Monday, August 18, 2008

Blog full of quotes...

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle..."A wonderful quote by the ever insightful Plato. Except for one odd problem. No one seems to no where in Plato it comes from. Even more interesting is that with a quick glance around the internet we come to find this statement credited to everyone from Bob Dylan to Mother Teresa.

The furthest back it can be found in black and white is in the works of John B. Watson's a psychologist from the early 1900's. He is quoted to have made the statement, "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle with his own ego." This seems to make a great deal more sense seeing that the statement fits perfectly within Watson's behaviorist paradigm. I am not sure how many are willing to claim such a statement fits with in Plato's work, but I am sure there is some one who will. This all leaves us to ask who on earth do we credit this with anyway! The answer is most likely no one. Clearly it is a sentiment passed down from the ages. Taking it in its present stage of generic abstraction makes it almost meaningless. So why bother using such a quote?

I my self have been known to quote the occasional text or song lyric. I on the other hand tend to stick to things I've actually read. A quick survey of the blogging community will quickly show that a huge number of writers began their posts with the occasional quote. The vast majority of time, unfortunately, they never comment on the actual sources location or context. I get the strange feeling that just maybe a large number are getting there quotes not from the works themselves but from the ever convenient internet.

A quick Google search yields an ever increasing list of websites which provide quotes categorized by topic and author. These collections are not new by any means and have filled libraries across the globe for many decades. Before though, most writers tended to use them as references and not crotches. A good quote does make a fascinating way to draw in your audience or a precise way to develop a theme. But only if it is well developed and used in the context of the original author. Otherwise you should know that what your up to is incredible cliche and incredibly boring.

So as blogging comes under increasing criticism for its inferior quality both in substance and the quality of writing it self, it is important to recognize the need for originality. It is of increasing importance for Bloggers to invest fully in the originality of the work, and where appropriate invest fully in the work of those they intend to discuss.

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