Chilean Senator Fernando Flores has been an active promoter of blogs in Chile. He's introduced them in a serious context. In this interview, he reflects about blogs, posts, comments, opinions, and how to build progressive common worlds through language.
Fernando, lets talk about your blog and its difference from other types of blogs?
On occasions people write to me and ask, why don’t you give opinions on your blog, others complain about why I “copy and paste”?
The main feature of my blog is to disclose worlds, so I can bring into the blog issues with out making an opinion. My work is to disclose, not to be an opinionated person. My policy is not to give opinions. I choose themes, and even if I have a negative opinion of them, I have selected them because I think them important, worth mentioning to share them with others. I believe other people do other things, they have biased opinions, it’s not the style of my blog and not the style of me as a senator.
I think that I am good at watching what goes on in the world, so I share issues that I discern as important, within a certain line. So, I share 4 or 5 themes such as technology, education, digital vanguard. I read around 1000 posts per day; where I find a lot to share. I do a selection labour and a lot of readers appreciate it. The other reason for doing “cut and paste” is that I am a Senator and I don’t have time to write five articles per day.
Another phenomenon is that at times I post the complete text, and readers ask me, why don’t you just post the link? My readers are still in a junior stage of blogs, so if I only post the link, they will not click it, and the link will get lost, therefore, I feel obliged to post the full article.
Blogs must have a purpose, oriented to a community of readers that you are trying to reach. I do not have a diary blog, or a senator news blog, or a senator's opinion blog. I have not used my blog for political issues, even though -I am part of the power structure of the country – its not my way of blogging.
What would be the style of your blog?
Well, it is not only about posting, you need to have a strategy. And in this strategy there is always a permanent question mark, as we do not know which will be the events that will feed this strategy, what things are going to happen in the world.
For me, the blog philosophy is similar to editing a magazine. I have to be at the service of my readers and my potential readers and to write for their mentality, rather than just write for myself. There is a tension between writing for personal interest and writing for the reader’s mentality. That depends on the style that you have. I write for the mentality of my readers.
I would like to ask you about your point of view regarding comments and opinions?
I think people should think about on what is to give an opinion. Written language is more reflective than oral language. In oral language people tend to give fewer reasons on what they are saying. In the written language people give more reasons, about the things they say. It is a much deeper phenomenon, it is the ontological discussion between statements and judgments. People do not know that opinions belong to the family of judgments and therefore they cannot ask for evidence to settle them. On the other hand, affirmations can be settled through evidence. Every time we make a judgment we risk something. If you said that a person is talking bullshit, people can ask you, ‘why did you say that? And if you don’t have an answer, you will appear to be the “bullshitter.”
The bullshitter is the person who talks and is not careful with what he or she is saying, but that's not the same as being a liar. Bullshit says things as real without checking if they are true, they don’t care if that is going to affect others; it build castles in the air. The judgment of the liar is different, because the liar does give false statements knowing they are false. This is a failure of sincerity.
An example of this is the Google and China issue. Several people have judged Google, as if judging is the main matter. I believe that what is relevant is the fact itself and the recognition of it as an ethic dilemma. It is not an easy decision to abandon China. China, as any nation, has a principle of sovereignty therefore you have to negotiate trade agreements the best way possible. Anyway that’s good for China. I dare to say this now, as I had formed this opinion through all the discussion. Before, my opinion might have been a quick reaction. Quick reactions can become negative judgment.
The bull shittter makes careless promises, careless statements, (without evidence) but they dont have the deceit of the liars. It also happens with promises which cannot be denied through evidence, there’s always a gap, in the moment a promise is made and in the moment the promise gets achieved. If the gap is not defined ahead, that takes you into a bullshitter attitude. There is also the liar who makes promises knowing beforehand that he has no intention of achieving them.
Language has two components, one part of language represents reality and other part has to do with inventing worlds with another. The invention of worlds is done through offers, promises, requests, and statements. When a post is written, what the person is really doing is offering, promising, requesting and declaring. These conversations open the possibilities of building a collective world together. When these four actions are made carelessly (without evidence) and like biased opinions, they do not contribute to build a world together.
The concept of bullshit, is a reference from the book, “On Bullshit”, Harry G. Frankfurt. The book was on the table while the interview was taking place.