Isolation

isolation

When one is single, one must overcome one’s own intellectual and moral and spiritual isolation to branch toward the ultimate compassion: to see the world of another as “the” world for them, and thus to accept it and to wish for its success comingled with one’s own (to whatever varying degree the relationship or coupling or moment dictates).

What is scary about relationships is that they create a new world, an “our world.” You can see it in older couples who recreationally shop or engage in public activity on the weekends; the world is defined for them, and they seek something external confirming it, but basically its ways and their ways are defined by the relationship itself. You can see it in teenage lovers who – may it work for them, as the first love is the least cluttered – exist in a world by themselves and have no desire to relate to anything else. Finally, you can see it in embittered 27-35 year olds who having formed a relationship nervously consult it as a basis to a lifestyle; in their case (the most pathetic) the concept of relationship in age of life is more important than the tangible relationship itself, as most of them have settled into a 2nd marriage and/or 11th lover, therefore are both bored and afraid of the concept of relationship, thus seek to make a non-threatening one through legalistic contract. The worst are the “empowered” ones, where the contract is almost put into legal terms. There is no actual contact with the process of world-making, and all of the fear and adventure required.

Let me clarify: I’m all for love, and where needed, marriage. Marriage is the commitment to make a lifetime of a love, as one will most probably be creating new life forms merged of the parents. Love is what happens when one finds someone else one respects enough to wish literally union in the form of one’s irreplaceable time and possibly spawn. If you look at the process of breeding, it’s quite romantic: We work, so let Another be made of Us. My warmth and heartspirit goes out to you teenage lovers; may your idealism never die. It goes out to the older couples who’ve lived through everything and made it work, should they still have tenderness for each other. And most of all, it goes out to my generation, you intrepid 27-35s, who think you know what you should have and are trying to copy the image from TV screen to life.

But one must acknowledge love’s instabilities. First, the choices involved depend on the people involved and more importantly, their knowledge and experience (one doesn’t need many lovers for life experience: one needs life experience). You are every experience you’ve had, and every lover you’ve had. Over time, the process can become rote and you can cease to be able to tell the difference between lovers. Also, the concept of love depends on what one sees. Your beloved may be hiding a murder, or a betrayal; it’s hard to think of ultimate union with something diseased. Finally, love itself may become a prison, when one tries too hard for love and not enough for the literal situation of two people coming together (no pun intended). When I see love held up as a signum imperium in this way, I shudder and think of Christianity.

Isolation

When one is single, one must overcome one’s own intellectual and moral and spiritual isolation to branch toward the ultimate compassion: to see the world of another as “the” world for them, and thus to accept it and to wish for its success comingled with one’s own (to whatever varying degree the relationship or coupling or moment dictates).

What is scary about relationships is that they create a new world, an “our world.” You can see it in older couples who recreationally shop or engage in public activity on the weekends; the world is defined for them, and they seek something external confirming it, but basically its ways and their ways are defined by the relationship itself. You can see it in teenage lovers who – may it work for them, as the first love is the least cluttered – exist in a world by themselves and have no desire to relate to anything else. Finally, you can see it in embittered 27-35 year olds who having formed a relationship nervously consult it as a basis to a lifestyle; in their case (the most pathetic) the concept of relationship in age of life is more important than the tangible relationship itself, as most of them have settled into a 2nd marriage and/or 11th lover, therefore are both bored and afraid of the concept of relationship, thus seek to make a non-threatening one through legalistic contract. The worst are the “empowered” ones, where the contract is almost put into legal terms. There is no actual contact with the process of world-making, and all of the fear and adventure required.

Let me clarify: I’m all for love, and where needed, marriage. Marriage is the commitment to make a lifetime of a love, as one will most probably be creating new life forms merged of the parents. Love is what happens when one finds someone else one respects enough to wish literally union in the form of one’s irreplaceable time and possibly spawn. If you look at the process of breeding, it’s quite romantic: We work, so let Another be made of Us. My warmth and heartspirit goes out to you teenage lovers; may your idealism never die. It goes out to the older couples who’ve lived through everything and made it work, should they still have tenderness for each other. And most of all, it goes out to my generation, you intrepid 27-35s, who think you know what you should have and are trying to copy the image from TV screen to life.

But one must acknowledge love’s instabilities. First, the choices involved depend on the people involved and more importantly, their knowledge and experience (one doesn’t need many lovers for life experience: one needs life experience). You are every experience you’ve had, and every lover you’ve had. Over time, the process can become rote and you can cease to be able to tell the difference between lovers. Also, the concept of love depends on what one sees. Your beloved may be hiding a murder, or a betrayal; it’s hard to think of ultimate union with something diseased. Finally, love itself may become a prison, when one tries too hard for love and not enough for the literal situation of two people coming together (no pun intended). When I see love held up as a signum imperium in this way, I shudder and think of Christianity.

Schizophrenia

The world of computing reminds me of the fracture that splits our society down the middle. On one side are the individualists who want to fall backward into a utopic society based on self-gratification, and on the other side are the pragmatists who view life as a process of labor, advocating a semi-collectivism based on cooperative morality. Is either right, or wrong? That these divisions exist is for the long-term view, wrong.

The left side view is that of people such as, say, those who support Open Source Software as a religious mantra. They would like a world that does not obstruct their social and personal desires, such as sexual freedom or drug use freedom or the ability to live outside conventional time management. They believe that if we achieve these things, society will automatically function in a utopic state. It sounds almost silly, but it has a vital strength: it believes in changing things toward something better. As the nerd community becomes further pinched by offshoring, contrivances of self-image will compensate. Apple users are a small but vocal and morally self-righteous section of this group (who seem to have forgotten that a “machine for the people” needs to stop hiding information and function from them).

On the right, of course, is the typical corporate employee. “We run Windows XP because it’s the best option with a major company behind it,” he says to your face, and you wonder why he’s not embarrassed. Then you realize that he’s right. His job’s in the slinger if he purchases a new machine, and finds that in order to get a device driver he has to either (1) write it himself or (2) beg some guy with an identity complex to write it for him, usually in public on a newsgroup or mailing list. He doesn’t want to put himself at the mercy of some of the total nutcases in the Open Source movement, and he surely won’t use Apple. He is correct because Windows, with superior hardware management and very fast access to basic end user function, is what most people need and should have. They don’t care of Linux has better multitasking; they don’t have to beg for drivers, and someone is always answerable (and askable about) any particular function.

What crushes us is this division, as it blinds these people to their common interest. Both would like a superior tool. The nerds won’t do anything for the prags, and vice versa, since the prags don’t want to rely on the legendarily less-than-stable mentality of the nerds. Thus no excellent hardware management for the nerds, and no free software for the prags. I doubt software will ever be truly free, as nothing is ever “free” (except HIV), but I think the future of software is corporate support contracts and probably, a $20 service added onto your cable bill which can get you a WindowsUpdate-style system which will fix your computer and add software as needed. This doesn’t require it be written exclusively in committees, or that it be closed-source, but it does require that it work pragmatically. It will be interesting to see if either group can look beyond the 1-year prediction to make something collectively useful (one might point to Sun’s OpenOffice as a possible start, except that like most open source software, it’s got lots of whizbang features, no organization and is highly unreliable).