Why I Blog

Being sick the past few days, I've had plenty of time to lay around pondering life, the universe, and everything (42!). Well, sort of. At any rate, in my musings, I've been trying to think of a good blog topic, and the idea that has kept coming back to me is that of why I blog. I suppose that there are really only a handful of reasons why people write one of these posts on a reasonably regular basis, but I thought it might be interesting to explore my own thoughts on the matter, since writing has seemed quite natural to me.

Not for fame or fortune
While it is certainly true that I would love to make a fortune off of my blogging, it's certainly not the compelling reason (but keep on clicking on those sponsor links!:). Similarly, I don't post here because I view myself of some sort of celebrity, nor do I post because I want to become a celebrity. That being said, a little name recognition isn't a bad thing (assuming it's not being known as a complete wanker). Bottom line: I don't blog because I think it will make me rich or famous.

Not for soap-boxing (well, not usually)
My intent in blogging is not to provide myself a soap box for ranting (at least, not usually). Though I do sometimes get off on rants (such as why I think people are nuts if they think Clinton would make a decent president - like we need another 4 or 8 years of Clinton...), I generally try to keep my posts thoughtful. Moreover, I'm not trying to post simply to drown out everyone else with my shouting, but rather to offer alternative ideas and opinions. Generally, these opinions are information security/survivability/resilience (you pick), with the occasional wandering into politics (national security) and the environment (global security). I get very concerned when people shut out all competing opinions, and thus try to make sure that competing views are presented so that they can be considered.

Passionate about security/survivability/resilience
I have a few topics about which I'm passionate, and those all come together in this site. Furthermore, I'm continuously trying to educate myself around these topics, reading as much as possible, from traditional books to news magazines to other blogs and online resources. In a given month, I'm reading about a dozen published works and a couple hundred blogs, web sites, and mailing lists. Passion is my motive.

Searching for truth
An educated and passionate mind will seek out the truth. It's not always easy to cut through the media and vendor BS and get to the facts that really matter. One area of performance that I greatly enjoy in my consulting is root cause analysis. It's very easy to be reactive to symptoms, but it takes care and skill to skim through the symptoms, look for patterns, and track back to the core problems affecting a given environment. It's this search for truth that I find most enjoyable in the writing process, because it can sometimes be surprising.

Take global climate change, for example. The vast majority of people accept that it's happening, but there is actually very deep division in the Scientific community around the severity and likely results of these changes. On my part, I keep coming to the peak/valley graph and wonder how the logic works that over the past 400,000 years we've seen peak, valley, peak, valley, peak, valley such that we're then lead to see the next peak as a super-peak and assume "apocalypse" instead of "super-valley." Moreover, if the planet has survived for hundreds of millions of years (if not, in fact, billions), it seems strangely self-important to think that mankind could destroy the planet in a scant hundred years.

Finding the truth in these types of threads is very interesting and challenging. The challenge comes in trying to cut through the name calling and utter emotional BS in an attempt to get to the root data and perform an analysis. When key scientists quit because of the political nature of what is (mis)represented as a scientific committee, then we should all view the situation with skepticism and begin to wonder about the truth. If more citizens demanded that the Bush administration be truthful, and then held them accountable for their actions, then perhaps we wouldn't be dealing with them today. Similarly, if people would quite listening to the lies of candidates like Clinton and just accept that she is no more qualified for president than anyone else, then per we could actually look at the potential for each candidate to exact change during their term in office and vote accordingly.

Instead, truth is often strongly supplanted by emotions and misrepresentations. People choose to support Clinton because she's a woman, not because she necessarily represents the best candidate. People support a reduction in carbon emissions to "save the planet" when in fact such a focus will have very little real impact on the planet, and when the focus should be on saving people. These distractions from truth oftentimes lead us down the wrong paths, which leads me to wonder if we really can describe our race as "intelligent."

A desire to be heard
Who doesn't want to be heard? To be truly honest, while I don't write this blog to soap-box, I do write it to be heard. I'm greatly disturbed by trends in industry and society, and feel it is my obligation to point out what appears to be sheer blindness and stupidity, providing alternative ideas and opinions. Perhaps these will all be turned against me, but in the end, the point is in the effort being made, attempting to decry BS and politicization of otherwise straightforward issues.

A desire to make a difference
In being heard, I hope to make a difference. If my posts cause one person to think about a topic and consider alternatives, then I believe that I've made a difference. Moreover, if that person comes to realize that their opinions have been based on hyperbole instead of fact, then I'll feel that I've been even more successful. It's important to me that, in being heard, my words serve to make a difference.

Hoping that 1 person can change culture and society
Many people will view as delusional my belief that one person can make a difference. Or maybe it'll be billed as cliche. However, it's a very important point, and one that drives me to continue writing these posts, week after week. If I cannot make a difference, then I might as well sell my belongings, abandon my family, and become a hobo living in the refuge of the mountains. That would be sad, though. And lonely. The simple fact of the matter is that evil wins when good people do nothing. It's absolutely imperative that each and every one of us make a best effort to effect change. This isn't about me being right and everybody else being wrong. On the contrary, it's about driving discussion, thoughtfulness, and engagement in the brains of society. I'm very concerned that in the US we've become a coddled society that is quickly losing its ability to see and understand truth, and do what is right, rather than what is easy. The last 6+ years under the Bush administration are a perfect example. It's been far too easy to blindly and emotionally support failed policies such as the so-called "war on terror" and the occupation of Iraq, when we should be demanding answers to hard questions, such as how we measure success, what is right, and what we can do to remove the source of stress/tension that is cause aggression through terrorism. We all should be willing to stand in front of the tanks in Tiananmen Square.

A desire for debate
Perhaps the most difficult aspect of blogging, thus far, has been the lack of engagement from the reading audience. My stats indicate that people are reading this blog (no idea why;). Yet almost none of you post comments. Maybe it's because you agree with everything I've said, though I'd hope that this wouldn't strictly be the case (good for ego, bad for ego). There are earnest questions about the security industry, about the environment, and about politics that simply require open debate and discussion. Moreover, I'd be very interested to hear what others are reading, and their thoughts on the books that I've read. Hopefully some day there will be a shift, resulting in more discussion of various topics. :)

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Ben Tomhave published on April 20, 2008 4:08 PM.

Fiction Review: Broken Angels by Richard K. Morgan was the previous entry in this blog.

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