September 29, 2023•836 words
So. The tech is sorted; the blog is up. Good. Now comes the big question that almost always leads to writing paralysis: What will I write about? What will I do here? Yes, this blog is my public exploration of existential questions, but how exactly will I do that?
Let me think out loud here:
1. Stream of consciousness: I have moments where my mind is occupied by thoughts whose origin is unclear. It's me talking to myself—my true inner voice. Wherever this comes from, it helps me understand what's going on deep inside. Thoughts, observations, and reflections. I will document those here. Unfiltered.
2. The starting point: Sometimes, I find it helpful to document what exactly I think or feel about a specific question at a particular moment. Take the question: Does God exist? I'm an atheist, so I've obviously thought about this. But if I write down why, I may not recall all the elements that led me to this belief. I may not remember the specific lines from a specific book that left a deep impression on me to form this belief.
This lack of completeness is why I hesitate to share my thoughts on these Big Questions. Here, I will try to break free of that hesitation and document whatever comes to mind, however immature, naive, or uninformed. After all, writing is an exercise in becoming a little less ignorant.
The "starting point" blogs will serve two more purposes. One, they will reveal gaps in my understanding and ideas I struggle to articulate. Two, over time, they will help me track how my thought has evolved.
3. Reflecting on books: I do take notes from books I read, but not from all of the books that I read. It's not about notes, actually. More like: now that I know these ideas and facts, what does it mean for me? How does this new knowledge enhance my understanding? I will write about that. Reading books and reflecting on how it shapes my understanding of the Big Questions.
Honestly, this is time-consuming: read the book, or re-read the old book, then spend time contemplating, and then translate all of that into words. If you've done this, you'd know it's easier to take book summaries, but it's hard to derive meaning. A lot of thinking is needed. But that's what ultimately matters. Given the stakes are existential, I better do this.
I mean, the username of this blog — "No Exit" — comes from a play by French existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre. I loved it. So, writing about it is a must for me. Similarly, I want to delve into books like "The Blind Watchmaker" by Richard Dawkins. Stuff like that.
4. Reflecting on art: This is an extension of the previous point. I derive a lot of meaning in life from art: literature, music, and cinema. It was not always so — so I will write about how I got here, and why art now means so much to me. But separately, I will reflect on characters I read about in books that spoke to me. Same for movies. I watched Tarkovsky's Stalker (1979) and Bergman's The Seventh Seal (1957) recently, both of which touch on deep existential themes. I have read about them after watching, but they absolutely deserve deeper thought and my reflections. Which is a great way to get closer to finding my answers.
5. Videos, podcasts, blogs, Reddit: Everything doesn't have to be original thought or my reflections. I also want to document stuff others have said across media platforms that speak to me. For example, earlier this week, I discovered this amazing resource called Closer To Truth which has such an amazing exploration of existential themes. The host goes around and asks the smartest thinkers about the ultimate questions. I have watched a few videos, and each gave me so much to think about. So notes from those videos will help. And sometimes, I just find the most profound insights on Reddit, and I will pull out the striking ones.
The key thing to remember is this: Samarth's Existential Diary (i.e. this blog) isn't about reaching conclusive answers; it's an honest exploration. All sorts of ideas are welcome here—be they weird or half-baked. The goal is for my thinking to evolve through the act of writing.
Picture this: thoughts in my head are like a room that hasn't been tidied in months—you know, where you can't even find your shorts because they're stuffed in a study table drawer. It's all a bit chaotic. The idea of cleaning up feels overwhelming, almost paralysing, because where do you even start?
But just as taking action—any action—can lead to a cleaner room over time, writing can help organise these scattered thoughts. It's not an instant fix; things will still be messy as I go along, like a room in the midst of spring cleaning.
The idea is to gradually bring some order to the chaos and gain clearer insights into life's Big Questions.