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Graphomania

I've arrived in Boston after several delays along the way (Chicago was certainly not at its best weather-wise). Hopefully I'll get a chance to see some of the sights before the conference tomorrow morning. In the hotel, free WiFi or $9.95/day for a wired connection - hard choice there.Anyway, while reading on the plane, I came across some interesting ideas about sharing thoughts with the world, especially pertinent given the reason for my visit.

Graphomania is not a mania to write letters, personal diaries, or family chronicles (to write for oneself or one's close relations) but a mania to write books (to have a public of unknown readers). ...Graphomania (a mania for writing books) inevitably takes on epidemic proportions when a society devlops to the point of creating three basic conditions:
  1. an elevated level of general well-being, which allows people to devote themselves to useless activities;
  2. a high degree of social atomization and, as a consequence, a general isoalation of individuals;
  3. the absense of dramatic social changes in the nation's internal life. (From this point of view, it seems to me symptomatic that in France, where practically nothing happens, the percentage of writers is twenty-one times higher than in Israel.
..The mainspring that drives her to write is just that absence of vital content, that void. But by a backlash, the effort affects the cause. General isolation breeds graphomania, and generalized graphomania in turn intensifies and worsens isolation. The invention of printing formerly enabled people to understand one another. In the era of universal graphomania, the writing of books has an opposite meaning: everyone surrounded by his own words as by a wall of mirrors, which allows no voice to filter through from outside....One morning (and it will be soon), when everyone wakes up as a writer, the age of universal deafness and incomprehension will have arrived.
It's the final paragraph that rings true - if everyone starts blogging (where the level of entry is actually far lower than the case Kundera is talking about), there will simply be too much to read. Although aggregation and reputation can help, I can't help but wonder whether the blogging 'revolution' is going to collapse under its own weight before this problem gets solved. However, they said the same about the web and then there was Google; whatever happens, it's going to be a big challenge.