Abandon Text!

W. H. Auden once said: "Poems are not finished; they are abandoned." I have been abandoning writing projects for many years, since only the pressure of deadline and high expectations ever got me to finish, or even start, anything of merit. This blog is an attempt to create a more consistent, self-directed writing habit. Hopefully a direction and voice will emerge.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Ecce Wikipedio

Pardon my bad Latin grammar. I made my first contribution to the Wikipedia this morning. I understand that among Wikipedians it is considered bad form to take public credit for one's contributions, and that most make their edits under the anonymity of their Wiki username. But since I'm largely unidentified in this blog, I think I'm in-bounds.

No sooner had I posted my lament that I had nothing to contribute to the Wikipedia than I saw an opportunity, right in the very article I cited. The article on eternal return did not include any discussion of whether the rationale for eternal recurrence was sound . . . which seemed like a big hole for a discussion of a philosophic concept. I vaguely remembered that Walter Kaufmann had described a mathematical refutation of eternal return in one of his books. So I spent about ten minutes flipping through Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist until I found the passage. Then I had to write up the edit, being careful to use neutral point of view, and including the citation for the passage.

So . . . do I feel better? Is my life more meaningful now that I have contributed to the world's biggest storehouse of knowledge? Well . . . kinda. I had forgotten what a pain in the butt real scholarship is like. I've spent a total of an hour and a half making a minor change to an obscure topic. It would be more reassuring if I knew how many hits the article actually got, so I could know how many people might be affected. And, for all I know, the original author might be a big fan of eternal return, a true believer, and I could get into an edit war . . . not to mention that its time away from every other damn thing I need to be doing.

But yeah . . . it feels good.


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