The last thing the world needs:another weblog
Especially from someone who doesn't identify himself, even in the slightly-obscured form used by some bloggers (pseudonyms, cryptic place names, etc.) After all, isn't the intent of a web log to have a voice in the world, to make your voice heard “out there”, to establish your importance alongside that of – well, that's a question, isn't it? And how can your importance be established if you are not known?
Perhaps that is what posting on the Internet means to some. For me, it means something different – I hope. I hope that this becomes a place for me to “think out loud”, and share something of my life and thoughts, and perhaps interact with others. If this is one outcome of the Internet logging phenomenon, it will be a positive thing. For too long only a very, very few got to publish their thoughts in any way outside of their immediate circle, and few of those ever heard back from those impacted by whatever was published. I remember I once wrote an author whose work had helped me greatly. I didn't expect to hear back; after all, I reasoned, he is a famous author who probably gets dozens of these letters and hasn't time to respond to them all. To my surprise, he did reply, and he assured me that one of the most satisfying parts of being an author is hearing from those who have been impacted by your work. I wonder what he would have thought of the web log idea. Of course, he would have been swift to observe that most postings on most blogs range from inane to obscene, and the comments are worthy of the postings, but I think he would have appreciated the ability of the author and readers to interact.
So that is what I envision this project becoming – a place to think in the open, and to talk with those who deem such musings worth reading. Perhaps it will be more; possibly much less (in which case I might just close it). But even with that modest goal, why the anonymity? Why not even glimpses of my personal life?
We'll see about that in time, but for now, let's just say it's because I don't really matter. No, really – this isn't damaged self-esteem, or Heep-style 'umility talking here, but the soberest self-appraisal I can make. From a human perspective, I live a simple, quiet life. I am not yet, and will probably never be, a Great One as far as human history is concerned. If I do well, my name may be known to a small circle of people, in whose lives I hope to have been a positive influence. And if I manage even that good, it will only be because I pass along good which I received from elsewhere, not good that I manufactured myself. My greatest aspiration is to be a mirror, a finely polished surface that reflects the Charity and Wisdom of the ages to those around me. And what mirror is noticed? Only the flawed and cracked ones. A fine, flawless mirror is not noticed at all – those who gaze into it see only that which it reflects. When I say “I don't matter”, it is in that sense.
Which brings us to the name. A Prince of the West? What kind of pen name is that? Let's start with the last part - “the West”. To anyone who knows me, this would seem strange – especially since I live on the east coast. But by this I do not mean the modern American sense, i.e. “the Coast” - associated in the popular mind with unrestricted self-indulgence and the casting off of moral restraint. No, by this I mean West as in Western Civilization, and all the best of that. Founded in truth, from the dialogue of Socrates to the revelation to the Jews. The West of mythology as well, from the fireside tales of the Celts to the Arthurian legends to the modern tales of Tolkien, all of which identify the West with beauty, completeness, and perfection. The modern mind, of course, scoffs at all such things. Historical revisionists work diligently to erase all memory of the nobility and goodness found in Western tradition. Shallow and worldly men scoff at the notion of any transcendent good or purity - “The West, indeed! There is no such place, except in nursery rhymes! Learn to live in The Real World!” (meaning, of course, the world I have created and through which I seek to control you.)
No. There is a West, and I have touched it (or, to be more precise, been touched by it.) It is both the West of the hopeful mythology and the West of classical learning: the true, the right, the good. I am Of that West, far more than I am of our shallow and vapid modern culture. To those who would scoff at this, calling it a subjective reality, I give Puddleglum's response: if so, we have created an imaginary world that licks their “real” world all hollow. Others have helped me by turning my face to the West – if I can help others by doing the same, I will.
But the name? “A Prince”? Hubris, surely? Perhaps – but my intention is honesty. I am, by adoption, the son of a King, which makes me a prince. Far from the only one, to be sure, and not The Prince (only One will ever hold that title), but rather one of many who hopes to walk the trail blazed by the One who has gone before.
So that is my name: part of who I am, and who I have become. Perhaps I will have a chance to document part of my journey here. If it helps you – so much the better.