Time, Space, and Reality

When bloggers say that they don’t have the time or space to go into detail on some point that they’re attempting to make, what they really mean is that they just don’t want to. Allow me to argue from the particular to the general for a moment.

Four times, by my count, I have used the phrase “space prohibits me” in book reviews (here, here, here, & here) on this blog. Now the reality of the matter is that “space” didn’t prohibit me from anything. It’s not like I was publishing any of these reviews in a journal and had word limits. This is the internet folks; it ain’t running out of space! The fact of the matter is that I could have said more had I wanted to; I just didn’t want to.

I don’t know how often I’ve said that I “don’t have the time” to make some particular point or another, but I’m willing to bet I’ve said it. The reality is that I have all the time I’d like. This is my blog and I’m under no deadlines to post. I hit “publish” when I want to hit publish. Sometimes I want to hit it without elaborating on some point that I deem important. In those cases I’m really just being lazy.

And so it is with all bloggers. I’m not alone and the honest among us will admit that. You could make your point in as detailed a fashion as you’d like and you know it. Time and space aren’t the problems—you are—just as I am. I’d love to elaborate on this a bit more but time and space prohibit me from doing so (i.e., I don’t feel like it). Maybe some other time (not really, but hold out hope just in case).

B”H

6 thoughts on “Time, Space, and Reality

  1. You are certainly right on the space point. But I am not so sure about the time point. Saying “I don’t have the time to elaborate” may sometimes mean “I do not want to elaborate” but it can also mean “there are other things that are more important to me than elaborating” or even “I actually do not have sufficient time to elaborate.”

    For example, when someone says “I do not have time to learn how to play the piano” or “I do not have time to learn Greek” we usually take him at face value, even though, of course, unless someone is at death’s door he could give up a few hours sleep each night and learn Greek or the piano or something else. But we understand what someone means when he says he does not have time — other things — like earning a living or catching a few hours of sleep — are more important.

  2. Pouring: Clever!

    Theophrastus: I take “there are other things that are more important to me than elaborating” as equivalent to “I do not want to elaborate.” As for “I actually do not have sufficient time to elaborate,” that might be true for someone who is writing under a deadline, such as a journalist working for a newspaper or magazine, but for a blogger? We can leave a post in our drafts for as long as we’d like. I know that our dear friend Esteban has drafts dating back to 2007 that he’s yet to complete or publish.

  3. I think saying “I do not want to elaborate” has a different character. To me, saying “I don’t want to talk about it” is a little like taking the Fifth — or that one simply wants to avoid an argument. “What is your relationship with Susan? I don’t want to talk about it.” “Who did you support in the last election? I don’t want to talk about it.” Those seem to be very different than answers like “Why don’t you learn Greek? I don’t have time.” or “Can you explain to me in detail everything about trinitarian studies that you have learned in the last eighteen months? I don’t have time.”

  4. Nick,

    Sometimes I know that a post is getting long and I will lose the reader if I continue. In those cases, I really don’t have the space to continue—if I want to keep the reader!.

    What do you think? Is that an excuse, too? Perhaps we need a “footnote” function in blogging! : )

    James

  5. Theophrastus: We’re in agreement on the examples you’ve given. No argument from me there. But I truly believe that when bloggers pull the “I don’t have time” card it’s generally because they don’t feel like elaborating and want to make a point without having to support it.

    James: That’s a completely different animal. I loathe extremely long blog posts (but will read those from bloggers I trust and respect). The space is there; but using it up could cause an adverse reaction. ;-)

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