Saturday, September 17, 2005

What's on your...primary document?

As y'all know (or should know), I'm a History major. This means that I do a lot of reading of private books-journals, diaries, personal letters-to find the past within them.

So I was thinking about my personal journal (no, not my blog...the one I actually write in occasionally with, y'know, a pen...), which I use for detailing private things that I need to get out on paper but don't want to share with the whole wide world (the www..;) ). Could my journal be used as a primary document for a historian? (Not a biographer...) Do I describe world shattering events, politics, or natural disasters? I write about personal "world shattering events," many of which are not so world shattering...I write about the politics of my personal surroundings, and I don't think I've ever included an entry on the weather!

That's not to say that I think my journal is so important that people will later write papers on it (at least I really really hope they won't...). It's just a comparison. In years past ('s the Miniver Cheevyism again...), what went on it the world around them was so important to peoples' lives that they wrote about it in their most personal accounts. Now we are (or at least I am) so self-centered that the only world we care about is the one within our ד' אמות.

Just something to think about...


defen said...

Extremely interesting viewpoint.
Something to think about, indeed.

Or maybe our personal journals (yes, the pen ones, gasp) are our way of escaping current events. Perhaps we have become so exposed to different news-relaying media that we choose not to discuss what's going on in the world when spending private time "with ourselves."

leati said...

"I don't think I've ever included an entry on the weather!" sure?

TRW said...

Defen: Very good point. We're news overwhelmed.

Leati: In my PERSONAL journal, no. In my journal that gets mailed to you, probably ;)

BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

Very interesting point.

A journal is indeed a private, often personal account of one's life. If it were intended otherwise, it might take on a different form.