“The function of language is not to inform but to evoke . . . responses.” So writes Jacques Lacan, the French philosopher and linguist.
But perhaps the same could be said of art, or music, or dance. Any creative endeavor. Certainly it’s true of blogging. We create what we do with the explicit purpose of evoking responses from some largely unknown Other. It a very human thing. The desire to touch and to be touched. To share what we love, what evokes responses in us, with the hope of evoking similar responses from them.
I wrote about this some time ago in Blogging and the Accident of Touching. But I wanted to revisit it, to reassess why I put so much time into blogging. What is its value, to me, to others? Why do I persist?
What I love about blogging is being able to share the things that are meaningful to me with others–art, music, poetry, literature, nature. But also discovering from others new art, new music, new ways of looking at and being in the world. That reciprocity. That sense of connection. What do they love that I may love too? How will it deepen and broaden and enrich my own experience of life? Every day is a new discovery, a new love, a new insight into what it means to be.
In that original post I likened blogging to “those conversations we have in the wee hours of the morning . . . ”
“. . . when the party is over and all have left except for those few lingering souls who find themselves opening up to each other in ways they could never do when meeting on the street or over dinner. Those 3 AM conversations, you know.
That’s how blogging often is done too, late at night when we can’t sleep, or after we’ve put our novel to bed, or when we wake early and are seeking the company of other early risers, or those living half-way round the world from us.
We can share our thoughts and evoke responses in our own time, and others can respond in the same way, with a quick “like” or a longer comment. And we can respond in return.
It’s a way of reaching out to others that for some feels more comfortable than the spoken word. I feel I may be getting “the best” of them in those wee hour revelations, as they are getting the best I have to offer, a side of myself I seldom share apart from the written page.
There’s another part to all this, why we write, why we blog, which a woman who would not be forgotten wrote about a thousand years ago:
“Again and again something in one’s own life, or in the life around one, will seem so important that one cannot bear to let it pass into oblivion. There must never come a time, the writer feels, when people do not know about this.” —Shikibu Murasaki, Tale of Genji (978 – 1014 AD)
Touching and being touched, yes. That’s part of why we blog. But also passing along to a larger world something of ourselves that seems too vital to pass into oblivion. In some small way, perhaps, this blogging about our lives, our loves, our insights, our art, is a way of passing on through the minds of others a part of our larger self. Letting it echo out there in the universe for a wider while.