November 13, 2004

the phenomenology of blogging

Category: Uncategorized — Biella @ 11:47 pm

I am knee-high immersed in the waters of phenomenology, the study of being-in-the world. I have reached that point in the dissertation when I finally get to the nitty gritty details of a hackers life, looking at the ways in which the practical action of hacking (social and technical) comes to bear in their ethical conceptions of freedom. I am well beyond the half-way mark which is exciting but still feels fakely odd to me as if everything I have written needs to be entirely revamped, ground up.

I have always had a soft spot for phenomenology, perhaps because it questions abstractions and because it implicitly affirms the anthropological method which is learning through experience of the world. It is a philosophy that has always struck me as more graspable than most, a comforting affirmation that what we experience and how we act upon the world, structures our perceptions and modalities of being yet it is still precisely action by which new layers of perceptive sediments are built:

“To be born is both to be born of the world and to be born in the world. The world is already constituted, but also never completely constituted; in the first place we are acted upon, in the second we are open to an infinite number of possibilities. But this analysis is still abstract, for we exist in both ways at once. There is, therefore, never determinism and never absolute choixe, I am never a thing and never bare consciousness…” (Merleau-Ponty 1962:453)

Lately I have been thinking of blogging as an peculiar set of experiences, wondering why I like writing blogs and reading them. The reasons are many but I like having a glimpse into the experiences of others in a way that would perhaps not emerge through other media or means. For me, I use my blog a little like an annotated photo album, well except minus most of the pictures :-) It is somewhat of an abbreviated tracking of my life but I write on about a peculiar set of things and reasons: that which impusively catch my fancy, things I can’t shut my mouth about (though no one else is probably interested), a place of ironic and at times cynical escape from the rationality of our lives and my work, and the desire to give a little more form to what is otherwise floating to the far corners of mybrain…

If nothing else, by reading blogs we get a glimpse of the ways in which people move through the web, which is a mutliplex of chaos with streams, reams, and beams of content. It historically tracks our movements and moreover, how we think of them which is what I usually find most interesting.

For those who are far away from me, I like to drop in to witness thier thoughts. I know it is no replacement for the ‘real thing’ or whatever, but given the extreme distances friends and families find themselves in, a blog can be a nice technology to attenuate the distance. I love reading comments from friends though I am terrible at responding for reasons that are not clear to me. It amazes me how much easier it is to reconnect with those far from me if I read their blog or if they hang out on irc. In fact even though my bloglines is filling up, I wish more of my friends of mine would blog but I find this technology still circumscribed among a certain group of technology minded folks.

And for those who have recently emerged out of the obscure fog of my past, finding me through my blog (ie ted), and said you would write me an email –> if you are still reading this –> please do!

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