What are essays?

It's a staple of the academic world, especially US it seems.

From ChatGPT:

An essay is a piece of writing that presents an author's point of view or argument on a particular topic. It is typically a non-fictional work that expresses the author's opinion or analysis of a topic, and may be persuasive, analytical, descriptive, or narrative in nature.

Essays can vary in length from a few paragraphs to several pages or more, and they may be written for a variety of purposes, including academic, journalistic, or personal expression. They often include an introduction that sets up the topic and presents the thesis statement, followed by several body paragraphs that support and develop the thesis, and a conclusion that summarizes the main points and restates the thesis in a fresh way.

Most famous current essayist I know is Paul Graham:

I've been thinking for a while about what essays were, and if that was a good format perhaps for personal expression.

I struggle quite a bit with social media, especially its short format. Takes a black & white approach to most things whereas life is more complex, and interesting to explore.

The long-form format of essays might be a good fit for me.

With the advent of AI and large language models, writing my own essays will allow to create a corpus of my own writing, and train a model on it. !projects/nicai

I had a good school education by all standards, but I do not hold it in high regard - the discrepancy between what they teach you and what you need in life. This might be the topic of an essay on its own.
But one thing I learned in my French literature classes that has followed me throughout my life so far is the concept of:

  • thesis
  • antithesis
  • synthesis

Thinking about both sides of an argument, putting yourself in the other one's shoes.
This has helped me a lot, both in Sales !b2b-sales/putting-yourself-in-the-other-ones-shoes
and in Life in general !#careerplaybook/011-putting-yourself-in-the-other-ones-shoes

It comes with the drawback of being torn in this black or white world, where it seems you can only be on one side of any argument.

Writing essays following this thesis/antithesis/synthesis approach might be a good way to explore both sides of an argument, and come up with my own synthesis.