Having Been Human
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Tue May 1 17:33:42 2012
Straddling the Line

This post is about straddling lines, and it straddles the line between what I see my personal blog and philosophy blog being about.

A few days ago I was at a protest calling for us to 「Unite Against the War on Women」; today I spent some time at the the Labour Day events at Union Square, heavily fueled by Occupy.

At both, as I've generally come to expect of protests in general, I have significant agreement with the broad message (let's call it 90%), moderately less agreement with the slogans (let's call it 70%), and agreement with only a reasonable number of the specific subcauses that latch on (let's call that 65%). I'm still comfortable being at such protests; I know they're big tents, and I don't expect to agree with everyone there. I've never been passionate about issues for the social status they give me, and they've generally not given me much status, for any part of my times of political/philosophical passion.

Siometimes this spurs interesting discussion; in a recent "Free Tibet" subprotest at Union Square, I had a long-ish nuanced discussion with someone walking around trying to get petition signatures, outlining my unhappiness with Chinese government practice, but also my unwillingness to support nationalist movements of any kind. The person I was speaking with wasn't unsympathetic to my perspectives, once she understood, and she explained why she was involved. I think a lot of the time in any movement, we don't think enough about why we're involved, and we don't take the time to do the research. How many people support Tibet without understanding the history of the theocracy that was displaced, or support Falun Gong without understanding much about its nature?

I sometimes wish people were less keen to take part in chants without really thinking them over, and that people were willing to consider solidarity more of a gradation rather than an on/off thing. But I do have the luxury and curse of being an intellectual; a person whose passion is always lonely and fleeting, and who can neither effectively lead or take part in such movements. At best I can offer ideas to be rejected/accepted/amended/inspire; this role is one that I feel is deeply part of me. h I've generally avoided discussions of immigration policy at protests; I get the impression there are not a lot of people with my configuration of values, and that's a topic where passions run deep and few people can discuss things carefully. Almost got into a runaway argument with my oldest ex on the topic; she's never been one to stay civil so I eventually stopped replying. I've often been disappointed about that side of her; that it's only safe to discuss things with her where I know I already mostly agree with her. Oh well.

I was happy that I was able to deploy a technology at work today that should make users' lives a bit easier. I don't really get to interface with the other employees that much because of the nature of my work, and 为人民服务 is kind of a philosophy of a good sysadmin-type.

Increasingly lonely, but managing to capture a reasonable amount of chill-ness. The solitude does hang over me like the sword of damocles though. There being no good solution to that makes me feel kind of helpless too, at times. Oh well.

Probably will head to Washington Square in a bit to peoplewatch and read and eat.