From the Merriam-Webster online dictionary: ta·bu·la ra·sa nounˌta-byə-lə-ˈrä-zə, -sə plural ta·bu·lae ra·sae Definition of TABULA RASA 1: the mind in its hypothetical primary blank or empty state before receiving outside impressions 2: something existing in its original pristine state Origin of TABULA RASA Latin, smoothed or erased tablet First Known Use: 1535
It is the new year, our annual slate-clearing fete rife with certain promise and a dire hope for a better tomorrow. It is no coincidence that I chose this day to ring the bells and melt the wax on my own virtual tablet, welcoming you in to a new online home.
In philosophy there is a theory, the tabula rasa, that we are born with no personal mental content, but that we must gain ourselves through perception and experience. This is a theory similar in kind to my own muddled sense of self:
If you want to know something I believe, I believe this: only when we are very first born are we completely ourselves. After that we become a compilation of everyone and everything surrounding us. Ourselves are then a conglomerate of experience.
We are unique in the way a stone is unique.
Think of it this way–you are a flake of mud tripping down a hill gathering dust, pollen, dew and all the while you are changing, growing, experiencing. This is the self we understand within ourselves. (from “Moving” published April 29, 2011 on Penny Jar)
Thinking of the “blank slate” as a lifetime proposition to continually fill and rediscover, it is hard to see one year turning over to another as a broad statement of change, but like scenes in a novel, they gather and build, each segment necessary to the next.
It isn’t until the end that we get the big A-Ha!
I like to think of this blog as a kind of blank slate. Over the course of the last year there has been incredible change in my writing life, personally and functionally. My biggest hope is to nurture that change in such a way that I am able to give back to the community of writers and artists that have given so freely of themselves.
Time and again I see proof that the only way to make anything worthwhile happen is to help others make it too.
I have a few vague ideas that I will outline more clearly in the days to come, but I’d also love to hear from you. If I could do any one thing for you, what would it be?