After much contemplation, I have decided that an appropriate name for this blog is:
Without Ritual, Autonomous Negotiations
So far the name of my blog has simply been my name. Now that I have received over 260,000 hits and have written almost 400 blogs, I am hoping a “real” name will help me reach more readers and make my blog more “official” or something.
The process of selecting a name took so long for two reasons. I needed some title that would serve as an appropriate and captivating red thread for (basically) all of the articles I have written and anticipate writing in the foreseeable future. Various titles that I though of were either all too clichéd or already used by far too many blogs and books or too complicated.
Some thoughts on the name are in order:
“Without ritual” indicates my goal and commitment to always provide articles that are, as much as humanly possible, free of ritual: free of habits, traditions, or “pre approved,” sanctioned behaviors. Such thinking, such decolonization of the mind, such processes, such negotiations are necessary for creativity and for autonomy. And such lack of ritual is necessary before we can work toward diverse understandings and freedoms.
“Autonomous Negotiations” has several layered meanings. Basically, my goal in writing is to promote freedom and complex thinking. Adapted from the trajectory of feminist thinking, “autonomous” refers to freedom from other peoples, ideologies, and institutions and the ability, capacity, permission, perhaps even “stubbornness” to think and act upon such thinking. Virginia Woolf says, “The androgynous mind is resonant and porous; it transmits emotion without impediment; it is naturally creative, incandescent, and undivided.” Such freedom of habit, freedom of the mind, and overall independence is necessary before any kind of thinking can occur, especially before “negotiations” can happen.
“Negotiations” is important in several ways. Thinking, living, and writing is always a negotiation of some kind. We make negotiations when deciding what to write about: what ideas will we present and how will we present them? Where does writing fit within our priorities and responsibilities? We often contradict, and thus negotiate, with the thinking of the status quo and en masse culture. We make sacrifices in order to even think. Such negotiations guide, allow, or inhibit our thinking.
Additionally, life itself is a negotiation. Everything is relative. Everything is a social construction. Everything is a negotiation of the past and the future, a negotiation of the rituals that often blind us to the “behind, beneath, above, and beyond” of history and philosophy and science. Everything is always both changing and not changing. When we are free, we can begin to be more creative and we are better able to see, appreciate, and potentially understand the constant negotiations around us. As a writer, I seek new and different points-of-view.
And we can only begin to truly see all of these negotiations–complicated diverse ways of making sense of the world–when we act outside of default habits and demand freedom.
In sum, then, Without Ritual, Autonomous Negotiations refers to the constant in-progress effort of first analyzing and writing–living–without relying on habits or traditions that inevitably blind and then using this backdrop to practice and promote thinking freely, creatively, and critically with the aim of finding, celebrating, and creating diverse, complicated, conflicting points-of-view.
What do you think about this title? (I reserve the right to change it if needed or necessary by popular demand!)
Andrew Joseph Pegoda