On Definitions & My Gratitude (Sean O’Connor’s Public Comment video diary vlog– episode #12)

Definitions keep me up at night. Counting my blessings helps me get through the day.

IN THIS EPISODE:

Misspeaking: I do it too much.

A few days ago I claimed to disapprove of how philosophy tends to be taught in the universities. I regret making this comment. I lack sufficient research to make this claim. Why did I say it?

Sometimes we just gaffe.

Sometimes, for whatever reason (laziness? depression?) we just don’t care. It’s not always a “big deal” (I mean, not the “end of the world,” however, when people claim to provide us with definitions to words without dictionary sources this can be a pet peeve of mine as I take definitions quite seriously.

I spent years attempting to find a definition of “poetry” I deemed clear and concise, growing frustrated with how so many poets impose ambiguous definitions of “poetry.” For example, A.R. Ammons, in his lecture “A Poem Is a Walk” writes that

our experience of poetry is least injured when we accept it as useless, meaningless, and nonrational.

(I utterly disagree; what is the point if imposing on ourselves utter irrationality?)

Even various definitions of “essay” cling to ambiguity. Take, for example, the book Essayism, by Brian Dillon. He suggests that essays

perform a combination of exactitude and evasion that seems to me to define what writing ought to be.

Why should writing, or communication in general, evade? He seems to me to imply that constructiveness somehow has nothing to do with discussion.

Anyway, my point is to express my frustration with subjective and obfuscating uses of words and definitions as it interferes with gaining a more constructive, comprehensible sense of life.

More recently, as I’ve been contemplating and developing notions of keeping this personal journal vlog and podcast I’ve been seeking out the difference between the word “diary” and “journal.” Some people claim they’re different concepts, and make these claims without any sourcing.

I also want to discuss my gratitude today, because for me it can be an intense, awe-like emotion. It’s not an original experience, but a universal one, I believe– the amazingness of things… life, physics, the internet, ability to jot notes in Google docs in bed with the TV in the background…to still be alive despite terrifying past experiences when I thought I would die.


Public Comment is a personal journal vlog and podcast where I share my free thoughts on politics, culture, and self.

Please feel free to share your thoughts with me at sean.publiccomment@gmail.com or follow me on Twitter at
https://twitter.com/sopubliccomment

Author: Sean O'Connor

Hey! I'm Sean O'Connor a political activist, philosopher, and vlogger from central New Jersey. I'm 33 and recently graduated from William Paterson University with a BA in Liberal Studies. Currently I work as a writing tutor at Mercer County Community College though I working towards a transition that will allow me split my time between work on my blog and political activism/non-profit organization activities.

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