Unlike last week, this post is not about developing a model for decision making (more on that later), but rather my thoughts on the future of this blog. No giant changes in store, I’ve just been thinking about what to write about next, and part way through my thinking I decided it would be best to make this process itself into a post.
In part, that’s because, at a meta-level, the purpose of this blog is as a tool for my own use. This blog serves as a development platform for my own thinking—it forces me to keep thinking in order to meet my self-imposed weekly publishing schedule; it forces me to put my thinking in at least semi-coherent form; it allows me to get feedback from a very interesting, diverse, and intelligent group of people all over the world; and it gives me a platform to engage in dialogue with these and other groups of people in many different contexts (through The Oil Drum, at conferences, by discussions in blogs that I find through links to this site, etc.). All the while, I get at least the occasional feeling that I’m reciprocating by helping others with the same process of intellectual development with which they help me. That’s pretty amazing when you think about it—this is a process that was historically available to only a very select and lucky few who lived in the right place, at the right time, with the right friends: a few elites among medieval religious orders (which reminds me of the prayer "God, give me chastity and give me constancy, but please Lord don't give it to me quite yet), the “moveable feast” of Fin-de-Ciecle Paris, the RAW/Timothy Leary/Hakim Bey network (beginning to show signs of a dispersed and mobile network, but certainly not “open”), Aldous Huxley’s Los Angeles circle, etc. Today it’s available to anyone with access to the internet.
Which leads me to my thoughts on where this blog is going. This starts with what I want from this blog: discussion and exposition of ideas on topics that interest me 1) where I have something original to add and 2) that is important to many individuals if not humanity in general. I don’t want to be a news aggregator—many others are already doing that, and probably much better than I would. Commentary on news items, something I do engage in on occasion, is something I hope to do less of, though there’s a fine line between the analysis of a phenomenon as reflected in several news stories and simple news commentary. What I want to do is write stand-alone essays providing critical analysis from a systems-thinking perspective and provide novel system-oriented proposals for the future. This, of course, can be a bit difficult on a weekly basis, so I will probably increase the practice I’ve used frequently in the past of publishing a series over several weeks to cover a given idea. In the next post is a brief recap of some of the core analyses and proposals I’ve made so far, my thoughts on where these previous ideas need to go next, and in an interim conclusion, a post with a list of ideas I hope to explore in the future. I’m not writing this just to see my thoughts turned into words—there are two goals here: 1) in keeping with the intent of this blog to be a meta-tool for my own thinking, these post force me to compose my thoughts on this topic in a more coherent manner; and 2) to solicit feedback (either via email or in the comments, as usual) on these ideas.
However, before I delve into the details, there’s one more purpose of compiling these lists: to evaluate whether they have done anything, either for my self or for a broader community. I’ll comment more on this later, but have the ideas I’ve previously written about gained any traction? Have they moved me or others to take action that would not have been taken without these posts? Have they spurred anyone else to thoughts that have had an impact? And, of course, my future writing plans must be influenced by these answers. My goal, to the extent that this blog is a tool for my own thinking, is to impact my own life. I’m increasingly of the opinion that “we” as a society will not take the steps necessary to “solve” our problems, so is there any broader value to my writing, or am I just entertaining myself while shaping my own plans? Is there value in shaping the plans of others even though they will never constitute the mainstream or the power elite? Should I, in fact, with it no other way (as I tend to think)? What, specifically, is the broader value of this blog (which, it seems, must be one of my future topics…)?
Your thoughts are not just permitted (the comments are always open), but encouraged. If you have read this blog for one day or for years, I'd love to hear what you think of it, if it has been of value, if I'm drifting off course, and what that course should be. Or even if you just have topic suggestions. As always, I take comments and emails at email@example.com and do my best to respond directly to all (though last week's 34 was a bit overwhelming, especially since I'm preparing for trial this week)...