A country I only know by its name, Venezuela. Yet it's on the NPR news these days, and the country is going through some terrible times. The world feels, turbulent, really — US policy is aggressive that it's on war with China, with Iran, with just about everybody, and there are human disasters, as always, like in this poor Venezuela.

    The news mentioned the word, social fabric. This gets me thinking, more and more these days with a growing age, that the society feels like a living organ, a living thing, that, like an individual's body, changes all the time, aging, perhaps, but more accurately, adapting, constantly, so the word, the form that we know of today, will be so different 10 years down the road, that some of them even become the complete opposite! If individual human is already complex, then how can an aggregation of a lot of them, thus a society, becomes any less complex? It should only manifest the complexity with more combination possibilities, therefore more varieties, more alternative path of execution, and more outcomes/consequences. Maybe there is a probability one can compute to describe these outcomes. Yet, even so, it is probability, which inherently means that it is not deterministic, thus is not predictable (in the sense what we hope a prediction means).

    If rolling back a few years I think I would love to go into social study. I don't know whether they actually teach or analyze, or some smart person has already established a theory on this scale, that can help me to understand better what I see and hear in the news and in life. Nonetheless, this is a fascinating topic, actually I think it's a much more important topic than, say, am learning Angular for work. It is more important because it is closer to my life, or a bigger, more direct impact on people's life, than just me knowing yet another programming language and can write an app or two. Maybe this itself is a sign of my ignarance — that the grass is always greener on the other side. I remember this delivery kid in SH metro while I was sitting on the bench waiting for her. He looked at me working on the Project Euler problem on my laptop with a strong interest. since the laptop itself was not nothing fancy, I would assume his interest came from his curiosity, and maybe the look of the screen with a few line of codes and such which he perceived as computer programming, which to him is either a thing of strange, or a thing of mystery. In either case, for those who don't do computers certainly think programmers are nothing short of a magician (though, they think the trick is darn cheap that they can buy them one dime a dozen!).

    So the same applies to my view of the social study, and potentially some smart genius in that field that has the knowledge and tooling and experience to solve a social problem, which, to me as an outsider, is completely amazing, magic, and how wonderful! This makes me wonder, what if I stick to my own trade, using the tools I know, and the knowledge I have, wouldn't I achieve the same by moving the social needle, just a bit, that to the direction I think it's good for the people? Why not?... I'm not thinking of some social media page advocating my political view or revolutionary agenda, but something much smaller, something that is so remote to its effect that there isn't even a way to measure so that I can only operate in the dark without ever knowing how much the needle was moved. Wouldn't it still make my work purposeful? wouldn't it still motivate me? and even it still do in both questions, since I don't have a so called direction to guide me, how and what should I be working on then?

    In many ways I think we have romantized the good-old-days, that as if people back then were so in touch with his/her surroundings (by thinking that their physical and social territory was much much much confined than ours), that they could always link their actions to a cause and to a consequence. I would strong challenge this view. I still believe the core of this statement lies in information flow — if the scope was indeed smaller than we have now, the information flow was also much limited and vague. Thus, proportionally an individual, most of them, was also in the dark, and was only coasting by life, and probably wondering what the meaning of life is, like I do — the difference would be that they wrote with brush and ink, and I'm now typing in a computer (which, in 100 years?, will be in the same category as brush & ink, and that would not surprise me a bit!).

    So after all these derivations, there isn't answer, there isn't even a clue. If we think the Dark Age is a European thing in the past, I would have to say that, as of today, as of now, I feel, myself is still living in a Dark Age. So is this world, certainly so for the people in Venezuela, and for anyone who still suffers from seemingly the basic struggle of food, shelter, safety, being with loved one (not to mention all the broken hearts from regular loves!)...

    I don't know. Something is terribly wrong with this world, with the state of human, with myself. Just that I don't know what it is, why it is so, and what change is needed → such a sense of being powerless.

    — by Feng Xia


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