Philosophy and Life Pearls

In praise of praise

The most interesting and successful of my blog posts are ones I wrote for myself. I wrote them because they clarified thoughts that I had or judgments that I had reserved but never finely expressed. Not every one of the essays of such kind has been fantastically successful, but many have.

I wrote about Facebook in a passion one hour and posted it to let off some steam. It became fantastically viral. Why? Does it matter why? Why do I try to replicate that?

In fact, whenever I try to copy elements of that explicitly I fail. Rather, there is something about the emotion I had in that topic that was conveyed in the essay. Emotions can be hard to fake.

But I get praise for some of my posts, the impassioned ones I write for myself. The praise externalizes a reward for writing. I seek out more external rewards like a rat in a cage. But it never genuinely comes. I demotivate, stop writing for months.

Spontaneously, I graze the lever of internal gratification with a piece for me, with an audience of one. I feel complete. But the emotion impacts others, and praise rolls out.

It's as if I finally figure out how to run the hampster wheel out of the pure joy of running, but every time I do a treat rolls down the chute. Perhaps this is the nature of success. The treats must be resisted, but this is very difficult when you are hungry. I always fail. Success always leads me to fail.

Even now, I feel as though I write this for someone else.

over 7 years ago on October 10 at 9:21 am by Joseph Perla in life, writing


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Howdy, they call me Joseph Perla. I studied western philosophy at Princeton University. I read the Tao te Ching. The state of California licensed me as an EMT. How does one live the good life? Why is the world the way it is? What is learning? What is consciousness?

Twitter: @jperla

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