Personal and Impersonal Writings

It's been pretty impersonal around here for a while. Let's switch it up for a post or two.

I'm not much of an exhibitionist. Perhaps this explains my reluctance to post the private details of my personal life. There could be a more interesting explanation, however. Here is an abbreviated list of possible factors:

  • Prudence
  • Shame
  • Disinterest in self

Prudence is supposed to be a virtue, right? The word's meaning is not as simple as that of its homonym, "prude." In my list it implies doing the right thing at the right time and place. As an online professional, I use my real name most of the time. When I use my handle, skeltoac, it is merely shorthand and not an alternate identity. I don't have a different handle for airing my dirty laundry because the internet is where I work. Prudence dictates that you don't bring your laundry to work unless you work at a laundromat.

My thought train circles prudence for a moment and then escapes on the first logical sidetrack, a tangental orbit with identical energy but opposite spin: shame. Shame could be a virtue if you're a Puritan but I see most forms of shame as weakness, if not vice. (The following is a logical fallacy performed by a professional driver on a closed track; do not attempt this at home.) If I'm ashamed of something after the act or fact, I must be suffering from an insufficiency of excuses for my behavior. I must have known better and gone ahead with it anyway. To knowingly do something against my own mores and possibly contrary to my own survival would be insane. Isn't shame a mechanism to attain toward greater survival by suppressing self-destructive behavior?

I have a personal life and there are things I don't blog about. That does not mean I'm ashamed of anything I've done. It could mean that I'd be ashamed to disclose the private details of my life in the very place where I work. What sane person wouldn't? The act of disclosing a good act can be a bad act. Shame reveals its true nature as the second face of prudence.

My short list ends with a curious item. Why didn't I write "not interesting" or "not interested?" I have plenty of ways to be interesting, to attract the interest of others online as well as offline. I am interested in myself, my improvement and expansion as a person, my personal quests to hit the top and bottom of experience in life. I wrote "disinterest in self." That phrase didn't come out of a deep inspection of myself; it just sort of appeared there. Perhaps it would be better stated as "aversion to self-inspection."

Train wrecks and rainbows are captivating when seen from a distance while from within they are nothing to behold.

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