— The ANTIblog Manifesto —
The State We’re In
(Wo)man is born free and everywhere (s)he is chained to the trite.
We spend much our brief time on this planet sifting through layer upon layer of banality. The tacky, wasteful and utterly mundane fill us up, weigh us down and have brought us to bulging emptiness. In such a setup, even if we set out looking for the cream, we’ll always end up drinking far more milk than is necessary.
Our lives have taken on the role of giant filters: spewed into at one end, struggle to stay afloat while processing it all, sort the lesser junk from the truly not worthwhile. If we have the time and patience, we pan through to a few shiny kernels we separate from the slop, excreting the rest back into the nondescript flow from whence it came.
We’ve been doing this so long it has become second nature. Where once roamed expansive, curious creatures now sit bloated beings so settled they’ve even given up on exploring the space inside their remarkable Homo sapiens skull work. The very same space that in times past provided the thoughts: Why don’t I rub these two twigs together?; And if I took my boat and headed West?; But if I could somehow split the atom?.
Lofty thoughts, but just some indications of what this thing called human is capable of. And if you’re reading this, odds are you yourself are human. Should that be the case, we would hazard a guess that you’ve come equipped with a pretty nifty piece of skull work of your own.
Check in on it, knock on wood, or take a micromoment to think about the 50 tasks your cerebral powerhouse is performing just now. Once you’ve established there is indeed evidence to suggest that said apparatus is there, do us a favor: use it to think. Can you manage? Now you’re at 51.
Aches a little, doesn’t it? We know it’s hard. We know you’ve learnt to get by just fine without, but try to keep it up, just for us. But let’s make a deal – don’t add the extra task to the rest. Stay at 50, exchange it for something you were doing just now. Still following? Okay, let’s go.
Now that you’ve clicked pause on Cats Do the Darndest Things or tipped your flat screen onto the parquet, we would like to tell you a secret. We want to tell you a secret about thoughts…
The Human Apparatus
…All the human thinking that has ever been done in this world, and has ever produced anything, has been done by you. Even those incendiary thoughts that harnessed fire and split atoms. Some other humans happened to think these thoughts before you were born, but they are still yours. All you need to do is claim yourself as the rightful owner.
Indeed, you’re so formidably equipped in the skull work department that to stake your claim, you needn’t even sit and ponder such thoughts. No need to analyse how or why they came about, just take a look around. Stop this very second and take a look around you.
Everything you see. Every. Single. Thing. Has gotten there through human thinking. Or, if not, you’ve come to that environment by employing human thought. Even intangible things, like the methods or conceptual structures guiding our civilization, have all come, at some point, from human thought. Someone first thought them, so that they could become ‘real’ and have a bearing on the world. Everything you do today, and did yesterday, is governed or guided by human thought, at least conceptually.
And being such a powerful being, all it takes for you to excel is to decide that you want to put your own individual thoughts in there, too. You want to have at the center of your time here on this planet what you and your particular cranium bring to the table.
Try it, you’re as worthy as they come. Start with that look around. What did you see?
We can’t tell you the specifics, but we’re sure much of it stemmed from man. And we can add: every person who made, conceptualized or even said the things you see or hear around you were working with more or less the exact same apparatus as you. That particular collection of brains, bones and chemicals you were lucky enough to find in your human starter pack on your birthday.
Sure, some might be smarter. Or taller or braver. But it’s the same ballpark, no? A lemon to a lime, say. Composed of 99% the same genetic material, but with a little skew this way or that. And even that’s great news, you’re encouraged to use your skew: anyone who has ever had any thoughts at all – great or small – has by definition brought their own particular take to the equation.
Surely that’s your best bet? Be the thing that only you can bring to this world: you!
No need to believe the homogenizing lies that surround us, there’s simply nobody like you. So don’t go trying to convince us that all those who ever changed the path of our species were bananas and you’ve somehow managed to end up a plum. Biologically speaking, you don’t have a femur to stand on.
Because the truth is we are all these wondrous things named ‘humans’ – all infinite as f.
So infinite, we’re not even sure where we’ll end up. A decade goes by and we think That must be it now, there’s no way forward from here. And what happens? Jet planes! BOOM! Antibiotics! BOOM! Working online (in your pajamas)! BOOM! (BOOM!)
And you did that! All of it. Every single thing ever thought or done by anyone was done by you, infinite human.
So, do tell. We want to know…How did you become so chained to the bland? So steeped in unoriginality.
My guess is that you fell into set patterns. We all do. That’s what makes us human, too. We not only break boundaries and adapt rapidly, moving swiftly on our path, we also quickly snuggle in once the path has been cut deep enough. Indeed, we’re so adaptable we sometimes get snuggled even if the path isn’t particularly cozy. It may just be one that seemed convenient.
Many of us are there, on such paths, not quite sure how we got here – and in fact even barely noticing we are here. There are so many of us doing it that, after a while, we end up simply treading the same paths. Over and over. Wearing away the same old ways, no matter how worn out we, and the paths, have become.
But over, and over, and over. And over. Do this. Buy this. Click that. Think that.
It’s not even our fault, these are just things a human will do. But does it all have to be like that?
If you’re even the smallest bit fed up, or have an inkling there might be more, then our current situation is not unchangeable. How could it be? After all, isn’t it us, humans, who have brought us this way? Stopping the flood of waste will not be easy, but carving out a little corner free from sludge is quite doable.
The expansion of the Internet Era means the weight of triteness under which we swoon is getting heavier by the day. But luckily this epoch is due to last a long time. That means we have time to change, to mold and enjoy other forms, and embed the new blogging paradigm. But it is best we make the changeover as quick as we can; if you find your life is pumped full of the banal, take action now – or don’t be surprised when the sea of triteness floods you further.
To enact change, we must first see very clearly our role in the current setup. Make no mistake about it: we are perpetuating these tired paths, tramping the trite deep into the threadbare way. But we must become aware that this is just the situation right now, and that each moment we are actively creating the paths that keep us trapped (by following the paths that keep us trapped). Alongside this awareness comes the question Should we continue to cut these paths?
We are the active agents here: if humans won’t cut paths fit for humans, who will?
This is the reason that there will always be the need for revolution. Circumstances will naturally call for exactly what revolution embodies. In a very literal sense, turn around so as to come to a new point on the chart. Even if that means finding ourselves back at the starting place – if we see it with new eyes, having gone through the full 360°, then it’s not the same place. The march of time helps here, too, things never happen the same way twice.
Embrace: seize and shake. But don’t cling on, march on.
We must find a way to execute the turn, even if we don’t know how or (say we) don’t care. And especially if we are just plain afraid of ways unknown: humans will always be drawn between this fear and the equally deep-seated need to induce change. It’s a dilemma we face simply on account of being of this species, each one of us feels the teetering. We want to move forward, but we are scared of moving forward.
So, we wait until others do it for us, then follow in the path they’ve cut. But somebody must cut through, otherwise that particular path never gets opened and we all just continue in the wheel of sameness. This is how we’ve gotten to where we are today, this fear-ambition binary naturally brings our path. A small proportion of the human race opens a path, those quick to follow quickly follow, then the horde meanders, or is herded, in. By the time the last of the stragglers and slow wits get to the top of the path, the line of advance has long since been switched to another and they are to switch now, too – and begin playing catch-up all over again. In this way, we move forward.
Perhaps ‘muddle forward’ is more accurate, but whatever the phrasing, in the grand scheme, we continue our path as a species. The travelling circus called the human race plods on, spilling and brimming in all directions, rolling towards who knows where in disorderly fashion.
The system has emerged over millennia. There are always people insightful or brave enough to cut the path. Always those quick to follow, getting in while the going is good. And always people behind who eventually cotton on and believe, buy, obey what the quick-to-follows want them to (and which were earlier believed, bought or obeyed, after those ahead cut the way through).
As for the path cutters, like all good pioneers they are usually more interested in continuing on and cutting new paths than slowly selling and dictating to those too dim-witted to do anything but trudge well-beaten ways. For them, the only real race is between what they can do in this life and when this life will end – at the highest level. When what you have to do has long ago been overtaken by what you are able to do, you yourself, or your death, become the only worthy competitor.
Choosing to Choose
But let it be clear, everyone on the path, the cutter, the follower, the trudger, they’re all playing off the same base. All 100% just human, with roughly the same tools available to each. Some are just choosing to use their toolkit in a manner more conducive to expansion – or quickly embracing and profiting from expansion. But the rest are choosing too, even if their choice is only to put off making any choice at all and instead be pulled along by the swell.
In this case, fear is often the choice. You choose to fear instead of expand, or you choose to not choose and so are late into the groove, where upon arrival you find the choice has already been made for you. The bad news is that more often than not what those ahead have chosen for the throng to believe, buy, obey is just more of exactly that: fear. Grade A trepidation chopped and synthesized into all manner of forms and channels.
Every single second of our life, we are making a choice. If you want to, this very moment you can embrace something different, something new to you, and which is perhaps even the complete revolution of the choice you made just a moment ago. Or didn’t make, and which future events will show was made for you. Let moment after moment pass one into the next without realizing it much and you’ll find that more and more matters are out of your control. So, again we ask you to stop and take a look around. But this time make a choice.
Why stay chained?
The ANTIblog is created by writers whom set themselves to being the change they wish for the world. They are driven to do their part to alleviate the general human emergency we have wandered into. To enable this, the ANTIblog is focused toward the One Aim. So as to help us change course, this aim is, from the outset, to:
Break the chains of the mundane.
The purpose of the ANTIblog is to help unhook humans from the links weighing them down. An open approach and a broad field of awareness is used to sever the hollow clasps hemming us in. In their place are put easily borne, natural bonds that broaden the scope of the reader and draw on the ideas that everything is connected and that humans can uplift each other – change achieved in one area will feed into and produce broader change.
But because we are drowning in such a vast sea of triteness, achieving the One Aim is a tricky task to navigate. The tide will have to be stemmed before it can be turned. And since all action produces reaction, there is no way we can achieve the One Aim while disproportionately adding, even unintentionally, to the flow of junk. So, to avoid making matters worse, or causing setbacks that might dull the effects of forward steps, the ANTIblogger must abide by the Primary Guideline:
Employ constant awareness and reappraisal.
As they write, the ANTIblogger regularly asks themselves: Will this take from the load? In its respective zone of influence, the ANTIblog looks to liberate: the aim is to uplift, so if a piece is more likely to burden the reader than advance them, it is not published.
Three Guiding Principles
The One Aim is lofty, but high aims are made up of smaller components. The Three Guiding Principles provide guidance for achieving the One Aim. They serve as the ANTIblogger’s tools, and their effective employment allows constant hacking away at the higher goal. For sculpting the ANTIblog, they are the writer’s chisel, mallet and drill.
An effective result will not be achieved by anything but tight, killer content. The ANTIblogger should only look to:
Publish sharp, worthwhile content, without unnecessary filler.
Words used in a succinct and useful manner are the vehicle for achieving the One Aim. These words don’t have to be brief, but each one of them must perform a role, must be necessary and not waste the time of either reader or writer.
These words should be delivered with one eye always on the One Aim and the Primary Guideline – the ANTIblogger keeps in their foremind the related questions Will this content help cut through the trite? and Will it definitely not add to the burden of the human reading it? It’s okay that the words in the moment awaken, shock or stir up feelings, but their intent should be pure and genuinely look to elevate the reader in the long-term. They should encourage them to think and act in a way that will be of benefit to themselves and other humans.
The words of an ANTIblog should both entertain and inspire, and do so in a way that looks to always bring newdom. They must not be used to harp on about (or just follow) what has already been done – or look to hitch a ride on whatever is doing well just now. The ANTIblogger is not interested in the bulge, they look to be the bubble, breaking up old (and generating new) flow rather than hopping into the slipstream.
The ANTIblog need not reinvent the wheel, its topics can be as old as the hills. But the ANTIblogger must always look to engage with the topics in a spontaneous way. They must continuously adapt, look anew, and update in line with where we stand as a species at the precise moment the words are being written. Buzzwords, ‘fresh takes’ or ‘new angles’ are not this. Instead, the ANTIblogger should approach their subject as though it were utterly new to them, as a child sees something for the first time.
If they can do that, the ANTIblogger won’t need to cover old ground or create angles, they will truly see, and this will provide more material than can fit on their site. Artificial angles arising from anywhere other than genuine, spontaneous engagement with the subject or which look to produce a particular, short-lived effect on the reader’s emotions should be avoided – that’s just tired (re)exploitation of the overtired mass and not in line with the Primary Guideline. The ANTIblogger sees spontaneously, letting their writer’s mind flow, they don’t try to see, they just enable sight. They do not feign sight and then eek out an edge, this will only produce content that is stilted in insight and scope.
The ANTIblog is a process of discovery for both reader and writer. A synergetic attempt to move forward, at the heart of which is the simple advice for creating suitable content: Find a way to find you and you will find your flow. If you feel you are potentially an ANTIblogger but can’t write in this way just now, leave it be and work on you. When the right time comes, you’ll nail the job of being that ANTIblogging you, and what you produce will be of true worth. Once able, all the ANTIblogger needs to do is encourage this state, encourage their mind, encourage their heart. If you encourage you to be you, it will flow. On and on.
The ANTIblogger should keep fueling that flow, letting it meander wherever it takes them – because it is their particular path, gauged in terms of themselves, and so the place they ought to venture. The ANTIblogger sticks with this flow, stays true and doesn’t worry about appearing foolish or laying themselves bare. If they do this, it will bring them to levels they never thought they could reach. This will elevate the reader, too, allowing them to feel the connection, feel the humanness – and they will be naturally drawn to the ANTIblog. So, finding a way to flow, sticking with it, and embracing wherever it takes them, the ANTIblogger should:
Interweave topics with clear thinking, deep feeling and articulate wording.
An ANTIblog may end up off topic, but that’s natural. It has not been conceptualized to fill one microniche with as much stuffing as the writer can pack in, it is an effort to give expression to what lies inside the writer, to bring something of worth into the world, and in its respective way genuinely enrich the life of the reader.
The topic of the ANTIblog may be popular or already well covered, but if the ANTIblogger remains true to the Guiding Principles they will find that they naturally produce gripping content that elevates. Their work will give birth to a paradox: sharp content that meanders this way and that yet doesn’t lack precision – and which never loses sight of being worthy of writing and reading. Engaging in this manner, the ANTIblogger taps a flow deeper than just words. But they must help out this deep stream, by consistently opting to:
Provide elevating, fulfilling substance, without immense levels of branding.
The ANTIblogger treads a slender line pitched between doing and being done through, and should allow themselves to glide atop the flow, in an astute manner that lacks tight control. The ANTIblogger lets the flow navigate them, just ensuring that they are steering in the required direction. But even when high on this tide, the ANTIblogger never loses sight of the shoreline mandate: be of service to the reader, don’t expect them to serve your aims.
Most websites are built the wrong way around, they look only for an opening and then set about filling it. This is of course the backbone of the capitalist system, at this point in our development a necessary evil. But the ANTIblogger recognizes that they possess agency and leverage, and that utilizing these attributes will make for better results. If the writer seeks only to fill a hole with a solution, stitching their content together for a fit that perfectly matches the opening, they will not produce an ANTIblog.
The ANTIblogger does not look not to maneuver their site to fill a tiny, precise niche but instead finds a way into the market and once there swerves whichever way feels natural. This may mean exploring the boundaries, plumbing the limits of the niche. Or they can, through spontaneous and meandering yet focused engagement with the topic, pull the niche much wide, creating space in the process.
Ours is a world crammed chock-a-block from left to right, top to bottom. By opening up space the ANTIblogger is already producing an antidote for the way we are living. No need to tie up, or derive maximum material utility from, all the loose ends, they are left dangling over the edge. The ANTIblogger watches the tentacles spread and crawl into the void. Then follows them in.
Words written from a place of solitude, an emptied space, free from the raucous ruckus of modern life, will help the ANTIblogger produce great writing. But the ANTIblogger does not preach. They may consciously retreat, into words, feelings and ideas, so that they can escape the tumultuous haze – and learn to have and hear their own words, feelings and ideas, but they do not insist the reader step out of the clutter and into the emptiness. The main thing is that the ANTIblogger encourages the reader to enable the writer’s tactical withdrawal from the tumult. The ANTIblogger should perform such a retreat for both themselves and the reader, allowing them to be a messenger, serving up the fruit of a space free from constant echoing and reechoing.
Entering into the endeavor with an open heart and following the One Aim, the Primary Guideline and the Three Guiding Principles will produce the ANTIblog form. But to elaborate on this core, the writer also takes the Three Liberties. Doing so adds layers of value onto the structure, while simultaneously supporting their achievement of the One Aim and using correctly the Three Guiding Principles.
The Three Liberties could by themselves be used to produce quality blogs of the traditional form, but in the context of the ANTIblog following them in tangent with the other criteria will enable a harnessing of great symbiotic power. Recommendations on how to achieve a level of personal development conducive to becoming a successful ANTIblogger are forthcoming.
When the ANTIblogger writes, they are a human writing to a fellow human, neither distanced (because they want to impress their opinion), nor over friendly (because they want something from the reader). Their approach is rooted and real, equanimous and natural. The reader is just another human, like the writer, but not the writer; a different version of them, from the same range, just another model. The ANTIblogger is straight with the reader, bringing them on a level-headed journey, and does not get bogged down in what the reader may or may not know. The ANTIblogger takes the liberty to:
Drop detachment, write a human.
The ANTIblogger does not look to monopolize brains or ram-pack every last ounce of understanding onto their site – this would only mean losing or garbling meaning and worth, not conveying it. Instead, they use their theory of mind, see the reader as by extension part of them, and aims for a corresponding tone and level of engagement. This is not a new concept, the ANTIblogger merely brings into manifestation a genuine example of it.
Doing this, it is likely that a lighter tone of engagement will naturally emerge. The ANTIblogger doesn’t have to try for it, the truth rings through, (not least) because their thoughts will gradually cycle, and the writer’s words come to reflect what it is they are doing: sitting by an electronic device typing ciphers into space. Not drowning in the middle of the ocean or levitating above their body to receive the direct feed from the core of the universe. They are simply a human being sitting, relaxed and present, using their body to carry out an act that in the scheme of them and their reader as a species descended from the trees is as near to the perfectly absurd as a monkey cranium can comprehend. The ANTIblogger takes it as it comes, undertaking their tasks with guile and vigor, but for the ANTIblogger to succeed they should:
Be serious without taking yourself or the world seriously, see the ludic fun of it all.
Humor is one of the greatest of our given gifts. And it’s a good thing, too, last time you looked you were on a spinning top of gas that although set in motion 4.54 billion years ago, is still twirling about the place – with no end in sight. (And what’s more, as of yet no comprehensive explanation as to why the top or why the humans spinning alongside.) It’s been going on so long there’s really no point in clinging on for life now, much better to just whirl.
While you are doing so, why not spin fellow humans along, too? We spin you, you spin us, we all reel round. Because surely the take-home point shouldn’t be why we are here but that we are here (together). The ANTIblogger attempts to truly be (and know) this point, while they have the chance. They accept that they’ll be long enough dead. (How we’ll all yearn for even a single-second spin in 100 years’ time.) Now that they happen to find themselves here, the ANTIblogger tries to make the most of it, be human. As an ANTIblogging human, they allow themselves to:
Feel feelings and publish content for human consumption.
This may sound simple. But emotions are hard taskmasters. In any period of longer than thirty seconds, the emotions we feel are constant changing, stirring and humming as layer upon layer stack one atop the other. It’s usually more of a giant churn, constantly cycling away in there somewhere and spinning us around. The ANTIblogger is called not just to listen to feelings but not waste time blocking them, instead letting them flow and contract as they will and, whenever they feel they truly feel a feeling, using that to engage with their work. It is imperative that the ANTIblogger be able to exist in the moment entirely.
The ANTIblogger fuses their words with this feeling and is brave enough to not add layers of varnish after the fact or sew up the text so as to make it more guarded. They allow their raw feeling to seep through. It takes heart, but the ANTIblogger has heart. And so too do the human reading. The ANTIblogger writes in all their humanness, believing in their heart and knowing in their monkey skull work that they are not robot, nor clone, not any machine, but true human, with true splendor inside. Knowing this, they extend the ultimate human tool of words so that they might express this belief and knowledge to other members of the tribe.