Thursday, April 23, 2009

Should You Be Reading This?

A good post from Keith Staples. He begins with a long quote from a book called "The Intellectual Life" (click through to read), and then offers these observations:
This is the passage to which I advert to explain my feelings of deep ambivalence toward the blogosphere. Whatever its advantages, I find that it feeds, instantly and abundantly, my uncontrolled appetite for fragmentary opinions, and images, weakens my powers of attention, and disturbs the “interior silence” that allows me to hear the truth. The pleasure of a two-hour blog-binge comes mostly from the sense of carnival: an orgy of various ideas and impressions in my mind. And, truth to tell, I also nurture my vanity, feeling self-satisfied as I reflect on the diversity of discourses in which I, in my glorious intellectual richness, take a lively and supposedly intelligent interest. A vague sense of exaltation attends the transition from an urbanist forum to a passionate discussion of divine transcendence.

But what, in the end, have I achieved? Nothing. Nothing at all. I cannot pretend to the expansive catholicity of a great mind like Goethe or a superior mind like Fr. Neuhaus. Their catholicity rounded out and gave context to expertise. I do not even have the dignity of a being a failure because I haven’t been able to settle on an objective long enough to fail. This ephemeral intellectual existence of mine can be explained almost entirely by spastic reading habits that I hereby vow to change. Amen.


Blogger Jeffery Dean said...

I agree with Keith, and wish I had the time to read Sertillanges. His book has been recommended to me many times. Perhaps if I took every minute from blogs and Facebook posts and gave it to the wise Dominican, I could get somewhere, and be both humbled and edified rather than self-satisfied.

Without a doubt, my ability to focus is less now than in 2004, when Facebook first came online. And in 2005, I found blogs. Before I knew it, I was taking intravenous injections of Twitter and mainlining Blackberry. And this Lent, came rehab. The digital shakes. And then, release.

10:44 AM  

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