Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Pseudonym as Synonym

Pseudonymously yours. In my small blogging circle of friends, there has been a good deal of energy spilt these past few days on the issue of pseudonyms and quasi-anonymity. I say a good deal of energy, because though much of it has been spent by me, ever the scientist, I can't quantify the actual number of posts, or bloggers involved. We each will make our own choices, for what serves our purposes best. I respect those who remain anonymous as well as those who shed that raiment.

Some of my friends on this blog have commented that my pseudonymity doesn't mask my personality, nor diminish my genuineness. I hope not. I confess my pseudonym here is in large measure calculated to permit me a degree of honesty that my real name publicly on the web might hinder. I have a public face on the web (several in fact). I've maintained a near-constant web presence, under my real name, since about 1994. As I've said here before, I am not jealous of my identity. What I wish to avoid is for a websearch of my real name, likely by a stranger wishing to learn more about me or uncover dirt, to turn up this blog.

But for me, as Ianqui reflected in My Alter Ego and as the comments by New Kid on the Hallway and Sheepish affirmed, the pseudonym permits me to speak frankly of my insecurities, my fears, my doubts, which my public face to the world might hide.

I think about our social interactions. There is some truth in the stance of epistemic solipsism. In a sense, are we not all anonymous to each other? The point is, we never really know what is inside another person's mind. Even language permits us only a glimpse, as our idiolects differ by degree from others. Think of my use of jealous above. I prefer its secondary or tertiary meaning, but I risk being misunderstood when I do so.

Others have remarked in the past that I do a good job of shielding the specifics of my research on this blog, that from my posts they'd have had no idea what my [field 1] and [field 2] in reality are. I fear however, if I professed those details here, it might make my experience just a little bit less accessible to others. This blog is in large part a reflection of my personal situation, but it would lose a great deal if it failed to serve as well as mirror for others looking on.

Years ago, when I was more romantic than today, and perhaps even more foolish, I devised a definition of love that said in part love is seeing in others a reflection of oneself. The aim of serving as looking glass, enabling others to see themselves, is a worthy and giving one, and one towards which I aspire in these posts. If the looking glass is too much self-portrait, our shared characteristics might become too obscure.

And so,
I remain pseudonymously yours,

Articulate Dad

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great post. I particularly like the idea that we're all more or less anonymous to everyone else since we can't know what's in other people's minds.