Yesterday I talked about how being impersonal is not a way to avoid pride.
Today I’m going to face up to the main worry people have about being too personal: it might lead to the worship of personalities. This worship leads to the following problems:
- Dogmatism: so and so said this is true, so it must be so. Which translates into not thinking for yourself, but repeating what others have said.
- Forgetting or ignoring the general principles being taught, because one is really only focused on that one person.
- Ignoring the many people behind the scenes who also keep up the work, have valuable insights and in fact made it possible for the celebrity to be where they are
The fact is: we have a culture (especially in the US) where the worship (perhaps obsession with is a better turn of phrase?) of celebrities has taken on massive proportions. These poor people can’t take a step without being watched by cameras. They have to make sure they ARE being watched, or else their careers are going down the drain. This fighting for the attention of the media has created some unsightly scenes. I’m not going to name names here – but I do feel that all this is over the top.
The fact is: I am playing the online version of that game. I have signed up for twitter for instance in hopes of finding a few bloggers interested in spirituality who might turn into readers – and hence link to one of my online projects in future. It’s called Public Relations and it’s a ‘scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’ kind of scene.
But there are also genuine things going on. It’s also about keeping up with ‘the conversation’. Which means that it’s a way of finding out what people actually care about.
A good blogger will care about their readers first: so no matter how many backs I scratch, if what I write about isn’t worth reading, it’s not going to get promoted by anybody but me (and as long as it’s just me promoting, it’s not taking off).
So how does this relate to the three worries I started out with? First off: I can’t worry about people memorizing my posts, just because I explain (some of) the personal background that brought me to this point. I doubt people ARE memorizing my words – and if they are, I hope they do so because it brings them personal insight. Dogmatism really can’t be fought by anything but critical thinking.
Second – the blog scene is a place where a lot of repeating goes on: people saying what someone else has already said better. BUT it’s also a place where being original and even contrary will get people noticed. In that environment the thing that is most likely to be lost is the middle ground, the nuance. Again – being less personal isn’t going to fix that.
As for third the people behind the scenes who got me where I am today… Perhaps this is the place to mention that despite my having become a spiritual instead of an agnostic person (though perhaps I’m both), my parents did teach some important values that I thank them for. I thank Henk Spierenburg for giving me support and many books. I also want to thank all those theosophists who have shared their personal nuggets of wisdom and insight with me. You are, collectively, what makes the Theosophical Society such a valuable community.
Have I missed any issues with being impersonal? Please leave them in the comments.