This is my first posting to our still very infrequently visited blog, "A common fire." It is indeed a very peculiar form of publication, and I feel two opposing forces. On the one hand, I feel that all opinions I voice here should be fair, balanced, informed, "footnoted," so to speak, since it is open to the public (the meaning of publication). On the other hand, the facility with which this text can be instantaneously composed and posted makes it tempting to write without much hesitation or deliberation, as if I am just writing an e-mail.
What makes me participate for the first time in this blog phenomenon - which, I admit, I have long looked upon with some incomprehension mixed with tempered contempt - is the notion and experience of friendship. I like the idea that, two hundred years after romanticism and one hundred year after the first avant-gardes, there is a surviving ethos of the ideal community in a small circle of friends (as opposed to the utopian society). Since everyday, more people of our generation have more "friendsters" than friends, have more understanding of "hanging out" than of conversing, I find this blog-experiment very interesting, because it uses new technology for what is essentially an old and perhaps endangered practice: having conversations that have content, with people for whom the content is actually meaningful.
I suggested to Gale that "A common fire" as a name for the blog sounds suspiciously like the Christian Left. She said, "Well, that's sort of what we are." I like to emphasize the "sort of," because it seems to me the most determining element of these conversations.
Sharing a blog with a doctor, a lawyer, a historian, I feel like my contributions to these urgent matters of politics and society will be inadequately informed. My postings will probably be on the side of philosophy, culture and the arts - those things on which no life depends.