Blog: Ebb and Flow and Cold Winds

Ebb and Flow and Cold Winds
Ebb and Flow and Cold Winds
Date: 2019-Jan-28 00:48:07 EST

One of the things that's come up often in conversations between younger people in my workplace is relationships (in the abstract) - what people need, how our schticks and personalities figure in, and things like that. I find it's rare that people my age discuss it - usually they have one or are so bitter that they don't want one. I think the younger coworkers are just in the part of life where they have one and they're using that experience to figure out more about them. Which is healthy. When I'm around and privy, it gives me insight into both how people of that age think about it, and also naturally acts as a substitute (a lesser one, surely, as they're coworkers rather than friends, although some may become friends someday perhaps) for a circle of friends for me to chat this stuff over with. I value it, but the age difference is always something I need to navigate (at least in my head) and I don't want to get stuck in the role of providing the older perspective, at least partly because I clearly haven't figured out as much as I should at my age because of years of solitude. Really, I wish I could somehow sort my head out and then get a mulligan on life. I value these years of pain in a way - they're part of me the way happiness is part of others, but if I ever find a way out I still want plenty of years of opening back up and learning to be more content with life. A recent conversation reminded me of how many people I've passed by in life whom I've never even explicitly let know that I wanted more with them. People who made my heart sing. I wish I had at least let them know, even if nothing had come of it. Or if things had worked out with any of my exes.

Been thinking more about that annoyance with the coworker - also was annoyed at something that looked a lot like he doesn't care at all for fairness, by blaming a march he disagreed with for making us late to our train back. I find it hard to believe that he'd blame a march for a cause dear to him for making us late, and really the march wasn't to blame to start with. But maybe he was just letting off steam ; we all do that sometimes and it's probably healthy. I hope it's that. But really, the inner lives of people I'm not close to shouldn't bug me. In such cases I should just apply that general preference for a just and fair society (both in the formal sense that populists often lack) and my specific technocratic-socialist sense. It's reasonable to gently shape those around us if they matter a lot to us (knowing that they may want to shape us right back), but to try to do it to everyone is to dilute one's efforts. I suppose there may be another conclusion to all of this - maybe he matters more to me than is immediately obvious to me. Hard to say - I think we like to work in the mental model of imagining people really know themselves and are authoritative on those topics. I strongly believe that's not true. We can rapidly do experients, and learn techniques to try to learn things more quickly, but most people don't, and those things don't guarantee actions. I have countless experiences of feeling deep pangs of emotional pain over the years and never reaching satisfactory conclusions as to the origin. Maybe many of these were biological, but how would I even know that?

The next time I have a long vacation, or even a week, with nothing I need to do, I hope to spend the whole thing getting in the mood to write about philosophy. I find it hard to get into the mindset to do that on weekends, and when I do I need to make sure not to let my shorter-term foci (from videogames to reading to hikes) consume the time.

This coming week should be interesting - will be attending my first IQ2US debate, and one of my former mentors in undergrad is visiting FI. I like that the week is not packed but not vanilla.

A few takes:

  • I'm writing Cortez off for this - it strikes me as deeply irresponsible - Trumpian, to hold off on funding the government because one has reservations on individual programs. There's room to haggle, but in the end holding out is unacceptable for our elected representatives. And in doing this, I have my answer - that she has too much populism and too little responsibility to be trusted in government. Too bad - I had hoped for someone young to demonstrate to the populace that socialism doesn't mean scary radical stuff and is compatible with caution and a sense of responsibility. I'll keep hoping for someone else.
  • We need more of this, from both sides of our society. Polarisation weakens us as a nation. And while I'm deeply bothered by Biden's foreign policy, he remains someone I'd vote for if I had to