/Anselm's Private Journal

A very public space for personal thoughts

1 Creating repository for writing

We recently completed a personality test at work. I think of personality tests the same way I think of astrology, i.e. I don't rate them highly. But, maybe because we had someone walk us through our results, this one made me reflect on myself in a way I hadn't after previous ones.

I know I'm an analytical person. This one said it was one of my main strenghts. I don't usually think of my obsessive thinking as a strenght. I often feel like it makes me slow, and I guess… stupid. Why do I take so long to actually do tasks, why do I talk so slow? I think I'm self-conscious of my thinking-too-much.

This personality test framed this as a strength. And the woman who took us through our results kept emphasising that we should focus on our strengths as a way of being. That if we focus on our strengths and bring them into focus when we move through life, that we will be happier. As long as we're aware of the limits of our strengths, then her argument was that we'll be happier, more confident and better positioned to cope with life and work than if we focus on trying to make the areas of our self that we're not as strong in better.

Maybe I have heard this a hundred times before, expressed in a hundred different ways, but for some reason this time it has really resonated with me and I have been thinking about it and what it means for my life a lot since.

One of the ideas the test suggested, as a way to build on a strength of an analytical personality, was to start journaling.

I don't think I have ever kept a journal. So obviously the first step in any plans to journal is to setup a public-facing blog on the internet and use it as a journal, right? Of course not, but this is also something I have been thinking about a bit over the past few months. That I would like to have a space on the internet to document my learning, thoughts and have a space I can refer back to - and potentially refer others to?

That's why I'm starting this web-journal, weblog then, as a space to:

  • collect my own thoughts, and
  • write as a way to find my own thoughts.

2 Topics I like to imagine may be covered in this place (but probably won't)

Saint Anselm of Canterbury was an italian monk and scholar who came at his faith from a place of reason and logic. I am not a Roman Catholic. I am not even Christian. But for some reason I really like the concept of faith built up from reasoning.

I admit I don't even know a whole lot about this monk, his life or his writings, I only discovered him after an internet search of one of my favourite painters, the german Anselm Kiefer. But I like to imagine I could explore his concept in this journal, because why not.

I also like to imagine that I could build up articles over time. And return to articles if I develop and acquire new knowledge and new understanding.

In summary, some of the topics I am interested in:

  • Ontology,
  • Openbsd,
  • Emacs,
  • Programming,
  • Art,
  • Economics,
  • Tibetan Buddhism

I am far from an expert in any of these things. I don't program for a day job and I studied art for a brief period decades ago. But these are topics that interest me and so I like to imagine they could form the basis for writings as I learn more about them.

I can also imagine this journal being the place for notes on computer setup, and some other things maybe? Maybe I make it a repository of dotfiles and such?

3 Why in public though?

This is an important question. Why not just journal in a book? Why bother typing it out? Why even go further and mess around with setting up a manually updated blog, why not just use a free, blog hosting service?

May I can answer some of the questions…

I do:

  • like dabbling in programming and Emacs,
  • want to learn more about Org mode,
  • would like to learn more about OpenBSD (that's why I'm here on Tilde institue),
  • research everything online anyway, so I'm here,
  • admire early internet culture

That doesn't really get closer to why making it public is a thing. Maybe this will become clearer as I go along.

4 What I don't want to write about

It is probably important to state what are non-goals, what I am not trying to achieve with this project.

I don't:

  • want to build up a following of my writing,
  • care about comments
  • really mind if no one reads it (this is primarily a place for my thinking)