More on Minding

At a certain turn in the blogging cycle or maybe it’s the Manic-D cycle, you get to the point where you are willing to be way too honest.  (Perhaps it’s the urge for more views.)  This is not the kind of honesty that writes about obsessions with Robert Pattinson.

It is a particularly dangerous turning point if you have already started telling family and friends your blog address.

This type of brink is a reason why many writers really would rather write fiction and poetry than a daily blog.  Fiction and poetry are both more intimate and more removed;  they are “fiction”, “poetry”;  they are classified as “art” (or at least an attempt at art), rather than “reportage”, something made rather than experienced.

I was brought to this brink by thinking about the New York Times article by Alfie Kohn  (“Mind: When I Love You Means Do What I Say”) discussed in yesterday’s post;  the article talks about the inner compulsiveness that sometimes arises from positive and negative conditioning in children; i.e. blankets of praise and/or punishment.  The neediness seems, according to the studies,  to be particularly strong in the case of so-called positive conditioning, that is, praise (praise applied with an overly thick brush).

Achievers are apparently produced by this praise, but they are compulsive achievers.

Symptoms of this type of internal compulsion seem to me to include the craving many achievers have throughout their lives for continuing pats on the head, even artificial pats.  This craving can in turn lead to a kind of self-deception that feels somehow like success, but is known not to be , or at least probably not to be.  (A good example is the willingness to believe, or to try to believe, in weight loss after an adjustment down of the bathroom scale.)   Ironically, this same willingness to accept what is known to be a dubious milestone is often combined with an absolute skepticism over any genuine achievement, particularly if the acknowledgement of such achievement comes from a loved one.    It’s as if, to the achiever, the opinion of someone loving and beloved has little worth;  only the opinions of one’s enemies, detractors, or ignorers have any validity.

Strange, huh?

Then, in the midst of trying to figure out how to write about this, my mind turned instead to John Keats, about whom there is a new film by Jane Campion.  I decided that as trivial as sonnets may seem in the modern world, I would really rather write about them, and write them, than about neediness.   Although Keats admittedly does seem a bit on the needy side, he was not a blogger.

So, stepping back from any brink, but oddly satisfied to have sketched out a glimpse of it,  I’m starting a new series on the making of a sonnet.   As a separate post.

Explore posts in the same categories: Blogging, parenting, Uncategorized

2 Comments on “More on Minding”

  1. Mwa Says:

    I know about that particular type of compulsion. It helps somewhat to become aware of it, though. So raising children to be more self-aware may help beating this problem.

  2. manicddaily Says:

    Thanks for comment. I think self-awareness surely helps, but probably the more important part is simply learning not to care so much about other’s judgments, or even about other’s inattention! (Being aware that one does care is, of course, part of that.) I don’t want to sound sexist, but this may be a problem that women are more likely to have than men, and girls than boys, because of a type of sensitivity to others that seems to be more common among women.


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