Above the Fold, the free daily technology summary from NewsScan, has the following interesting quote from George Orwell (from The Writer’s Demon) on what motivates people to write. Perhaps it applies equally to bloggers:

  1. Sheer egoism. Desire to seem clever, to be talked about, to be remembered after death, to get your own back on grownups who snubbed you in childhood, etc., etc. It is humbug to pretend that this is not a motive, and a strong one. Writers share this characteristic with scientists, artists, politicians, lawyers, soldiers, successful businessmen-in short, with the whole top crust of humanity. The great mass of human beings are not acutely selfish. After the age of about thirty they abandon individual ambition and live chiefly for others or are simply smothered under drudgery. But there is also the minority of gifted, willful people who are determined to live their own lives to the end, and writers belong to this class. Serious writers, I should say, are on the whole more vain and self-centered than journalists, though less interested in money.
  2. Esthetic enthusiasm. Perception of beauty in the external world, or, on the other hand, in words and their right arrangement. Pleasure in the impact of one sound on another, in the firmness of good prose or the rhythm of a good story. Desire to share an experience which one feels is valuable and ought not to be missed. Above the level of a railway guide, no book is quite free from esthetic considerations.
  3. Historical impulse. Desire to see things as they are, to find out true facts and store them up for the use of posterity.
  4. Political purpose — using the word “political” in the widest possible sense. Desire to push the world in a certain direction, to alter other people’s idea of the kind of society that they should strive after. Once again, no book is genuinely free from political bias. The opinion that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political attitude
This entry was posted in Our Culture / Ourselves. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Rayne says:

    Ditto — what she said. I came to blogging for a conversation, the kind that couldn’t be duplicated in chat rooms, threads/BBS, IM’s, what have you. I wanted to be able to discuss in depth topics that wouldn’t be discussed with friends; really, how many of us have a circle of acquaintances that seek out and thrive on some of the arcane stuff we discuss in blogs? Is it really politics or ego to hunger for and seek a dynamic form of knowledge?Some of the blogs that attract me the most are those of story-tellers. Books are static, as are magazines; we no longer have access to the late evenings around the fire with our elders recounting tales, true and not. A blogger can be that shaman recounting the past, available at all hours to tell the story and discuss the lessons long afterwards.There is truth in each of Orwell’s points, Dave. But there’s more — and perhaps there’s more to blogging, too.

  2. O RLY YA RLY says:

    On beauty: I know that at our local art academy students are forbidden to use the word beauty. This is meant to make them more concrete, more precise in their language and to stop them using ‘because I say so’ arguments.

  3. O RLY YA RLY says:

    History: I have bad associations with that word too, but for different reasons :)

Comments are closed.