how I just couldn't bear to make the time

It's all about those pesky identity beliefs.

The patterns and fluctuations of which I have not (as recently noted) been regulating in myself with nearly the level of attention they deserve. Especially with individuals. I need to be more aware of, and work harder to sort out, residual identity beliefs that I pick up by mirroring the mental and emotional states of persons with whom I interact.

Identity beliefs come in many layers. Those most easily accessible to conscious attention are also the easiest to change. For example, social roles which can be described in words, membership in a recognizable subculture, and being a fan of things, can all be identity beliefs. Things you hold in your mind and emotional state as self-defining, things which shape the way you interact with the world outside yourself, and the world inside as well.

But the kinds of beliefs that can be named, easily described, are on the uppermost level only. Underneath are those beliefs which govern the movement of emotions and attention within the personality, which determine what kinds of perceptions are permissible for you to acknowledge consciously. Which interactions you may have with the taig and with the time--with the moods and emotions of the places and the social groups in which you find yourself. How far your sense of presence may extend beyond your skin.

A time, the mental and emotional runtime environment generated by a social group, imposes limitations on the identity configurations of persons who move within it. So for every time in which you move, your identity will take on different active characteristics. Thoughts and feelings, ways of reacting, even areas of knowledge which are perfectly comfortable to you in one time, may be all but inaccessible to you when you are present in a different time. This is normal. Unavoidable, even. The best practice, in my view, is to try to be as aware as possible of the kinds of limitations imposed by every time. Thus one is able to consider: is this time good for me? Is the expressed identity I take on when in this subculture, this workplace, this group of friends, an identity which is healthful to my mind and harmonious to the music of my soul? Or is this a time from which I should withdraw my mana--in other words, my attention, emotional commitment, and active effort?

Furthermore. You have a relationship to every time and every taig you've met. And for every thing or person with which you have a relationship, that relationship exists at a particular level of trust. Just as with an individual, a time you hold at a high trust level will alter your identity beliefs more deeply than a time you do not trust very much. And the more of your mana, your capacity to perceive and choose and care, that you extend into the time, the more profoundly its limitations will affect the rest of your identity. If your closest friends see you as a flake, you will feel like a flake all the time. Whereas if the strangers riding on a bus with you think you're obnoxious, you won't necessarily feel like an obnoxious person all the time.

Now we come back around to my blog, and why I have made it so inhospitable. An unconscious choice, especially at first. But still one with the force of many deeply held assumptions behind it, and thus worthy of careful consideration.

There are special characteristics of a time with a contributor-audience paradigm. Being limited to Blogger, in other words, primarily text-based and not real-time, severely limits the types of interactions which can occur. But in personality construction terms this is a cosmetic limitation, a limitation of form only and not substance. It is astonishing how much of one's mana can be invested in an internet social sphere, as I know to my occasional chagrin. Anyway. The contributor has power and influence over what form the group will take and what subject matters predominate, and sets the tone for the style of interpersonal politics which will be practiced. Interpersonal politics are how humans sort out pecking orders, after all, and every social group has them. (Every social group, human or otherwise, as I learned from the books of the mellifluous Robert Ardrey.)

However, the presumption of the authority to judge and to grant legitimacy rests with the audience. In many or even most cases, when a contributor's audience views their efforts favorably, the audience comes to consider themselves "fans" and in so doing, cedes the authority to grant legitimacy back to the contributor. The character of their fandom determines the nature of the authority which is then vested in the contributor. In other words, the parts of the audience members' personalities with which they indicate their approval define the extent and strength of the contributor's influence over them. This process is almost never made explicit. But it affects every person who plugs themselves in to the time--the contributor more than anyone else. To accept a position of social power within a group, it is necessary to hold the group at a high trust level. Failure to do so can destroy the group's social cohesion, or at least transform it in ways that make it less pleasant and less useful to its members.

As long as this blog is my unwieldy diary and virtually nobody reads it, then, I can cling to the illusion of transparency. I can comfort myself with the idea that some imaginary people out there in cyberspace read and approve and think I am clever and interesting. It is an illusionary comfort, but not a terribly dangerous one if used with caution. The mental equivalent of spending hours staring at yourself in a mirror, preening and imagining.

However, as soon as I actually obtain some readers, with whom I share only this time and no other, I will be made vulnerable to their judgment. The mirror will become a window. This blog already gets a lot of my mana, because it is my brainvomit station, and because so much of my understanding of my identity gets hashed out here. Once the audience-contributor reltionship became clearly defined, I'd be stuck with it. If my relationship with my audience were inimical--or worse, if I developed an audience of gormless sycophants--the time built around the social relationships on my blog would be a place I no longer wanted to be. It would turn from a comfy, messy refuge into a psychological bear trap. I'd have to metaphorically hack off a limb if I wanted to escape from it.

And if I didn't have the stones to escape, I'd be stuck with a whole mess of identity beliefs whose structure had been determined by others. By strangers on the internet who for dog-knows-what reason decided to wade through a messy, confusing blog for the pleasure of reading it.

Egads! The scary humans! Must frighten them away with growling and tangly messes!