The False Immortality of the Internet

February 16, 2005 | 30 comments
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Kim Siever mooted the idea of giving up his blog (via the bloggernacle’s house organ). He felt mired in mediocrity, he said. No one listens to him, no one responds, and what’s the use?

I think there’s something important to be said in response, but before I do let me clear out some underbrush: Kim Siever is not mediocre. Not being mediocre is no guarantee of blogging success. Everyone–some of the most surprising people–feel mediocre at times. On the other hand, it also must be said that most of us are mediocre in most things and all of us are mediocre in some things. God wills it. Perhaps he has no choice.

Fine.

Now to the important thing. Kim Siever’s crie-de-couer received a surprising response: an outpouring of pleading, including my own. We all seemed to instinctively feel that leaving the bloggernacle was a tragedy. Now that I’ve had time to think, my response is different: good for you, Kim Siever. The bloggernacle is a trifle. Nearly everything in this world is, and the bloggernacle too.

We are always tempted to attach too much importance to these trifles. That temptation is particularly acute with the bloggernacle and the internet. It holds out the promise of a sort of fame, since everyone, world wide, can read what one has written. Worse, it holds out a false promise of immortality. Every quotidian conversation is preserved in our archives indefinitely. Searchers still find it and respond to it. We can review it at any time. It’s there, seemingly forever. The insufferable vanity we were born with can’t help but feel justified.

It shouldn’t. No accomplishment can justify us or stand the test of time.
No post, novel, poem or play.
No business, no building, no medal, no cure.
No preaching. No child.
No fame. No invention.
Nothing on the internet.
Not the internet itself.

Ourselves, our souls, alone will last. The Kim Siever that is now a-making is a Kim Siever against whose glory worlds would shatter. He is a Kim Siever fair as the sun, clear as the moon, as terrible as an army with banners, a Kim Siever of whom, if he alone of all of us met his potential, it could be said that in him was creation and Christ’s work justified.

Yes, we all seem to be mundane creatures. But read C.S. Lewis on the Weight of Glory. “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations–these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat.”

Read the revelations.

“For since the beginning of the world have not men heard nor percieved by the ear, neither hath any eye seen, O God, besides thee, how great things thou hast prepared for him that waiteth for thee.”

“Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation.”

“And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.”

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30 Responses to The False Immortality of the Internet

  1. Steve Evans on February 16, 2005 at 6:10 pm

    As my column makes clear, Kim ALMOST quit. Our Thoughts is still active and a very good read.

  2. A. Greenwood on February 16, 2005 at 6:13 pm

    What made him change his mind, Steve Evans?

    Incidentally, I modified my post slightly because of your info.

  3. Steve Evans on February 16, 2005 at 6:15 pm

    We’re not quite sure. I think he was just going through a bad time, and is now beginning to emerge from the tunnel. It happens to the best of us, as you say.

  4. Kaimi on February 16, 2005 at 6:17 pm

    No o o o o o ! I refuse to listen! The internet isn’t transitory, it’s here forever!

    In fact, I made a comment to that effect a few months back, over on Wump Blog. (See http://wump.info/wumpblog/index.php?p=208 ).

  5. Steve Evans on February 16, 2005 at 6:23 pm

    Kaimi, that was the funniest thing I’ve heard from you yet.

  6. Jordan Fowles on February 16, 2005 at 6:32 pm

    That was pretty funny.

  7. William Morris on February 16, 2005 at 7:04 pm

    Who cares about internet immortality?

    The rush that comes right after hitting the ‘post’ button is all I need to keep me happy.

    But seriously: at least with blogging I’m making instead of just consuming. That’s a step up for me.

  8. David King Landrith on February 16, 2005 at 7:07 pm

    Regarding the worth of man, what about Moses’ moment of clarity:

    And it came to pass, that it was for the space of many hours before Moses did again receive his natural strength like unto man; and he said unto himself, Now, for this cause, I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed; but now mine eyes have beheld God; but not mine natural but my spiritual eyes, for mine natural eyes could not have beheld, for I should have withered and died in his presence; but his glory was upon me, and I beheld his face, for I was transfigured before him.

  9. Rusty on February 16, 2005 at 7:09 pm

    I’m not sure Kim will even read this. On my post about how T&S sucks lately (ahem… excuse me), he said he hasn’t visited T&S for a while and it sounds like he doesn’t plan on it.

  10. Larry on February 16, 2005 at 7:15 pm

    Kim is bright. Just be careful when you go there to read his blogs that you don’t get distracted by one who truly is insignificant.
    Kim really likes to challenge and I enjoy that about him. I think the fact that no one was talking up his topics disappointed him. It’s like going to a basketball game and the opposition not showing up.
    Hopefully, his contribution to the bloggernacle will find a niche that will enhance the experience for those who visit because he is unique ( he will encourage you to ride your bike – not me -you) among other more mundane but fascinating topics.
    Thanks to those who encouraged him to come back! (Besides he is from Lethbridge, AB and that is not too far south of Zion).

  11. danithew on February 16, 2005 at 7:33 pm

    LOL Kaimi. That was a good one.

    One of the medium or later stages of blognitive development is a feeling of disillusionment. People may seem to ignore your comments. Hardly anyone from the really important blogs leaves the mainland for the archipelago. Maybe a blogger feels he/she has said one too many stupid things in the ‘Nacle or has argued too much over some foolish thing, I’m not surprised that Kim S. had a negative phase where he killed his blog (though its back now). Anyway, I’m not utterly surprised at Kim’s action but I’m glad he’s back.

    And Kaimi, fear not (or should I say: “Be Afraid!”). Wump Blog or some other similar incarnation will eventually show up again. Its probably going to be awhile but the desire to blog is very much still with me. PLUS, WordPress 1.5 has been very quietly released. Oh how I love WordPress. Have I forgotten to say so lately?

    http://wordpress.org/download/

    It’s being referred to as “Strayhorn.” This isn’t a poke at Microsoft’s Longhorn. Rather, its named for the jazz musician: http://www.billystrayhorn.com/

  12. Troy on February 16, 2005 at 8:46 pm

    I think I disagree that the soul is the only thing that lasts forever. All experiences, opinion, art, etc. will be recorded one way or another (perhaps multiple ways) and so will always be accessible to admire and learn from. To Adam’s point, these things should be valued according to their ultimate impact on the soul, and not the amount of worldy fame/cash/pleasure they give us. But they will certainly always exist one way or the other. So anything (good) produced, whether on the internet or in family home evening is, in my book, value being added to the universe that didn’t exist a moment before.

  13. A. Greenwood on February 16, 2005 at 8:52 pm

    I probably disagree to, Mr. Troy. It’s just that, like you, I think its through us that the things we create and do matter in the eternities and not vice versa.

  14. Troy on February 16, 2005 at 9:03 pm

    Ahh. Good clarification.

  15. Jonathan Green on February 16, 2005 at 9:58 pm

    Adam, another nice post, and thanks for quoting the Song of Solomon. That’s one of my favorite lines in the scriptures(?).

  16. Bryce I on February 16, 2005 at 10:32 pm

    “We all seemed to instinctively feel that leaving the bloggernacle was a tragedy.”

    The tragedy wasn’t that Kim was leaving the bloggernacle, it was that he was leaving because he felt unimportant and unappreciated.

    When danithew shut down Wump Blog, we were sad to see it go because it was a fun daily read, but I think most readers understood the stated reason (took too much time from real life) and would probably feel good about making the same decision given the same set of circumstances. Not a tragedy at all.

    Kim’s stated reason for shutting down Our Thoughts was different. I think we all felt a little bit responsible — If I had commented more or visited regularly, maybe he wouldn’t feel this way. It’s ok if someone leaves on their own terms, but for someone to leave because they don’t feel wanted reflects poorly on us all.

    Unless your name is Ed Enochs.

  17. Adam Greenwood on February 16, 2005 at 11:22 pm

    Song of Solomon?
    I’m not above quoting it, just didn’t realize i had.

  18. Jonathan Green on February 17, 2005 at 9:32 am

    Adam: SoS 6:10. Also cited by D&C 5:14.

  19. Russell Arben Fox on February 17, 2005 at 9:50 am

    Strayhorn, Danithew? Cool. The Strayhorn/Ellington collaborations are among the greatest in music history, equal to Gilbert/Sullivan and Lennon/McCartney. Strayhorn’s deserves all the name recognition he can get.

  20. danithew on February 17, 2005 at 10:28 am

    RAF,

    I appreciate you pointing that out about Strayhorn/Ellington. Matt Mullenweg, the lead founder and creator of WordPress is a major jazz fan. Check out his jazz quotes at his blog:

    http://photomatt.net/jazzquotes/

    I first discovered Duke Ellington’s music when I was at BYU. I checked out a Ellington cassette at the library and thought it was the most amazing music. But I haven’t had much jazz guidance since. I appreciate this pointer you’re giving and maybe that will help me get going more in that direction.

  21. danithew on February 17, 2005 at 10:33 am

    And sorry for the threadjack, but now the release of Strayhorn is official. Here’s a great and extensive description of the WordPress 1.5 upgrade.

    http://wordpress.org/development/2005/02/strayhorn/

    By the way, constant upgrades in technology and software might be just one more reason to add to Adam’s false immortality of the internet.

  22. A. Greenwood on February 17, 2005 at 10:59 am

    Well, that put’s a different context on it, Jonathan Green. But I guess I’d still say its one of my favorite lines in scripture and in beautiful poetry that may not be canonical though found in the scriptures.

  23. Kim Siever on February 17, 2005 at 3:00 pm

    So that’s why my stats jumped yesterday.

    I should point out that my mediocrity extended beyond far more than my blog. Last week, my blog was not the only thing I shut down.

    I find it ironic, however, that Adam admits to finding my blog post through the Bloggernaccle Times.

  24. John David Payne on February 17, 2005 at 4:12 pm

    Speaking of finding blog posts… Is it possible to search through the comments on T&S? I remember there being a discussion here about divorce rates in red states and blue states, but I can’t find it. Any ideas?

  25. A. Greenwood on February 17, 2005 at 4:15 pm

    Ironic? Explain, as you would a child.

  26. William Morris on February 17, 2005 at 4:43 pm

    I should perhaps let Dave and Steve E. do this but:

    that’s exactly what the Bloggernaccle Times is all about. Highlighting posts and developments in the Bloggernaccle that are hot, deserve greater attention or both.

  27. danithew on February 17, 2005 at 4:45 pm

    JDP, I could not locate the discussion of divorce in red states and blue states but I was able to find that T&S provided a link to the following article:

    http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2004/10/31/walking_the_walk_on_family_values/

    I found this by doing a google search using exactly the following:

    site:http://www.timesandseasons.org “red states” “blue states” divorce

    Even if a blog doesn’t allow a person to search comments, google allows a site search. One simply types the site domain addy (as above) and then the terms one wants to look for.

  28. Steve Evans on February 17, 2005 at 5:03 pm

    William,

    That’s exactly right. The Bloggernacle Times is essentially an expanded, news-worthy version of Dave’s Potluck or other features, highlighting what’s going on in the Bloggernacle. It’s not ironic that people found Kim’s post through BT — that’s why we made BT. It would be nice if people found Our Thoughts on their own, and hopefully that’s something we can promote.

  29. Kim Siever on February 19, 2005 at 10:11 pm

    If it is true that I was bemoaning that “no one listens to [me], no one responds”, then the irony lies in the fact that Adam found the post from BT, rather than because he was a regular reader.

  30. Adam Greenwood on February 20, 2005 at 1:03 am

    Now I see.

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