Back in 2008, when I started writing my blog, the idea was to express my views on various topics. I have this tendency to involuntarily start contemplating on topics that catch my fancy and keep thinking through from various viewpoints till I get a satisfactory logical answer. Very often the topics tend to be ones on which I have limited influence. The blog was to have been an outlet to provide a more productive channel to these musings. However the reader reaction to my posts were not on expected lines and the lack of a readership made me develop doubts on whether putting my thoughts down on paper was indeed productive or not. Today it so happened this very lack of popularity of the type of posts itself became the object of my contemplation. Keeping aside subjective aspects such as quality of writing, I thought I will take a stab at exploring how the way I write my arguments is fundamentally different from the way it is written in more popular posts and how that could possibly be affecting the readership of my posts.
Let me start with two very broad classifications of posts as I see it – emotional and intellectual. The emotional ones are of course filled with rhetoric and tend to reinforce one or the other of the popular views on a topic, supported by personal anecdotes and feelings. They become immediate hits with the ones who hold a similar view point and repel the ones with an opposing point of view. But then you don’t have to win everybody over. Unless you hold a completely eccentric and unpopular view point, the people sharing your view point alone are a sufficient reader base.
Coming to the intellectuals, I see two types. The first are the ones who have developed an aura through their qualifications, academic scholarship, professional accomplishments or sometimes even through a mere air of superiority in their demeanor during social interactions. People tend to look up to such people and have greater tendency to accept their view points, at times even just on faith due to the supposed stature of the person in the mind of the reader. Now for the ones, not endowed with such aura, there is another option – to temporarily borrow the aura for the purpose of the post. This would be in the form of quoting the ones whose greatness has been universally accepted such as say an Einstein, a Leo Tolstoy or a Nelson Mandela. Once these names have been touted, the words acquire a divine quality that can’t be disputed and some of the aura gets passed on to the writer of the post as well. That way a similar awe of the view point is achieved in the reader’s mind.
Coming to me – I tend not to take either approach because my writings, as I have mentioned earlier, are usually an output of my contemplation, which do not proceed along either of these two pathways. My approach is to start with some assumptions that I consider universally accepted and then construct a chain of logical arguments towards a final conclusion. The ideal response I would expect is an appreciation of my craft in construction of the chain of logic or pointing out flaws either in the initial assumption or in the chain of arguments that help me refine my thinking process. But what I usually get is approval from people who agree with the final conclusion, in complete disregard of the chain of arguments, rhetoric from people who disagree with the conclusion and quoting of words of the greats related to the topic and suggestion to read them by the intellectual. The last is akin to saying how can a mere vermin like me arrogate to myself the right to come up with my own theory on a topic on which such and such great has already had the last word.
So I came to the conclusion that writing analysis type posts is of no avail and have almost stopped writing them. But then at times, one or two tend to slip past my resolve and surface on my blog like this current one.