July 27, 2013

The Importance of Diverse Feeds

"Study, at a Reading Desk" Leighton Lord Frederick"

I, like most people probably reading this blog, read a lot of blogs. Until about a week ago, my feed list was a pretty even split between webcomics and alternative fashion blogs. After all, webcomics are amazing and, writing a blog that deals at least tangentially with alternative lifestyle, I like the inspiration from everyone else.

However, I've realized- more with the alternative than the webcomics- we share many of the same first principles. Or else, nothing I read, I strongly disagree with. Granted, since most of the posts I see are either DIY projects or outfit posts, it's hard to have a strong, visceral reaction. After all, you have your aesthetic. I have mine. Even though I might not have created the same project, chosen those materials, or wear the same outfits, the law of tolerance rules the day.

Even the alternative essays on fashion, lifestyle, etc, if I disagree at all, it is about subtle points that engage my intellectual curiosity, not the emotional one. In summary, for a blog list dedicated to alternative and counter cultural fashion, it is a pretty homogenous group.

"Portrait of a Reading Girl" Thomas Sully

Then in this past week, I've started looking into blogs dealing with homemaking and femininity.  Let me tell you, my dear readers, there is a world outside of my modern, liberal, egalitarian WASP-y world and I am so excited to find it.  It is the world or Christian home-making, child-rearing, and wife-being and it is a very different fare than I have enjoyed thus far. 

Now, I'm still debating if this deserves a post of it's own, but I am all but an atheist. While I respect the church and religions - to a point- the Bible, to me, is about on the level of "Philosophical Investigations" or "Thus Spake Zarathustra" i.e a very interesting, confusing, contradictory work of philosophy. In that sense, I am glad there is a fraction of people who are devoting them selves to daily explorations of philosophy in the form of bible study. On the other hand, I cringe every time someone calls it the absolute truth.

But a lot of these blogs are dealing with questions that I find interesting. Everything from the practical, "How does one run a household," to the philosophical, "What does it mean to be a woman." However, these people come from WILDLY different first principles.  Some of their conclusions resonate quite deeply. On the other hand, reading through some of the descriptions of femininity leave me with such a shock of revulsion I am nearly breathless.  Which is great.

The things that disgust or horrify us define us as much as the things that enrapture us. It is, in fact, much easier to define ourselves by what we aren't than what we are.  While this can lead to some very nasty habits of xenophobia and racism, it also does help put your preferences into clearer focus. Just remember the essential premise that because you like something doesn't make it absolute.

So I encourage everyone to diversify their blog feeds. Not just with blogs about similar subjects but different view points, but if you like gothic fashion, have a blog or two devoted to perfume, to cooking, to foreign affair analysis. Look for blogs that actively challenge your views. Just because you write in a niche doesn't mean that you have to read exclusively in that niche.

The corollary to this is that just because a blog differs in content or viewpoint from your interests, you don't automatically have to include it. Obviously, you have to enjoy the content or at least find it well written and compelling. There are plenty of Christian Housekeeping blogs that I have skipped past because every other post was in praise to the Lord. I don't mind a dose of theology if it comes with a large helping of decent information or thoughtful reflection on life. Nor do I find a preteen's (baby bat?) blog referencing various bands, actors or artists I don't recognize to be my cup of tea.

What diversity of blogs do you follow?


  1. My bloglist isn't very diverse. There is alternative fashion, indie perfume, other perfume blogs, a few beauty blogs, a couple of beer blogs, a couple of book blogs, a few LGBT-spectrum blogs and that's about it... Mostly blogs and bloggers that are well in line with my own viepoints.

    I guess i could diversify my list but I don't really know with what... I have really no interest in any philosophical questions and my interest in politics is limited to local politics but I really find the Finnish/Swedish political blogs to be very boring... I just get depressed reading blogs that have non-feminist non-LGBT views and theology subjects either bore me or scare me. ;) But a few nice food blogs is on my agenda to find, and maybe some more interior design and such... No, I'm not being very adventurous... ;D

    1. It actually sounds like your bloglist is very diverse subject wise. Far more so than mine. I wish I could offer you some advice on interior design, but as I'm coming to find, not much interior work really resonates me and I prefer blogs that are more analysis than pictures. Let me know if you find any!

      Now, this is a question that has been confusing me for a while, how do philosophical questions not interest you? I can understand why politics might not inspire you to great rage or interest, but why not philosophy?

    2. About philosophy... I have come to realize that I am mostly a doer, not a thinker. If it has no blatant practical application I see no reason to think about it. ;)

    3. Oh but Nadja, without Philosophy, how do you know what to do? Thought comes before action- you yourself have said how you use logic to dismiss whims. But how do you know if the thoughts you are thinking- the thoughts that motivate action- are good?

    4. When deciding what to do I go mostly by feeling not thought... If I want to do something and my logic can see no reason not to I do it... I don't spend time pondering the philosophical or moral aspects... I don't care much if my action is "good", if it is what I want and it doesn't harm anyone else then I do it! Truth, good, evil, morals, you name it, these are all just thought creations. They are not real, we have created them to make sense of the world but we can never stop arguing about them and we all have different opinions about them. So what really is the use of them. I'd much rather look at the world without these thought-filters and just take it as it is. That is why i have no interest in philosophy anymore.

    5. But you had an interest in philosophy at one point?

    6. Yeah, In my "growing phase", my teens and early twenties.

    7. What philosophies did you read?

    8. I took Philosophy in high school so I guess all the classics... I don't remember much of it anymore.

    9. Alright. First of all, props to the Finnish school system for teaching philosophy in high school. I can't speak to how the philosophy was taught, but I can speak to the age at which it was taught. High Schoolers, with some exceptions, are not ready for a real consideration of philosophy. Lords know I wasn't even close. I'm not sure I was ready to study philosophy the first few years I did in undergrad.

      But if we say that truth, good, evil, etc are just thought creations- how can we say things like love, friendship, happiness, trees aren't just thought creations. More importantly, if we don't have these thought creations, how do we communicate with other people?

    10. I don't know if I was ready for philosophy in high school but I do believe that I was quite a mature 17/18 year old... I also read some philosophy during my years at university but by then I had already started to lose my interest.

      I din't know if love/friendship/happiness are thought constructs or not. But I personally have not seen any reason to question them like I question the truth/good/evil spectrum... I have to accept the need for thought creations though. They are a vital part of society after all. I just don't feel the need to ponder them very much as consensus can never be reached about meny of them. I see the discussion of things like truth/good/evil as ultimately fruitless and a waste of my time.

    11. Oh, it's not a question of maturity- I have no doubt from your comments that you were very mature and intelligence in highschool.It is more a question of the breadth of your life experience. Now, you may very well be one of those exceptions I mentioned earlier, but at 17 I hadn't come close to experiencing the range of human emotion or experience that I have even begun to taste now.

      I think you do have a philosophy though, Nadja. You've embraced the principle of the age we live in- which is a very valid method. As long as you acknowledge that you do have a philosophy rather than just dismissing it.

      Now, the discussion of truth/good/evil as fruitless and a waste of time- do you find it such a waste of time because consensus can not be reached? Or because it bores you? And if it bores you, why?

    12. I had probably experienced more than most teens back then, but when it comes to human emotion I don't think I will ever experience the whole range. Romantic love for example is one emotion I will never understand.

      Oh I'm sure I have some sort of philosophy, I just prefer not to spend my life thinking about it...

      My main objection is that a conclusion can never be reached, there will never be an absolute truth/good/evil (unless you are a fundamentalist)... So what is the use of discussiong it? All that will ever be is a number of different viewpoints and I don't find other peoples viewpoints very interesting/relevant/useful... The discussion of truth/good/evil etc. is a bit like the discussion of the mening of life. I know so many people who spend their life searching for the meaning of it instead of living it. Absolitely fruitless and useless...

      In the end it all comes back to the fact that I don't want to spend time thinking about something that I can't find any practical use for and that i don't think is very interesting/fun. I don't do anything just because, everything I do either has a practical and immediate goal in mind or is interesting/fun.