Thanks to Arts & Letters Daily, a couple of pieces that may throw some oblique light on Weinberger et al's lengthy meditations on how ones personality is expressed and even formed though public writings.
Constance Rosenblum lost all her email:
But I was still baffled by the intensity of the psychological aftershocks, and even more than I wanted my old messages, I wanted someone to bring clarity to my feelings. Sherry Turkle turned out to be that person.
"People experience the computer as an extension of the self," Dr. Turkle pointed out. "It's an intimate machine, a mind machine. In a sense, you are your computer.
"We experience the data in the computer as durable, almost tangible. But when you lose your data, as you did, you realize that it is no more than where a bit, an electron, is sitting for a moment in time. And as a result of the loss, your own sense of fragility is enhanced."
Yet, Constance felt a sense of release at the loss, unfettered from others' chain letters, like Milosz.
Thomas Nagel writes on Nietszche , charting his struggle to disentangle and clarify the opposing Apollonian and Dionysian voices in his head. He needed to free his inner RageBoy.
To take oneself and one's world as given, and move forward intellectually and practically from that starting point, was in his view a betrayal of the extraordinary freedom that we possess as reflective beings. Nietzsche recognized that, like all human beings, he had reached consciousness with a sense of himself and a system of values that was produced by a tangled human history together with biological sources of which he was largely unaware. To take real possession of himself, to discover who he was and to decide who he wanted to be, required a bringing-to-consciousness of everything that lay beneath and behind the socially developed and educated human being--the constructed individual who handles the world with concepts, values, and methods of thought whose sources and true meanings he does not understand. It required a radical self-transformation.
[...]plunging beneath your own inner surface through both psychological and historical investigation is essential. But knowledge is not the main point. The point is to achieve a different kind of existence: to live one's life in the full complexity of what one is, which is something much darker, more contradictory, more of a maelstrom of impulses and passions, of cruelty, ecstasy, and madness, than is apparent to the civilized being who glides on the surface and fits smoothly into the world. Because we are not animals, we are in a position to take conscious possession of ourselves in this way; but because we are socialized human beings, we tend instead to accept the superficial identities and the orderly system of beliefs that civilization has assigned to us.
For myself, I found an interesting echo of Marcus Aurelius in the advice I was given by a company lawyer after the Microsoft trial revealed the venal, vulgar and violent voices routinely used by that company's executives in internal email.
Never say anything in email you wouldn't want you mother to read on the front page of the newspaper.
I cherish the ambiguity there. Truly a rule to live by.