Archive for September 5th, 2006

September 5, 2006

abstraction is not always a bad thing

A certain amount of abstraction is a good thing when writing new ethics. The reason is, i believe, that it offers just enough distance from a text that can be very personal. It allows you to view your situation from someone else’s perspective (an impartial spectator). There are at least two practices to follow:
(1) even if the text is not going to be posted online, write as if it were. This allows you to put yourself in a position where you are viewing your situation with other readers;
(2) rid your text of excessively personal information: when writing about the love of your life, do not use her real name (which would elicit much emotion) but replace it with a generic “A.” that will also allow you to distance yourself just enough from your emotions, while nevertheless maintaining the specific nature of your reflections.