Remembering the Journey

Where does the “log” in “blog” come from?

Before the web, everything about a ship's journey was kept in a log book – speed, weather, condition, progress to its destination. Without keeping track of these things, patterns could not be ascertained. Are we going in circles? Will the ship make it without repair? Does bad weather appear imminent? All of which could be investigated through a log. It served as an external memory device, a second anchor of sorts lest our mind go adrift.

The web is our sea. Immense, confusing, all consuming. It is easy to be caught in its tide, to lose one's self. No wonder we need a web log in order to record where we've been, what we read, what we thought. Because how could we remember all the things that run through our lives, especially on the web?

I think of this in light of an acute observation from Bix:

One thing I've noticed lately is that if I save links to blog about rather than links to “read later” (and they are right when they ask how often it seems like we are saving links to forget to read), I end up not only reading more of them but also creating a record of having done so.

Saving links to blog about rather than to read later ensures we make a lasting record of them. I now have a record of reading Bix's post on July 30th of 2019. All of my surrounding thoughts on his post are here and can be referred to. Connecting the prior and subsequent blog posts, we can get a deeper sense of time, of place, of identity.

Instead of being adrift, we notice we are on a journey.

Italo Calvino once wrote about the Odyssey being about remembering the journey. That is what Odysseus was trying to do as he trekked back to Ithaca and as he recounted his travels. To remember where he came from and where he was going. That is what we do when we blog. I will leave the last word to Bix:

How to remember? We blog about it.