Elster's World

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

What Does Your Heart Tell You?

In the third and final installment to the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, the Return of the King, two of the main characters are discussing the quest of the hobbit Frodo as he attempts to destroy the ring of power. They debate whether or not he is even still alive. One of the characters asks the other “what does your heart tell you?” and they decide that Frodo is indeed still alive.

Too often in life, we are pressured to follow the crowd, to conform to the so-called “norms” of society. In Rush’s brilliant song Subdivisions, they write:

In the high school halls
In the shopping malls
Conform or be cast out

In the basement bars
In the backs of cars
Be cool or be cast out.

Such pressure begins early in life. Once a child is in school, they are immediately confronted with the choice of following the leads of the other children or being seen as an outcast. As most of us know, the problem is exacerbated in high school. For some, it will leave everlasting scars that will never heal.

When I was younger, I found myself constantly concerned with what everyone else thought about me. Was I too short? Was my nose too big? Did girls think I was a loser? Profound concerns all.

Yet as I grew older (and more confident in who I was), I began to realize that pleasing others was a surefire way of never achieving any sort of self-peace or happiness. That the key to happiness was simply to be who you were and to let all other be damned. In other words, I listened to what my heart was telling me, instead of trying to follow the “in” ideal, the flavor of the month.

Even Bloggerville is not immune to the peer pressure that affects our real world society as well. To wit:

- How many bloggers over think what they are posting in order to insure maximum hits/comments over actual content? How many intentionally write about controversial topics such as sex or religion in order to make sure the hit counter keeps running? Who would rather write an absolute crappy post to see the comment line hits 100. I admit to not being entirely immune to this practice, though I would never write a post simply to stir up debate. In fact, the vast majority of my posts are the simple ramblings of my warped mind.

- Another example: There is a line of thinking that one should never post more than once a week and to attempt to make that one post as perfect as possible. Hey, it’s a way of blogging. While I disagree with it (it certainly aint for me ), I don’t necessarily think there is anything wrong with it per se. But I did recently read a post where the blogger in question showed a level of frustration at being limited to the once a week rule. So I commented thusly (and to paraphrase) – “So write more often”. Duh. Why do you feel locked in to this form of rigid posting schedule? Do, instead, what your heart tells you.

Truth be told, as I grow older I get sicker and sicker of the herd mentality. If the Good Lord wanted us to be sheep, he would have made us sheep. Why isn’t individuality embraced over the Cool Du Jour? This I will never understand.

But at the end of the day, the message remains simple. You must follow your own path in this world if you ever hope to amount to being more than just a follower. Great deeds are done by the individual, while the group tends towards mediocrity.

In other words, what does your heart tell you?


  • I agree to an extent.

    One should never post about Herm Edwards more than once a week. However, posting about Herm - even if the motivation is to ensure maximum hits and comments - is not inherently wrong.

    By Blogger Joe Schick, at 6:17 PM  

  • I break every blogging rule at least once a day and twice on the weekend.

    By Blogger Jack's Shack, at 6:47 PM  

  • Joe - Your obsession with herm Edwards is now just plain scary. You need to let him go.

    Jack - You are nothing short of prolific.

    By Blogger Elster, at 10:12 PM  

  • the goal of not looking to others for validation is a tough road, at least for some of us. Then again, support and care from others is always welcome. how do we wlecome that without requiring approval?

    By Blogger The Real Neo, at 1:23 PM  

  • Unsolicited approval beats begging for it any day of the week. And twice on tuesdays.

    By Blogger Elster, at 1:29 PM  

  • I never knew that there were any rules about blogging...But I also think that part of why I blog, personally, is because I like the discussion. Or I need the discussion. Or something. Anyway, I also agree that one should not think too hard about their posts or edit them for the reasons you mentioned. But, there is nothing wrong with trying to write a better post - to express what you want to say in the best way possible (not like this comment.) As to following your heart - good advice, but hard to follow for one such as me who never did because she was looking for approval.

    By Blogger SS, at 3:54 PM  

  • ss - I don't disagree about making the post the best it can be. I am all for that. My point was more that posting more than once a week "saturates" your blog and is "too much". That's what i have a problem with.

    By Blogger Elster, at 4:05 PM  

  • Sometimes, I do like to leave something around for a bit - so it's what people see when they come to my blog. But I think that the idea of "saturating" your blog is just ridiculous. I love when bloggers write all the time more than when you keep seeing the same post every time you check. Did I just contradict myself?

    By Blogger SS, at 5:48 PM  

  • Nope:

    Sometimes you are really proud of a post. Othertimes less so. Either way, it's blogger's choice, it's not about rules and regs.

    By Blogger Elster, at 5:50 PM  

  • Good post, reminds of a nice text

    at 5 you don't care that everyone is looking at you

    at 15 you worry about people are looking at you

    at 30 you worry about people looking at you, your home and your kids

    at 50 you realize no one ever looked (i.e. people are too busy with themselves to notice others)
    About the comments, I'm always excited to see a large number of people commenting, but comments such as 'good' 'great' 'i agree' do little to make you feel good about your post, so quality is still a factor.

    By Blogger Pragmatician, at 4:15 AM  

  • Prag:

    Agreed on both points. But re: your second. The only thing worse than a "I agree" "great post", etc with no substance or back-up, are those bloggers who ghet hero worship comments reggaerdless of what they write. There are very few bloggers who hit home runs every time.

    By Blogger Elster, at 9:08 AM  

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