Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community
Any reflective writer - including me - must face self-doubts about being relevant and accurate. Vicki Davis, in a really nice post capturing this feeling, cites Phillip Yancy: "Every day a writer must cope with a deep-seated paranoia: I have nothing to say, I've said it all before, I'm a fake and a hypocrite, I write in cliches..." I think this sort of self-doubt is a necessary prelude to any creative act, and a useful check against thinking too much of one's own words. But there is a danger of letting it overwhelm you. Thoreau: "Public opinion is a weak tyrant compared with our own private opinion. What a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines or rather indicates his fate... the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." There is only one way to avoid this fate: I question myself every day, vigorously, but then I step beyond that questioning, and fearlessly assert what I have come to believe.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada
stephen@downes.ca

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Last Updated: Mar 30, 2021 08:50 a.m.