Daylogs are valuable
. They are the voices of personal history
, spread out all over the world
, coming together in one accessible format.
Most of the time I am stunned with the grace and beauty of ordinary lives. I am given glimpses into other cultures, hints of what it might be like if I lived someplace where the geography, languages and society are different. For the first time, mostly thanks to the daylogs of everything, I am totally aware of myself as a global citizen. I can see how sheltered I have been from other cultures, how narrow minded I can be. How many assumptions I have made and proven wrong. How much I have grown just by including the lives and personal details of other people who are also stuck to this big spinning ball that floats in space. How much I have learned by seeing the world through other perspectives.
It is one thing to hear news of your own region/nation/neighborhood. It is another to peek into the lives of others and find that their "otherness" is not as strange as perhaps imagined. Their sameness is the comforting, tenacious thread of the human spirit.
Some people struggle for meaning in daylogs, examining deeply rooted belief systems. Others speak of love, bursting at the seams with wonder and delight at the awestruck feelings of inspiration and wholeness. Some talk of illness or death in ways that bring the scary inevitable down to examination level. Some talk of relationships, work, expectations and desires unfulfilled or sated, but all available to anyone who should happen upon them. Quite often a deeply moving vulnerability and honesty makes its way into the mix and raises the bar for the rest of us.
Sometimes daylogs are poorly written. Often they are boring and filled with the kind of quantifiable data that makes me yawn and skip over to the next. Sometimes they are full of self-pity. Occasionally I will find something that really makes me cringe – just because the writer seems so lost and sad, almost pathetic, I almost forget to stop and think that maybe getting it out in the open is the real therapy. Perhaps someone reading it can help them in some way, maybe they will find companionship. And why am I cringing at someone else’s way with words? What makes me qualified to judge the life, habits and skill of someone else? Shouldn’t I be working on my own stuff? Writing uses muscles that need to be built up somehow. Not everyone is Margaret Atwood or John Updike right off the bat. Lack of skill does not ban the daylogger from expression.
I have been keeping journals since third grade. I occasionally re-read them all to get the flavor of a life I can no longer recall with absolute clarity. I laugh at my own silliness, my often self-absorbed outlook. I cringe at the really stupid things I wrote down, taking note of circumstances that look completely different to me as an adult. I remember happy things I had lost track of and sad things I had blocked out. I marvel at how much personal history changes depending on my age and perspective. I feel pride in how far I have come despite the fact that sometimes I am seized with an almost overwhelming desire to burn some of my journals, to deny that I was ever young and clueless. Some part of me wants to pretend I have always had my current belief system, that I arrived at it without ever looking like a dumb ass along the way. Thinking that other people also do this makes me hopeful. Knowing that other people have similar experiences gives me confidence in progress.
Even the crappiest daylogs are beneficial in that they are telling of the author. Some people are trolls, some are self-centered. Some people contradict themselves regularly, some think they are the only ones with anything important to say. Some people just want attention and do not seem to realize the importance of the reputation tied to their public spew. When one finds oneself in a dialog with another noder it is very cool to be able to go back and see the impact of their collected works, including the daylogs. You may find a kindred spirit in a far off land, a future lover, best friend or important contact. Or, perhaps you receive a snotty message from another noder only to realize, upon further investigation, they are not so intimidating or even knowledgeable as they come off in your inbox, or that they are consistently trollish. Some people make lots of mean-spirited, pessimistic words and then contribute to the daylogs and reveal to us all that their lives are constructed of those very same fibers, that they have handcrafted their own mean-spirited pessimistic FUCK THE WORLD how come nobody loves me kind of life. Some people like to feel very sorry for themselves day after day, never noticing the patterns of their lives or their role as director. Perhaps some day the questions raised in our daylogs will be answered, and isn’t personal reflection worth the effort? For these people the daylogs are especially valuable, though perhaps not linkable or relevant to everyone. The author may look back on them some day and decide to get unstuck from old patterns and bust out into a more positive outlook. That could benefit other people.
Without the daylogs we would have more redundant, subjective and poorly written nodes to sift through. We would know less about the everyday history of the people with whom we share this database. We might remain stuck in our own idea of what other people are really like. We might not address our personal issues. We might not make our most lasting imprint.
I do not believe that most people use the daylogs solely as a place to dump votes, though the daylogs certainly have a pull. That pull is mainly tied to the value placed on the medium. It is a comfort to read the thoughts of others, particularly when I do not agree with them. How often I have thought in real life, “Man, what was that person THINKING.” And, at least in E2land, I can go and find out.
I applaud the dayloggers. Thank you for changing my mind, making me laugh, making me cringe, and offering connections via strange pathways I may never have noticed before. Thank you for making the world more intimate, for being vulnerable, for laying your personal truths out for all to see. Thank you for making your very own mark on history, however faint. Thank you for causing my heart to beat faster, my eyes to tear. Thank you for making me angry, making me sad, making me shake my head in disbelief. Thank you for the brotherhood and companionship. Thank you for being YOU.