Back to the question of, “What are we doing here?” I say “we” to include the reader, as a good social scientist would. I am supposed to be working on determining the focus of Volume Two of this year-long blog.
As I said yesterday and three days before that, I have been thinking about the business of journal writing. I said I would be examining how this project is an exercise in journal making and exploring the process.
This blog is a form of journal writing, and it is a personal project mostly about personal development, though shared and done from a particular approach. The first volume set out to write about my life from a positive standpoint. While doing that stage of blogging, I examined what positive thinking is and how I was writing from a positive thinking perspective. I was able to define positive thinking and come up with my own concept of it. I then was able to pull out some practical actions people can take in adopting a positive thinking approach to daily life, and I wrote down all 40 that I had thought of up to that point in order to study and share them.
In social science, the researcher would reflect on and establish his or her own ontology. That is, the research would consciously expose who she is as a person and a person doing research, the context in which she is researching, the context in which she researches and writes, and then spell out the concepts, definitions and assumptions being employed. That is, a particular outlook is determined and articulated, and it is connected to a theoretical base.
At this point and for the purpose of carrying out this blogging project successfully, given that it is not an academic or scientific exercise, but merely an attempt at self-improvement, I see no reason to discuss and choose a theory for this work. I do have a theoretical framework from previous academic work, however. In terms of explaining the cognitive, linguistic, and social development of a person, it is activity theory. According to this theory, cognitive and linguistic development happen together through the same process of social interaction motivated by need that creates a set of social relationships and conceptual and linguistic framework, which we can call by one term, culture. In terms of a community’s formation and relationship with the larger society, I use political economy theory informed by Marxism. Activity theory is also informed by Marxism. There, I have admitted my theoretical bias and modus operendi, and named it here. You will have to look up those theories if you have not come across them before. I do not think it a propos to discuss theory in relation to this work of blogging from a positive thinking perspective right now, but that framework does inform and affect my idea of positive thinking and form and substance of this blog.
No, for now, I wish to examine my method, which is personal blogging on a theme of positive thinking that is developing a strategy for employing positive thinking in daily living. I have just stated that the method is embedded in a conceptual framework, which is attached to a theoretical basis, and, by the way, the theoretical basis is necessarily attached to a political commitment, if you haven’t guessed that already. That said, I want to concentrate on reflecting about the method of blogging, which I have stated is a form of journal writing.
For now, I want to reflect on this process of journal writing using what I have so far established as my positive thinking approach. To that end, let us consider what a process is. I think it is the dialectical relationship between thought and action. The set of ideas and the activity by which they are employed respond to each other’s development and develop together. That means that the ideas develop through action, and the action develops through thought. They are both developing simultaneously. The thought changes through the activity, and the activity changes through thought. Through the activity of writing this blog about my daily activity, and starting with an idea of positive thinking, the form and content of this blog is evolving. I see the blogging more clearly as a method and I am aware of what kind of method it is because I have been doing it and thinking about it while doing it. I have refined my notion of positive thinking, and realized some practical actions to take so as to behave more positively in all realms of daily life because I have been doing it and thinking about it while doing it. That is the process.
A process is continued action over time. The free online Miriam Webster Dictionary defines the word “process” this way: a series of actions that produce something or that lead to a particular result; and, secondly, a series of changes that happen naturally. Dictionary.com defines it like this:
“a (1) systematic series of actions directed to some end: to devise a process for homogenizing milk; and (2).a continuous action, operation, or series of changes taking place in a definite manner: the process of decay.”
My blog writing is a process. It is directed toward a specific end, which is living positively. Change is desired and sought through immediate action, with a view to new action farther into the future. It is continuing over time, daily for up to a year. As blog writing is a human action involving thought and emotion, it is intended to lead towards change in human action, thought and emotion.