karlht: (Default)
[personal profile] karlht
This year is going to be all about devoting time to what's important to me. But I can't do that until I determine what's wheat and what's chaff. So I expect to spend a significant amount of the winter in contemplation and meditation, asking the questions "What is really important to me?", "How does this help me live the life I want?", and all of those other horribly philosophical quandaries that sound alternately like I'm a navel-gazing yuppie or a neo-Classicist wannabe.

The thing is, the yuppie lifestyle just doesn't appeal to me. I'm terrible at being a materialist, I despise television with a passion that almost frightens me, and I don't believe in the power of unfettered capitalism to solve the world's problems. Hell, at this point, I'm not sure the world's problems can be solved.

So why all the introspection? Mainly because I'm tired of being depressed -- I've been in what feels like a hibernation-state since active development on my last real project stopped in March of 2003. The economic struggle has sapped my will in so many ways, and I'm tired of giving it that kind of power over me. So I want to rediscover my passion for things, for ideas, for people. Because I'm not going to get to do this again, at least not in this body and with these opportunities.

I expect that my contemplation will follow these general guidelines:

1. People are never chaff. Certain people may not be ideal to be entangled with, but people are never objects to be gotten rid of. I know it sounds simplistic, but it's a moral value, if you will.

2. Wealth and security are not synonymous. I'm not sure security really exists here and now, although compared to River in Baghdad, we're all pretty damned secure. I had an opportunity to work hard and neglect my family and brown-nose my way up once, and I didn't like the feel of it. Wealth in this country feels too much like keeping the boot of progress on the necks of those less fortunate.

3. Love is the most important force in my life. This has many ramifications; it also puts me seriously at odds with what seems to be the prevailing spirit of the here-and-now. Learning to say "I will not hate you, but I will not participate in this activity that I see as destructive to others and incompatible with loving my neighbour" may be the single hardest lesson of my life. Jean Chr├ętien's "We will not participate" may in fact be the most moral thing I've seen a politician do in the past decade. I expect I will be returning to this topic many times over the coming year. It raises all sorts of questions, mostly having to do with how many steps of the causal chain do I need to feel personally responsible for, and how can I make ethical choices in the midst of a society that endorses such practices as factory-farming and near-slave labour simply by its economic structure? How much of that can I bite off at once?

4. Technology has widely unacknowledged second- and third-order effects. While the widespread use of computers and the Internet has made possible at least part of Bertrand Russell's dream of unfettered communication between ordinary citizens around the world, those same computers are being used by oligarchies and economic powers to maintain their hold on the levers of power. As a technologist and a humanist, I feel I have a responsibility to benefit the little guy more than I benefit the big guys -- the big guy can get along just fine without me, but the little guy needs all the help he can get.

There, that's a good place to start. Comments welcome; I hope to refine my thoughts out here in this semi-public forum, and thoughtful criticism is always a help.

(no subject)

Date: 2005-01-03 03:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lothie.livejournal.com
It's hard to comment on this other than to say "Me too!" but it's nice to see you here.

(no subject)

Date: 2005-01-03 05:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] waya.livejournal.com
I'm all bear-chick, so it's natural for me to go "Yeah, hibernation-contemplation sounds excellent." And there's nothing wrong with the occasional navel-gaze.

(no subject)

Date: 2005-01-03 06:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] e-juliana.livejournal.com
My brain is sluggish, so I have no comments. But I do love hearing from you. Always.

(no subject)

Date: 2005-01-03 08:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] telynor.livejournal.com
It's good to see you here again.

I miss you.


(no subject)

Date: 2005-01-04 12:08 am (UTC)
fufaraw: (Default)
From: [personal profile] fufaraw
I'm awed. And you are far more deliberate and articulate about subjects dear to me, with more research done and less futile complaint than I, as well. Please do continue to think out loud--or, onscreen. You help me feel that protest and circumvention may be possible after all.

(no subject)

Date: 2005-01-04 06:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] misseli.livejournal.com

Thank you. Is there anything we can do to help or provide succor?

(no subject)

Date: 2005-01-04 08:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] grynz.livejournal.com
M's comment is that given the proper focus, you have the insight and intelligence to make a difference, even though making any changes in this world will be highly complicated. His one suggestion though, is that if you ever end up dealing with people in power (people in the Matrix, as you will) you could end up pissing people off, and that can be a weakness. Gandhi was invulnerable because he had no anger, nothing that could be used against him. He was love and he did nothing wrong. He angered and hurt no one, ever, and his message lived beyond the walls of his prisons.

My belief is one man can make a difference, and I believe that you can as well. Enough "one man" makes many men, so never give up hope. To make a small difference in the lives of many, makes a large difference in the lives of all.

(no subject)

Date: 2005-01-05 06:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elenabtvs.livejournal.com
Jean Chr├ętien's "We will not participate" may in fact be the most moral thing I've seen a politician do in the past decade.

Most of the country was very proud (and relieved) when he said that. I know many a hardcore socialist who maintain that this redeemed his political career for them.

I always felt it was a shame that he got pushed out of politics ahead of schedule. Aside from the fact that I hate and mistrust Paul Martin (though his attitude toward the ballistic missle dealie is heartening), I always felt that Jean would use his last months in power to move us toward a fully just society. Cradle to grave social safety net.