Blogging Is Thinking More

There I was, taking a break from writing some thoughts on health reform and its limitations, when I saw a tantalizing entry in Y Combinator’s Hacker News list: “Writing Is Thinking.”

We’ve all heard it before, but in typical blogosphere sensationalist style Pete Michaud takes it one step further:

If you’ve never written anything thoughtful, then you’ve never had any difficult, important, or interesting thoughts. That’s the secret: people who don’t write, are people who don’t think.

I agree with the general flavor of what Michaud is getting at. Writing definitely enhances thinking. But that one can’t think without it is a bit strong. So, I would put it differently. I don’t think it is true that one has to write to have difficult, important, or interesting thoughts. But I think it is true that it is (a) hard to know the full extent of such thoughts without writing, and (b) the basis for any such thoughts will be dramatically strengthened through the writing process.

Moreover, (c) it is far easier to spread the thoughts widely through writing (and blogging). In fact Michaud just did so, and so am I. He and others can see the results of our thoughts and react to them. That feedback itself may enhance and advance our thinking. Maybe we should say blogging is thinking or an enhancement of it, at least insofar as to maximally benefit from (c).

In addition to this post (and others), the very document I turned from to write it illustrates the benefits to thinking of writing and blogging. I have some difficult, important, and interesting thoughts on the limitations of and threats to health reform even if it passes. But I don’t know exactly how all the thoughts will hang together until I write them down. That’s what I was doing. I’m confident I could state them verbally and get the argument largely right. That’s pretty good and it can be done without writing. But the writing process will make it much better. Some version of the result will appear here. Then it will be a complete thought, or at least a blogo-thought (a blought?).

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