Ambivalent Skeptic

January 23, 2011

Why I blog, a bit of Fitzgerald, and Ambivalence.

Filed under: blogging,Philosophy — Clint1911 @ 9:02 am

“You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.”
— F. Scott Fitzgerald

So for years I learned all I could about guns. One day I had enough understanding to be comfortable with explaining things to others. Sometimes it’s things people don’t know, other times it’s things people “know” but are not true.

I wasn’t too comfortable with blogging. I lot of ego goes into that. I don’t want to feed my ego, nor feed anyone else’s. But I sure wasn’t going to hog others people’s blogs and litter the comments with my ideas.

But shouldn’t you share knowledge?

And then I read, on a stone somewhere:
“You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.”

No attribute. Just the quote.

Yep, time to start the blog.

I learned it was from Fitzgerald while I was looking up other matters. Good old internet. You see, some people mistake Ambivalence for “Apathy.” But saying “I don’t care.” is NOT ambivalence.

To be ambivalent is to simultaneously have opposing/conflicting/contradictory feelings, beliefs, desires, thoughts, etc. It’s liking and disliking the same thing at the same time. It is the teacher being happy that his student has exceeded the teacher while the teacher is disappointed that he his no longer the premier expert.

For example: I like it when people have strong opinions. And I like it when people have no opinion on that which they are unsure about. Yet, I dislike it when people have an uncommitted opinion just for the sake of having an opinion. I prefer sincere apathy to fake interest.

And yet, I call myself an Ambivalent Skeptic? Yes, because I like it when people are ambivalent too.

But guess what, you can be ambivalent AND have strong opinions at the same time!

And I thought Fitzgerald said it best:

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. “

That’s my Ambivalence.

The full quote is:
“Before I go on with this short history, let me make a general observation– the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.
One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise. This philosophy fitted on to my early adult life, when I saw the improbable, the implausible, often the “impossible,” come true.”
— F. Scott Fitzgerald

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