Is it more important to write about what you find interesting, or to use the written word to wrestle with and form an opinion about an idea?
I think perhaps there’s value in both. Probably, the answer is contingent upon the intent of the author and the interest of the reader.
As a selfish, progress-oriented author, I’d want to write as much as I can about fringe topics and controversial opinions, and through the writing process, make sense of available information and generate an informed opinion. To step further, the productive author might seek to put forth their ideas early and often, but this might cause a logical misstep or half-baked idea, which could harm the innocent reader.
On the other hand, the author could act as a compiler of interesting content and viewpoints already put forth in the intellectual community, with little tweaks of his own. From a systems viewpoint, this could yield higher throughput–it’s much easier and quicker to regurgitate other’s ideas than to formulate and stress-test your own. The reader might be impressed by the insights put forth with such clarity, while the author is really only piggybacking. To be fair, the reader could actually learn a great deal from this method.
But I’m writing this blog primarily from a selfish standpoint. While I’m posting regular what I learned posts to document (and more importantly, reinforce) my reading habits, it’s important to take time to reflect, process and put to work the ideas that you absorb. I’ll try to do better.