Through the Prism

After passing through the prism, each refraction contains some pure essence of the light, but only an incomplete part. We will always experience some aspect of reality, of the Truth, but only from our perspectives as they are colored by who and where we are. Others will know a different color and none will see the whole, complete light. These are my musings from my particular refraction.


Print vs. Online

A long time ago I realized something about myself: once I step into a video store, I'm not leaving until I've looked at every title there (the "new" ones around the outer walls, anyway). Even if I find something I want to watch in the first 30 seconds, I can't settle on it unless I've eliminated all the other options. Because, who knows, maybe I'll find something I want even more in the last 30 seconds. I have to start at one end of the alphabet and work my way systematically to the other. It's the same with all kinds of shopping--if I have a single item or exact purpose I can get in and get out, but if I'm just browsing I have to see it all, in order, and can't skip around or take a non-linear, illogical pattern. To do so drives me crazy.

I'm big into Goodreads now, but I resisted starting for the longest time. I wanted to use it as a way to keep track of books I've read, but since I hadn't started using it when I started reading books, my list of titles would be necessarily incomplete. It took me a while to talk myself over that hang-up before I could start making use of the tool. Even when I did, I spent hours trying to retroactively remember and enter things I'd read previously, fretting about all the titles I was forgetting or that had faded too much for my real rating.

At the time I called myself a "completist." More recently I was telling a friend how, since I've decided to jump on the Facebook bandwagon, I have a compulsion to go back and see everything all of my friends have shared since I last logged in. He said I sounded OCD. I wouldn't go that far (I'd maybe claim this), but I am very hung up on the idea that "if something's worth doing, it's worth doing right." Whatever "it" may happen to be, if I'm going to commit to it, I'm going to commit to doing it all the way. Rush jobs, shortcuts, and superficial engagement with things drive me crazy. The upside to this characteristic is that most of what I do, I do with excellence. The downside is that I can be a slave to things and I know I have to limit what I commit to; I usually put off anything that shows up on my to do list until I know I have the time and energy to do it right. Deadlines are often necessary--I won't miss one, but I won't start something unless a looming deadline forces me to.

A couple of problems that the Internet pose for me are that most things on it have no beginning and end and they are not organized in a neatly linear fashion. I still read my local newspaper every day and my Entertainment Weekly every week because those are final and finite. I read them from start to finish and know I have a deadline before the next one shows up. Nothing gets added or updated and reading them is a task I can accomplish. Their web counterparts, in contrast, have constant updates with more information added throughout each day than I could ever handle. It's too much. And there's no way for me to organize what I've read and what I haven't because everything keeps moving. I can't handle that. The same is true for my other news outlets of choice. I have the NY Times, Mother Jones, and Sojourners sent to me by email, so I can browse through the headlines, read what I want, then call myself finished and delete them. I have to limit myself to those sources because that's all I have the time and energy for.

My first reaction to anything new is almost always hesitant because it means either changing my established plans or figuring out how I can make it work. I'm rarely an early adapter to technology or change not so much because I'm scared of new technology or resistant to change, but because adding something new usually means letting go of something old in order for me to have the time to do it right, and it takes a bit of processing for me to figure it all out. I'm still working on that for the news and am clinging desperately to my beloved print sources in the meantime.


At 2/08/2010 8:36 PM, Blogger Degolar said...

Interesting. Someone was just blogging about the Myers-Briggs and I went to share my favorite link for that; it describes the types from a first-person perspective, and it's spooky how much the INTJ feels like something I could have written about myself. Relevant to this note, one of the paragraphs begins, "I won’t do something if I feel I can’t do it well. . . . I set very high standards for myself."


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