I have been doing a lot of thinking recently, about human society. There are multiple themes in my life and in my thinkings that I find them interesting, disturbing, annoying, and saddening. The more books I'm reading about historical events and views, the more I question how a society, or any society, can survive and develop, and whether there is a pattern (or lesson to learn from) that propels their initiation, growth, and declination?
I don't know. Human society is messy. That's the only word I can think of. Listening to NPR makes this feeling stronger all the time — I actually feel sorry for government officials, politicians, and advocates who are either in a position to serve the people, and to help all. It's an illusion that, in my opinion, both wrong and impossible. I'm not sure how much they really believe in what they are saying and preaching, and they are set out to do. Chances are, I would dare to bet, they are feeling the conflicts within themselves all the time, that they are not devoted as they show to their cause, but then, they are in a position that they have to pretend, not necessarily for fame and glory, but for their survival and reconciliation with themselves.
This is sad. Reading the book Auschwitz made me wonder how deep the rabbit hole goes!? It strikes me when the German commando of concentration camp questioned how someone who had not been tested could be his judge? This is very true I think. If you haven't been in that situation, you really don't know how much yourself is going to change, and how much that toxic environment is going to modify your behavior and thinking. For these natiz criminals (this I have no doubt that they have done the anti-humanity act not out of their excuse of following the order, but out of a balanced decision of benefit and cost — it could have been completly rational at their individual level), at least they have done what they have done in those context, and we know how low they had been. But because of the extreme characteristics of those act, it should also raise a question mark on the head of everyone else who is being judgmental of being right or wrong.
I know there were many great examples and people who did not fall into the low in the same overall circumstances. But do they then serve as a proof of human strength? I mean, how much can we generalize these attributes against the ugly ones? What I see is an alarming pattern of people who submit themselves to the oppression as a majority's choice, this echoes the same question I asked 小舅 about why people didn't revolt during the Culture Revolution. I don't know what is the theory behind this, but it has been demonstrated over and over and over in Holocust of any form, and which could only mean that this reaction and mechanism is a built-in part of human → so as long as you and me are human, we own this attribute, and will inevitably at mercy of its effect. But how to interpret heroes and heroic acts in those times then? They were human, too. Why didn't they suffer from these built-ins?
I don't know. I wonder whether it is again a trick of labeling that I have been debating with myself recently (a lot). You see, we take a certain type of act as being heroic, while viewing others as criminal. But what is the criteria to judge them? Law? isn't law also written by a bunch human? then who says their opinions should be the law? To that matter, there are many words I start to question (but no answer yet):
- hate vs. love
I feel they have been over-used in such a blanket fashion that it's really an abuse now.
Science is being spoken as if itself is a Truth, a good thing. No. It is a view, an opinion, just like all others. Its difference from previous Gods and superstitions is that its equations and interpretations can in some cases predict the future — when is the next total eclipse? But quoting something as scientific in many many discussions is not even centered around this, but as a take-for-granted attitude that science is better than (whatever your argument is).
No, no no! This is just BS. This is what I call labelling. You slap a label called scientific onto your argument, and violla, yours become valid, accurate, and better — or do they!? I would immediately challenge:
- What is your definition of being scientific?
- What is your proof that yours is scientific? (and mine isn't)
- Why yous being scientific is therefore better than [blank, fill in whatever you are arguing about]?
Exactly. Science is not a catch-all phrase. It does requires a way of thinking (through experiment and quantification), which is being highly regarded by current human race. But objectively speaking, it is on an equal footing with other views of this world. I think its power lies in two folds, which makes it a implementation (for the time being, my life for sure):
- its much-more-likely-to-be-true predictability than other methods on a day-to-day minute-to-minute basis.
- its ability to uncover more of what we didn't and don't know, eg. was the earth round, or flat? how to identify a place on the earth globe (using a tuple of longitude and latitude numbers.)
But when somebody claiming his is scientific without addressing the above three questions, he is lying, abusing this word, and is exactly being unscientific.
hate vs. love
This came from a conversation w/ Noah in car. I commented on a bad driver (in my personal perception), and he said he has a word to describe this — fxxx. Certainly I don't want to encourage him using such word. But also it became to me that you need something to describe such a strong feeling.
Any human will develop these emotions, and who can really say one emotion is good and another is bad? I mean, what do you mean by calling it good? Any kid will learn these emotions eventually, and they exist as a matter of fact. You need all of them to live this life. So hate is just another strong emotion that will occur someday.
I think the real difference is at handling these emotions. But again, if you view something as negative, you will try to avoid and punish it. So we have anger control, we have don't make war, make love — the underline assumption is that love is better than hate.
I found this curious. Not only they are both strong feelings I have argued to be perfectly valid to exist, but also I challenge why hate is a worse feeling than love!? Is it because hate is going to cause more harm to oneself and others? This is a good point I can accept. But then does it mean how much harm is the criteria to judge? Sounds so, then how much harm is ok, or just any harm is bad? and further, harm to whom? What if my hate only harm me? or is there such a thing as an isolated harm, or isolated me? You see, very quickly this logic is running into a subjective domain that I don't think anyone has a clue.
Even further, as we all know the cliche, hate and love are like twins — they feed each other, support each other, and become each other! So really, I don't see hate is being bad at all. It is just a strong feeling that one needs to handle. But the hard question emerges, how to handle!? suppress? limit? encourage? aren't all these already based on a pre-conclusion that these are negative, bad, therefore should be handled with suppression!?
I don't know. I feel I'm chasing my own tails. So the conversation with Noah — the F-word is one way to express that strong feeling you feel, but not the only one. The consequence of using it can be a fight. So if you are prepared to fight, go with it, the word itself is perfect fine as it is because it expressed your feeling at the moment well (effective), message clearly understood (no lost-in-translation), and will have the intended result (fight) — man, if only projects at work can be done as such!
So I think the trouble really begines when using it without anticipating (or secretly not wanting) the fight that may follow ← so again, it's the idea of getting the benefit without paying a price makes it a bad word.
See my point?
— by Feng Xia