Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Really Slowing Down

As you may have noticed, this blog has been rather neglected. This has happened before, of course, but never so severely; this is only my second post this month, for example.

In truth, I don't know how much, if at all, this blog will be updated in the future. It's a transitional time for me in a lot of ways. Of course, really, the past 5 years of my life in general have been transitional, something like constant transition; welcome to ones early 20's in the early 21st Century!

My Faith is as strong as ever, though there are times when I feel so frustrated at my lack of spiritual progress and general stagnation, and worry about taking Faith for granted. It's the thought-space I live in now comfortably and without even being able to imagine any other system, like a house lived in for a long time or an old book read and re-read countless times. But sometimes, then, it can thus feel like there is nothing new left to find (though I know this isn't true!)

Part of me hopes that's just because I'm the sort of person who tends to focus on one thing at a time, and have for some time been putting my mental and emotional energy into very particular personal projects prioritized because I believe success on those fronts would provide a sort of architectonic foundation for further growth and happiness. 

Yet another part of me thinks that this is an excuse or chasing a rainbow, and that you can't "wait for life to start" like that, but rather have to just start living the way you want to live conditionless and independent, with no "if onlies." I don't know. I'm hoping, though, that this latest transition will be, broadly speaking, over the next year or so, a transition out of transition, out of the liminal space of wandering.

But either way, my interest in this sort of internet pontificating and theorizing is waning. I still am always philosophizing in my head, seeing and analyzing things in terms of the Catholic imaginary and the theological. And I still try to keep an eye on the Catholic news and blogosphere and several pet subcultures within them, just because I am intractably part of the community now. And I still get involved (though much less so than ever before) in conversations in forums or in blog comment boxes if I feel like there is an interesting point to address, or a grave flaw in the logic.

But at a certain point, I am just done discussing things. I have said my peace. I've wrestled with the questions, formulated my position, and written about it here; if you want to know what I think, check the archives. Over 800 posts, I've probably addressed it and taken a (hopefully nuanced) stand!

I just can't bother writing anymore regarding my thoughts about analogies involving NFP and raincoats, or trying to dispel the ignorance on Left and Right, or trying to get people to make subtle but crucial distinctions that they won't. I think, in large part, I have engaged in such discussions in the past (including through this blog) to crystallize my own thoughts on the matter. In a sense, to work out my own thoughts or ideas on the questions, to formulate clearly my own positions, refine them through debate, adjusting them to address holes pointed out by this process, and so to have a world of pre-prepared phrases and scripts of debate and exempla and analogies in my head to deploy if ever I need. 

In a certain sense, I guess, I was trying to convince myself. But now I am convinced. Now there are much fewer nagging questions for me to answer, or teachings that I don't have a large body of discourse, of point and counter-point, to reference in my mind. The system seems largely all stitched up for me and, either way, I have a group of friends whom I can discuss such things with now without having to start at square one with strangers every time to examine a point or test a new thought. For the foreseeable future, I think any further refinement of my thoughts will be done in this more private context.

To invoke psychological principles, I think I have largely finished up the work of forming an "identity," at least in the sphere of my theoretical ideological positions, and am confident and comfortable in that vision and those principles and values. And so I really am now just much less interested  in wrestling with questions I've answered before, and much less threatened by (and thus much less inclined to engage) blatant errors I see repeated again and again by ignorant people, because I've seen all the regular objections, know all the points of contention, and have answered them all before too. 

New debates will always come up I'm sure, and I'll have to figure out my position on this or that question as they emerge, but that will be rather infrequent, and the great body of the work of my own particular paradigm is mostly complete.

Or maybe something will cause a new flurry of inspiration and I'll suddenly start writing here a lot more one day! Maybe I'll get new information or exposed to new ideas which I will then need to integrate. But part of me doubts now there is that much new under the sun. Rather, I think, it's time to start trying to live my values in practice. My faith has been very self-conscious up until now, because I was still establishing a self in the first place! Was still determining just what I did, in fact, believe, and why, and getting comfortable and confident in that idea-space of where I stand. But in the realm of religion, at least, I have that self now and know where I stand. So now it's time for the much harder work of dying to self.

God bless.


Bridget said...

So long, old cock. Maybe we'll see you at St. Vincent's.

Aric said...


Thanks for all that you've given to us in the way of thought and writing. I know I've been so appreciative of everything written on this blog, and I check it daily (though I'm not always active in the comments, obviously.)

I kind of smiled when I read the part of you having your identity "all stitched up" because, though I know exactly what you mean, I also know how easily our stitches break and our structures crumble. Whether it be slowly, like erosion over time, or quickly, like a tsunami against a house - our paradigms will change. Building our structures on the foundation of Christ may enable them to weather the storm, but it's a guarantee that roofs will be changed, windows taken out, doors painted etc.

I keep thinking, as I've thought since I started reading your blog, that you should "go public" - it seems to me that next "step" your talking about would involve something like writing a book, or immersing yourself in a community where your arguments might be able to be disseminated to a larger audience... You have such a talent for organizing and approaching arguments in a nuanced fashion. I hope you continue to work in some venue where that talent can be recognized and also used and enjoyed by those who might benefit from it.

Anyhow, this life is short for all of us. As we grow older our memory begins to fade, our knack for nuance begins to diminish, and our bones grow weak. The love that we give and engender in others is most important of all, and I pray you're able to love and be loved no matter what vocation you gravitate towards. I wish you all of the best! You have my love, prayers, and support. You'll even have my comments if you keep blogging! (And I hope you do!)

God bless you.

jordan said...

You're going to take up and leave the Vox Nova ideological sandbox? A heretic's playground for some perhaps. Still, VN's the best way to keep the Catholic theocons' blood pressure on the boil.

My ideological allegiances change direction daily. I wouldn't be so sure that yours won't change either. Indeed, isn't intellectual health typified by constant shifting emotional and intellectual struggles between irreconcilable positions?

Agellius said...

I get what you're saying. It's a sign of your humility that you discuss how your blogging and commenting no longer benefits yourself, without considering that it might be benefitting others. I think there's an ongoing need for your insights and explanatory powers on Vox Nova, if not other online forums as well.

Anonymous said...

A Sinner,

I have found your blog and your comments at Vox Nova extremely interesting, especially those on morality.

I realize I'm just some guy on the internet, but I'll say a prayer or two for you in gratitude.