small group of friends with whom I speak to on a regular, almost daily, basis and who naturally either express concern about what I am saying in a given post, wish for me to write more (or less) about something in particular, or have specific feedback which shapes the course of my entries. I am certainly willing to add people to this circle of “beta” readers of my blog, and to respond to the concerns and questions of my blog readers, but questions and concerns that are not communicated are questions and concerns I cannot address because I lack mind-reading abilities, for which everyone (not least of all myself) can be thankful.

Today my daily reading [1] was a book on how it is that we find things and what happens to us when we do. I won’t repeat too much of my book review here, except to note that what I write about is often related to what I have found in life. This is a matter of considerable personal importance. I write about issues like child abuse and bullying and disastrously poor communication because these are problems I have encountered in life, not by any desire to find them but because of circumstance. I do not go into a day or go into a situation with a deliberate intent to write about specific subjects, rather what I write about depends on what I find in the course of that day, whether I find it in a book, in a song, in a sermon message, in a personal interaction, in an e-mail message or blog comment, or as a thought or feeling that crosses my mind. This lack of malice aforethought in my blogging, and this lack of ulterior motives in the larger construction of my blog does not prevent me from having certain well-worn paths, but it does mean that I do not write with any hidden agendas. Any agendas I have are fairly open and transparent, as befits someone as open and transparent as I am, if fairly complicated and layered because of what I have encountered in life. At times, though, this tendency towards openness as well as receptiveness to what I have found, and to commenting on it, has been the source of considerable personal stress, which only guarantees that I will write about it more and more until it no longer causes any sort of discomfort or stress to me. This can take years, even decades, so that may not be a comforting thought to those who read my blog wishing I would not write about certain matters.

Yet this is not merely a one-way process. Indeed, even something as subtle as looking at a particular blog entry of mine, especially in conjunction with other related blog entries, triggers to mind a cascade of thoughts related to what holds those posts in common, what situations and people and contexts. This bringing to mind makes it more likely that I will write about such matters in the future, thinking of others that certainly appear to be thinking of me, in an implicit and indirect sort of conversation. This changes who we are, by bringing certain matters to mind over and over again for me as well as for those people who come to my blog wondering what I think and perhaps what I feel. At times, as is the case with my defense of those people who have been unfairly neglected and ignored by supposed cultural gatekeepers, it is an immense pleasure to stand up for justice in some fashion, to wish to balance the scales and make the world a more just place, even if just with voicing my own personal advocacy on behalf of others. On the other hand, at times what people look for and find brings them great unhappiness, and seeing that pattern of posts viewed reminds me of my own unhappiness over certain matters that seem not to be possible to resolve. It is not only what we find that changes what we become, it is what others find in us, whether it is true or not. For what others find in us forces us to respond to that in some fashion, or at least to think about how we are viewed by others, and that can bring us great distress, even if we seem unable to do anything about it because any recognition of what others are finding, even in opposition to it, only serves to concern that mistaken impression even further. And yet some of us are compelled to explain ourselves, leaving more for others to find, if they so desire.

[1] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2015/06/26/book-review-ambient-findability/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Christianity, Church of God, Musings and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to What We Find Changes Who We Become

  1. Pingback: Book Review: Who Did It First?: Great Pop Cover Songs And Their Original Artists | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Pingback: Book Review: Creative People Must Be Stopped | Edge Induced Cohesion

  3. Pingback: Because I Knew You, I Have Been Changed For Good | Edge Induced Cohesion

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