What is there to say? I'm not very interesting. I'm not a good writer. I don't even dress well. If you insist on knowing something about me just wander through the archives. It's all there.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

On when I visit someone

When I visit someone's blog, I do so using the same set of standards that I would use if I were visiting someone's home. I am the guest. They, as the host or hostess, are offering me the hospitality of their home. They are sharing a part of their life with me. For this gift, I owe them a measure of courtesy. Other than the obvious courtesies of not urinating on their sofa or stealing their television, I also avoid making them feel uncomfortable about their decision to invite me. When I leave, I want to be invited back.

This may mean that sometimes there are moments when I say nothing, because what I might say could be easily misinterpreted as being harsh or hurtful. Rather than taking that risk, I say nothing. This is not dishonesty. This is not cowardice. This is simple courtesy. This is my duty as a guest in this "home". I do not need to see my own words in a comment in order to feel that I have some importance: that I am right and they are wrong. An ungracious comment will not add to my stature as a writer or a person.

I like reading Zen stories and parables. From Zen Lessons (translated by Thomas Cleary), one of my favorites is about the "Vermillion Outhouse". It talks about someone who has not yet reached [understanding], but is always willing to show off his learning by "using eloquence and sharpness of tongue to gain victories. [That person] is like an outhouse painted vermilion-it only increases the odor."

On a very selfish level, I know that ultimately I hold the absolute power when visiting someone's blog on the Web. I never have to return to that blog if something offends me or makes me uncomfortable. With that security, I can afford to be gracious. I never have to be hurtful. I can have better things to do with my time.


Blogger Greg said...

Well, I hope you come back to mine. And feel free to state your opinion. Anyone who likes Jesse Jackson on SNL is all right.

9/12/05 9:41 AM  

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