On two virtues developed through blogging...
A cyber-friend of mine, William Vallicella, maintains the blog Maverick Philosopher, which was one of my inspirations for getting started on blogging. This past spring, Vallicella took a month-long break from blogging, so I was somewhat alarmed to see a recent post of his titled "Four and a Half Years Into It: Why Blog? " My fear that he might be stopping for good was ungrounded, however, for he went on to briefly elaborate several good reasons to take up and continue blogging.
Some of what he wrote could be understood as a variation on developing what Thomas Acquinas called the virtue of studiousness:
"Properly speaking, study denotes keen application of the mind to something." (Aquinas, Summa Theologica, "Question 166. Studiousness," Article 1)Or as Vallicella explains:
We studious types are not about to abandon study. It is is just too richly satisfying. Now if you read, you ought to study what you read, and if you study, you ought to take notes. And if you take notes, you owe it to yourself to assemble them into some sort of coherent commentary. What is the point of studious reading if not to evaluate critically what you read, assimilating the good while rejecting the bad? The forming of the mind is the name of the game.But nurturing the virtue of studiousness is not the only reason to blog. One can also note progress toward inculcating the old philosophical virtue of ataraxia:
Many are the reasons to blog. To develop a thicker skin is another of them. A thick skin is an attribute conducive to negotiating this world with equanimity. Since I've taken up blogging, I have noticed a definite uptick in the fitness of my psycho-armor. Nasty e-mails and the like roll off me. The scum of humanity offend me less. And one day, to cop a line from Nietzsche, "my only negation shall be to look away."To assist me in joining Vallicella and Nietzsche at looking away, I've found trash icons very helpful. A mere click trashes the nasty email or the trolling comment far more succinctly than wasted words.
Of course, one need not become a blogger to develop the virtues of studiousness and ataraxia. One can read Maverick Philosopher instead and learn from a man who, despite having a doctorate in philosophy, actually is a philosopher.
Or go directly to his book: A Paradigm Theory of Existence: Onto-Theology Vindicated.