Peter M Howard ::

On Unfinished Thoughts

28Jan2024 [personal]

In which something...

I have so many unfinished draft posts, gathered over the years. And snippets of things scrawled in notebooks, now taking up space. Between resurrecting this site and doing some cleanup at home I’ve been rereading some old stuff, and thinking about the ways and reasons I’ve stopped writing (or especially, publishing) so much.

There’s definitely a thing where, for a while, I’ve felt like I shouldn’t publish anything I haven’t fully thought through, that I’m not ready to defend from all angles, or at least make clear that I’ve thought about a lot of them. Some of this is the toxicity of mass social media, but there’s also a bunch of unhealthy stuff I internalised and really leaned into in my thirties.

It’s weird reading some of my earlier stuff, ’cause I can see clearly that I was on a journey, was starting to see through a lot of bullshit. But I was challenged to have to make an intellectual argument — feelings that something is askew isn’t good enough. Part of this is toxic masculinity (the idea that men can’t argue from feelings), part is weird old Catholic notions of ‘Natural Law’ (which is the same thing basically: a rationalisation of big scary feelings whenever one’s observations of the world don’t match one’s expectations).

But anyway, here I am now, not really a man and definitely not caring for intellectual gatekeepers that will only hear arguments from people (men) who play by their debating rules.

So the weirdly revolutionary thing I’m going to do here is publish something I haven’t fully figured out.

Some of what I liked about Twitter was that its short-form constraints lent itself to putting unfinished thoughts out there — but as it expanded and its social rules changed it also became a place for second-guessing oneself. I’m off Twitter, I’m not convinced mass social media is healthy, and I’m gonna try using my personal blog space as somewhere to figure out my thoughts, even if it remains a place of neither fact nor fiction.

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