12 March 2009

Eccentricity of Orbit

A post at Think Buddha reminded me of the Wordle applet, so here's a snapshot of word use on my blog. It's pretty obvious that it's going from the most recent posts rather than the whole blog; otherwise "Sartre" would not loom so large.

Unfortunately, the word "eccentricity" doesn't seem to appear anywhere, so I'm fixing that. This isn't quite as random as it sounds. John Wilkins posted a quote from John Stuart Mill about eccentricity that is well worth pondering.


John said...

I think defying the norm just for the sake of defying the norm is kind of pointless. (Like someone I knew who was into the occult purely for shock value)

I tend to do my own thing, with no regard to its popularity, or other people's opinions.

It seems that most other people I've met define that as "weird"

Qalmlea said...

Yeah, but I don't think Mill means it that way.

"Eccentricity has always abounded when and where strength of character has abounded; and the amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and moral courage which it contained."

I think it's more that where there is more eccentricity, there is likely to be more freedom, as well as more creativity. In a society with no eccentricity, however, chances are that there are no standouts in other ways. Standing out from the norm becomes bad, whatever the form of the "standing out."

And, incidentally, I also tend to do my own thing, with little regard to its popularity. I say "little", because if I know something is popular, I will become more reluctant to explore it. If it still seems worthwhile, then fine. I just treat popularity a bit like a "CAUTION" sign.

John said...

Not me. In fact, there have been times when I only found out that something I like was ever actually popular when someone says "You still like that? It's so over." I just don't pay much attention to fads/trends like that.

I agree about standing out though. Before the internet, there was a lot of pressure to "go along to get along".

I have been pressured to "fit in". I just never cared much.

There still is, of course, but the internet has provided an outlet for eccentrics, both the good and bad.

Qalmlea said...

^/^ That's why I specified if I know something is popular. I'm often uninformed about these things.