Journals and Collective Chaos

Today I begin a weekly series where I describe a key weakness the United States has brought upon itself through neglect, forgetfulness, time crunches or for good reason. Whatever the cause these specific ideas, now left behind, have led to a net loss for the American Culture. – Writer

The Journal. Such an American concept, something so rooted in our psyche it’s become an assignment in High School and something we assume everyone else makes but that we don’t have time for. That is what a journal has become in America, something we can’t quite get to.

No longer do we use Journals to deposit knowledge, nor do we attempt to inform our children on how to keep them. They’ve become something that exists but not necessarily something we understand how to keep or how to use. Journals have an intrinsic value of being somewhere to deposit knowledge in a useable well. Somewhere to store emotions and explain them to yourself.

The moment the Journal fell out of favor with Americans is hard to pinpoint but their peak of usage was 2006¹, since then they’ve fallen at a dramatic rate in terms of use. In fact it’s fallen off completely in usage in literature. The cause of this decrease in usage can be almost entirely attributed to the rise of the smartphone. Where previously there was only one place you could connect with the world, where previously the idea of the internet on a phone was a novelty, now it’s everywhere and that’s not a bad thing.

One symptom however has proved to be especially troubling, we no longer keep our emotions facing inward, log them, categorize them, or look back at them. The advantage of the Journal was that it allowed one to know oneself better than they could without. The same is true today.

However now, instead of Journaling, Americans have turned to Facebook, Twitter, public spaces to dispose of their emotions. Thus, we damage our own self-worth through posts that later make us feel guilty and through tweets that hurts others. The Journal used to take that place, allowing us to say all the outrageous things we would never say out-loud to ourselves and allow the things we’d feel guilty for saying later not left unsaid.

Even if one does hide their emotions, both self-injuring and harmful to others, from the Internet but doesn’t keep a journal they hide behind a lie, a face. They have no one to tell the truth to. No one to keep the truth with. Suddenly reality starts to blur together with the lies and all at once you lose your ground. Hiding emotions, hiding feelings, not tagging reactions, only hurts you. Being completely open is inhuman, it leaves no mystery about oneself for which we live. When self-disclosure becomes the rule rather than an exception people get hurt.

Today we see people being “butt-hurt conservatives” and “snowflake liberals.” People who can’t contain their emotions. So many item and habits have led to this but certainly one factor has been the decrease in the thoughtfulness we put into our emotions and our beliefs. A thorough search of such feelings would allows us to find a better way to channel those emotions into change rather than protest; actions rather than reaction.

The Journal isn’t just a record book or a memory storage facility. It’s the best and most natural way to keep our thoughts organized and pointed. It allows us to be more calculated and persuasive, more sure of ourselves. The journal is the friend we always need but never have; never judging but always helpful.

The Journal; Organization, Thought-filled, Your’s.


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