I don’t know how, but over the summer an idea came over me, like a thief in the night: I need a blog. Have to, ought to do it. One year ago, such a thought would have been quickly set aside, with no action to follow. That was because I considered that I was better at reflecting on events post-factum, than keeping an eye on current developments, the news of the day. It seemed unfathomable to me to have to write more or less regularly short pieces lost someplace in the aether. Today, I’m changed.

Regardless of my determination, I was not about to embark on this mission without proper “training,” my husband thought, as he brought home an academic book on blogging that I had to read carefully before jogging by blogging. Browsing it, I got discouraged. It was distressing to hear that “the print-media split between heart and head is the trauma that affects Europe from Machiavelli to the present,” as McLuhan predicted in 1962. Or that Socrates was particularly critical of writing, as Plato tells us in Phaedrus, because of its potential “to destroy memory” (idea which ties into my line of research on transitional justice). People won’t memorize fact when they have them readily available in the print format, and a written text is unresponsive, “presenting a solemn silence” when you ask a question. Much better was face-to-face dialogue.

So I’m starting this endeavour with apprehension, but with the knowledge that I will get better at it every day. And some of the worries voiced by Socrates and McLuhan don’t seem that much applicable to blogging. Entries can be changed in response to questions, and blogs don’t seem to preserve that solemn a silence.

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