Self and Selves

Excerpt from a comment entry to George Williams’s blog Thanks for Not Being a Zombie (December 10, 2005)

I like how questions about the constructions of personna and of audience converge on the thematics of authenticity. But constructions are perpetually entangled in the empirical whereas authenticity seems to belong to the a priori.

To replay some Kantian distinctions: there is a gradation of imperatives (and reasons to blog) the rules of skill in the (speak or write to be heard); the counsels of prudence (speak or write the truth) and the commands [laws] of morality (speak/write the truth to “you”). The act of blogging starts from within language and moves through an adjudication of statements [yes, there is “truth” in fiction] to an asymptote where the writing reaches out to the future reader only dimly imagined by the writer. The dearest of readers, not belonging to the audience, may never reply to the call: “Alternately, dear reader, you could let me know which items you would like to hear more about, allowing me to focus on topics of interest to this blog’s audience:” or the dearest reader may reply and the reply never reach the writer who too becomes asymptotic, a receeding point, only approached but never intersected.

Blogging is like writing past oneself to one self: there’s in that spacing, a moment for imagination to reach reason.

In rereading this I am less impressed by the tortuous path to the statement about “writing past oneself to one self” as by the succinctness of the movement from “oneself” (an almost egocentric moment) to the singular pointedness of “one self”. Space makes all the difference.

And so for day 947

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