# It has been suggested recently that I use pencil and paper rather than a pen.

The theory is that pen is too permanent, too final, and the automatic response is, therefore, to try to complete something.

Using a pencil should remove that pressure.

Conversely, I have often felt pencil to be too impermanent, transient, subject to wear and tear, and accidental erasure.

But I suppose it depends on what you're doing. If the purpose is not to create something final then the fear of transience should be unwarranted.

It's a case of retraining the mind, to break patterns, approaches and workflows.

I think the very nature of a pencil itself is symbolic: it is sharpened ready for action but wears down until it becomes unusable.

An impermanence.

We must then re-sharpen it, and with each cycle the pencil gradually disappears; the passage to an end comprising multiple mini endings.

The trick, however, is not to be afraid of them, but to embrace them. For they are markers of progress not loss.


  1. hjertnes says: #
    You can always take a more in-depth course after this one. But a lot of my degree in philosophy was about getting a understanding of the whole spectre of academic philosophy. It was hard from time to time to get through it. The good thing about having done it is that I have the "training" to read and study more or less anything on my own. The most important thing I got out of it though is that I always interpret stuff from a angle where I try to see all the different ways something can be understood. I guess it is a result of doing a lot of work seminars in Philosophy where a group of five have at least seven interpretation of the same five pages.
  2. Colin Walker says: #
    I’ll need to see what I can find once I’ve finished. It’s a whistlestop tour of the key people and ideas, unfortunately I have already known most of what it covers.
  3. I've read in a few places that, provided you don't smudge it, pencil lasts longer for archiving and is more resistant to water. Here's one blog post that discusses it: http://www.pencilrevolution.com/2010/10/pencil-for-long-term-writing/. The comments make quite interesting reading too. That aside, I just like the feel of them, and the act of sharpening. I know some people love pens, too, so I think you should just pick what you like.

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