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Tips for Good Writing

Third Millennium Narcissus (Francesco Galgani's art, December 21, 2021)
(Third Millennium Narcissus, December 21, 2021, go to the art gallery)

Words create reality, so good writing creates good reality.

The writing I'm referring to here is "exploratory": the human being is a wanderer, an explorer, a being who moves forward by trial and error. There are no "experts" in anything because every path of knowledge requires doubt and error. Intuition does not follow logical paths, as it arrives directly at its destination. Emotions and feelings push us in different directions; they make us fall, they make us stand up, they make us act. The human mind is the place of chaos, like a small universe that reflects the big universe: mind and universe are in the same way, or maybe they are the same thing.

We are a mystery and, above all, a plurality: there is no "single human being," there is no "person." There is no individuality detached from everything else.

Starting from these assumptions, I try to imagine some tips for good writing. I mean a writing habit that can help us answer two questions: "who we are?" and "how to live together?".

An old saying goes: «Three things we should ask ourselves before speaking. The first: "Are these words true?". The second: "Are they necessary?". The third: "Are they kind?". If they are true, necessary, and kind, they deserve to be spoken.». This saying is probably a short form of the Socrates' Triple Filter Test.

1. Reality or inclusiveness?

"Yesterday I saw a terrible scene: a big wolf-dog - but maybe it was a wolf - trying to bite a little girl. This one didn't dare to run away because she knew that the animal was much faster than her. To defend herself, she first gave it a sort of blanket, already in tatters, to bite on. Then, seeing that the wolf did not give up, she tried to distract it by throwing away the ball it was playing with: this happened two or three times. Finally, the little girl, terrified, while the other one was attacking the ball, hid behind a tree, but in vain... I don't know how it ended because I ran away to get help".


"Yesterday, I saw a delightful scene: a little girl playing with a wolf-dog that was bigger than her. They were trying to tear a tattered old blanket from each other, but I could see that the dog was pulling slowly so the little girl wouldn't fall. Then she started throwing a ball at it, and it would run to catch it: this happened two or three times until the little girl hid behind a tree, and the dog pretended for a while not to see her... At a certain distance, there was another child who wanted to play too, but someone must have called him back because at a certain point he ran away".

It's the same story, from two perspectives that are both legitimate.

Does "reality" exist, or are there as many realities as possible observers and points of view?

Wanting to affirm a particular reality while firmly denying all others is divisive. Division gives birth to fears, anxieties, weakness, arrogance, violence, disease. The division makes us stupid, and the union makes us smarter. The more we divide, the worse we live. It's like a group of friends making music together. Not even one concert would succeed if each musician played without considering all the others (and possible mutual mistakes).

Everything works well when we seek harmony, not a war to distinguish us from each other.

2. Necessity or creativity?

We human beings are creative and social. We need to dialogue to explore new paths and understand ourselves, and, above all, because we strongly need other human beings. Dialogue is not just an exchange of information: it is a mutual growth path. Writing is, first of all, a dialogue with oneself and, only afterward, with those who will read. In this way, we can also dialogue with people far away in time and space.

From this point of view, all motivations for starting a dialogue can be good, except two: "trying to convince someone of something" and "imposing one's will." In other words: persuasive communication is the only kind of communication that, instead of advancing us in awareness, blocks the human evolution of both the speaker and the listener. The disasters and falsehoods of advertising and political communication are examples of this.

Persuasive, self-centered communication is that one of wars and death.
Exploratory and open to one's mistakes communication is that one of life.

Just a reminder: Narcissus killed himself because he could only look at himself.

3. Kindness or empathy?

Can a termination letter be kind?
Can words of contempt for the choices and emotions of others be kind?
Is politically correct (but ethically corrupt) language kind?

Perhaps, more than choosing our words well, we should also put ourselves in others' shoes, not just our own. Performing a miracle is not about transforming the world but changing perspective.

(December 21, 2021)