The art of writing letters consists in not letting what one says become a treatise on the subject but in making it acceptable to the correspondent. But on the other hand it also consists in preserving and fulfilling the standard of finality that everything stated in writing has. The time lapse between sending a letter and receiving an answer is not just an external factor, but gives this form of communication its special nature as a particular form of writing. So we note that speeding up the post has not improved this form of communication but, on the contrary, has led to a decline in the art of letter writing.
– Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method (Continuum, London, 2004) p. 362
This passage from Gadamer’s major work, Truth and Method (first published in 1960), has always made me question the depth and permanency of email and online forums as a mode of communication. Often debates on internet forums occur at such a pace that poorly thought out or regretful comments are made. The luxury of rumination is no longer available and the quick quip or rehashed, hackneyed arguments rule the roost. I am not saying that there isn’t a place for these modes of communication, but like Gadamer, I wonder whether the speed of communication has resulted in a decline in the art of letter writing (in broad sense).
It is this that has brought me to the world of blogs, or blogdom as one blogger referred to this magical land.
From what I have gathered blogs are informal and a certain flux about them that avoid the pitfalls of ‘letting what one says become a treatise on the subject.’ This is not fixed or beyond critique. Blogs also allow for more time for the writer and reader to ponder on the words, rather than people rushing in to post their witty remark before someone beats them to it. Basically, Blogs appear to offer the flux and pace for a return to the art of letter writing to which Gadamer refers.
Whether this blog can achieve this remains to be seen.
There will be more On Blogs to follow in the future….