On Being an Egomaniac

I can’t avoid the feeling that writing on this blog is an incredibly egoistic activity. I want to tell you about myself. About my opinions. About a story I dreamt up. All of it’s about me.

Now I can, and maybe should, concede that this is the nature of writing. That you can fundamentally only write something original based on your own thoughts, knowledge, opinions, and refections. I suppose there is a very real possibility that writing is itself egoistic. And unless one writes very corporate prose to mask that fact, it will always appear that way to the reader.

Even if one endeavors to write in a way that isn’t directly about about themselves, there’s no denying that any attempt at defining the external requires is defining the internal as well. All criticism, for example, is inherently based on the critic’s experiences, preferences, and understandings of culture. Academic writing, as well, is imbued with the prejudices of its authors. Few modern scholars would dare to write a defense of slavery as a social good because none of them believes such an argument to be true (with the possible exception of James Watson, but that’s another matter entirely).

Despite my intellectual understanding of this, I can’t help but bristle a little every time my fingers reach for the shift+i combination. It feels so self-important to do that repeatedly. To contend, whether intentionally or not, that I am important enough to have some say in the cultural discourses about which I comment.

I am absolutely convinced that I am not the smartest person in the world. Nor am I the most interesting or consistent in my opinions. But sometimes, as I write, I feel as if I am making that exact argument.

And it’s not that I think I’m completely uninteresting, but I don’t think I have the diverse opinions or rhetorical skills necessary to consistently be both interesting and or entertaining.

I’m not sure what all this rambling means. Perhaps it’s merely me coming to terms with the reality of the situation. Perhaps it’s me wishing to apologize for, well, writing. Perhaps it’s me giving voice to my self-doubt. Perhaps it’s me wishing that I was more people saying more things.

Maybe the point is simply this: Thanks for reading. In the past, present, and future.


4 responses to “On Being an Egomaniac”

  1. Seriously, I DO find your writing to be most thought provoking and thoughtful. I think any writer has those exact feelings that you described.
    Being able to blog my thoughts and experiences has served to satisfy my ego. That anyone else reads them is a nice extra. And comments are the icing.

  2. You are most definitely correct, but what is the difference between writing your opinions and speaking with friends and family about them? Aren’t we all being just as egomaniacal when we have general discourse around the dinner table (happy thanksgiving man, ours was a month ago but we also watch football and eat too much food).

    As well, the democratic nature of the internet means that if people are reading what you are posting, than they are supporting unequivocally your right to write it.

  3. Evan, I feel that there is a difference but I’m not sure I can articulate why that is. If someone’s talking to you, they almost inherently want your opinion. If you’re talking to the void (like most writing does), you’re hoping that people care about your opinions, and to varying degrees insisting that they pay attention. You’re right that they’re more similar than I was giving it credit for, but I’m still not sure they’re the same.