Monthly Archives: August 2011

To Lead is to Follow–Wait, What?

This post is in response to The Daily Post’s Topic #222: do you prefer to lead or follow?

This last school year has been a lesson in leadership.

I like to think that I prefer to follow. I’m always following something–rules, teachers, parents, siblings, friends–sometimes to the point where it can cause problems with other people. But I’ve also always thought of myself as completely independent in some respects–my responsibilities to myself and other people.

Yes, I realize that having responsibilities to other people is a form of following. In fact, that’s exactly what I’ve always thought of it. I don’t see myself as a leader–I never have, and probably never will. But it’s my commitment to other people that has led others to see me as a leader, and–to my surprise–a good one at that.

In my opinion, helping somebody, whether it be because of a mutual desire or friendship–or both–is not a form of leadership, but a sort of partnership. While I might help a friend learn their music, I don’t see them as inferior; rather, they are my equal. Maybe they don’t read their music as quickly, or maybe they struggle with math or history in ways that I don’t. But chances are they have something I can also never have, something equally as important in their lives. Maybe they can draw, or sing, or dance. Maybe they’re better at math, or science, or history. It reminds me of something my mother always told me: “Whatever you do in life, there’s always someone that’s better.”

If my commitment to other people in helping them reach their goals has caused others to see me as a leader, then so be it. But I have to wonder–is that really what a leader is? Someone who will follow others, help them, not because they know they themselves will gain from it, but because they honestly care for the person being helped? Someone who prefers to follow or move on his or her own, but will lead in little ways if given the chance? A person who can’t stand the idea of ever being superior to someone else? That’s certainly far from being in the middle–but is that person a leader, or a follower?
And what of politics? Are these people really leaders, who see themselves as so far above the rest of the populace? Who do things for a commonality, rather than one person at a time? What’s the good of majority if everyone is supposed to have equal rights?

What good is any leader if they hold themselves so far above everyone else that the only opinion anyone can have of them is that they’ve decided to play god?

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Posted by on August 17, 2011 in Contemplations, Controversial Topics


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The Price of Anonymity

This post was written in response to The Daily Post’s Topic #220.

By definition, I do not blog anonymously. This is why.

As you can see, by not fitting any definition of the term “anonymous,” it is therefore impossible for me to blog anonymously. I am not pretending to be no one; rather, I use a pseudonym for the simple reason that I have no desire to reveal to other people any other name, be it real or not. (And one can always argue that since I use a name, it must be real.)

That, of course, is the short answer. If you are only interested in a direct answer to the question provided, I suggest you stop here. Why? Because of this:

The Long Medium-Length Answer

A pseudonym is not really anonymity, because we can still attach a name to any number of people (the most common is one or two). It can be helpful to the readers: for example, Pittacus Lore, author of I Am Number Four, is not one but two people, only one of which had enough reputation at the time of publication to turn heads. And a collaboration is about equal contribution–it wouldn’t be fair if only one of the authors got real consideration. There’s also the fact that the name “Pittacus Lore” is both strange and pronounceable enough to remember easily, which can be an issue as far as advertising goes.

Needless to say, I didn’t choose my name because of that. I have no interest in providing a pseudonym for works outside of this blog which I publish officially, and can do so under my given name. But I’m also not advertising those works here (at least not yet). So here I am, with a pseudonym.

But why, you ask, do you use a pseudonym on a blog, but not in official publications?

Because I have no particular interest in advertising myself as myself. Because if I don’t know someone in real life, I really don’t feel like giving them a Google-able name. And yes, my given name is Google-able. Most are. If you don’t believe me, try searching a random name. I won’t guarantee it’ll get you the person you want (for the record, “John Smith” is an insanely common name), but you’ll probably get something. For the sake of consistency, I’d like all my blogging under one name, and all publication under a different name.

Does this get confusing? Nope. If I really wanted to be anonymous, I wouldn’t sign my name to anything. By definition, I couldn’t sign any name to anything. And that, as anyone can guess, is extremely limiting when it comes to copyright issues.

Really, there’s not much else to say.

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Posted by on August 15, 2011 in Uncategorized


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