As I was preparing this site for launch, I started thinking about firsts and the importance we place on beginnings. Maybe it’s the convergence with the New Year, the headlines and conversations about resolutions and starting fresh. It got me thinking about how many times I’ve started fresh, how each occasion seems to demand some act of voodoo, or some scientific ritual, to ensure that this time it will be different, this time it will be good.
But that’s silly. Whether it’s different, good or bad, works or not doesn’t really matter as long as I can keep going. Yet, in spite of myself, I’ll mark the beginning of this project by invoking the powers of these words (of warning?) from two centuries ago:“Wissen vor meinen – Sein vor scheinen”
(knowing before opining, being before seeming)
As Wikipedia notes, there are alternate versions of the first message by telegraph. While this quote seems too good to be true, it arguably makes a better story of a first message than the more plausible alternatives. And I enjoy a good creation myth as much as the next person. In a way, every time I ‘start fresh’ I’m trying my hand at this kind of revisionist history, re-writing the story from the middle. So, true or not, I adopt these words as my mantra, goal, and standard for what I hope to post here – while I accept (and revel in) the frivolity of short-form posts and updates elsewhere on the web, I want to reserve this space here for better, or at least more thoughtful things. I hope you join my in my attempts to know and be.