Wednesday 16 May 2018

"What should I do next?" Maybe keep a personal and private journal?

If someone has become a Christian and they are not going to join an existing church suitable to their convictions and aspirations - what should they actually do?

It's a problem, because it is possible thy will not personally know a single person in the same situation, with the same perspective - and if they do know someone they are probably living miles away, probably in another country - known only via the internet or other mass media...

The essence of our current situation includes that all public discourse, all cooperative behaviours, are corrupted - often to the point of inversion.

Well, thoughts and thinkings are the most important reality; but for most of us this is not enough; we are good enough at thinking for it is suffice...

So that is where a personal (private) journal comes in. It starts as reflections and notions planked down, but may develop into a conversation with oneself - itself a way of thinking; a kind of feedback process by which the written expression of an idea becomes a partner in conversation with yourself as you have become in the (brief) time since you had that idea - because to make an idea explicit is to change the mind.

The writing of a journal, the process rather than the product, can be literally a form of meditation - it is for me. 

Journaling doesn't suit everybody, it doesn't help everybody; indeed it may make some people worse - increasing self-absorption and hardening wrongness.

But it may help you.


Kirk Forlatt said...

The second paragraph, "It's a problem...." is a succinct and brilliant description of a phenomenon that is becoming more and more common among those of us who pursue the interior life.

Journaling is indeed a good and necessary pursuit for some of us. For myself, I've found that keeping a journal with the absolute determination that no one will ever read a word of it during my lifetime helps my "conversation with myself" remain honest, avoid banal time-frittering, and increases the frequency and duration of the lovely daydreaming episodes that bring me true insight about myself, my spiritual pursuits, and my shortcomings.

A treasure, Bruce. Thank you so much for posting this.

Avro G said...

I've kept a journal for many years. Most days there is something I feel I need to record. Some of it is insightful, some of it is trash. To me it is essential to understanding myself and the world over time. You seem to journal via your blog which I find helpful and encouraging.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Kirk - Glad to meet such a response fro a fellow journaler!

Bruce Charlton said...

@Avro - There is an element of journal about this blog - but very filtered by the need to write reasonably well, to structure... The journal has none of this - the writing may be nearly illegible, perhaps just words and notes.

The value of this blog to me is to crystallise some apparent-insights, to shape them creatively (or, quite often, discover that they cannot be reatively-shaped), and then take a look at them in the cold light of public discourse.