March 23rd, 2018

Back to the future: Social media vs. old school blogging.

Robert Tracinski at The Federalist asks: Was social media a mistake?

I found myself nodding in agreement. All of the factors that RT cites as having made social media attractive - convenience, centralization, conciseness - were things that made social media appealing for me, especially as the period 2007 - 2008 coincided in a period in my own life when I had much less free time to read, write, and think.

One of the things I like about LJ / DW is that it's a format that is conducive to longer writing, and I've been missing that. Tracinski's four-point program, or one similar to it, could be a good idea: cut back on Twitter and Facebook, focus more on in-depth reading and writing through trusted internet sources, and cultivate a habit of reading real books.

Passover thoughts.

Passover starts in a week. It's one of the major Jewish holidays (and certainly one of the best-known), and in some ways the archetypal Jewish holiday - commemorating as it does the exodus from slavery in Egypt.

But Passover doesn't occur in a vacuum. It is inseparably linked to the holiday of Shavu'ot, which occurs seven weeks later and commemorates the giving of the Torah. (In fact, it is obligatory to count, day by day, the days from Passover to Shavu'ot.) The deeper message is that freedom is meaningless without purpose and responsibility; in a religious context, freedom is meaningless without a sense of your place in the Divine plan.

I think there's a connection here with the insights of Victor Frankl, whom I cited in a previous post. In the course of his experiences as an inmate in Nazi concentration camps, Frankl became convinced of the importance of the freedom to choose one's own path and to behave honorably, even in the most terrible of circumstances. "It is this spiritual freedom - which cannot be taken away - that makes life meaningful and purposeful."