Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sometimes I'm afraid that we forget what it was like to not organize things into classes, subclasses, types, and objects and that we got along fine like that. We need to be able to make use of these informal schemata which make use of other kinds of relationships between data. Although things might be reducible to labeled, directed graphs, we should definitely not restrict creation to that level.

We need a means of expression for the otherwise inexpressible. Those things which are only the immediate, fleeting concordance of sensory information and gestaltic, nameless unity; those things I want to give presence and meaning. These are things which we give names and construe in our own lives, but they are not the things themselves. The feelings of eyes all around looking on in distrust, hate, or condescension cannot be understood by the word "racism". A need to be a man while living in a woman's body is not translatable into any language that we can all speak. The well-fed business man does not comprehend the poor man's escape in heroin addiction.

Concepts like these matter. To understand them is to know the motivations for action and to walk in the other person's shoes. Compassion through shared experience is as old as story-telling, but the forces which enact it are too sparse and inconstant. Failure to understand the other man weakens us. It turns us to hate, confusion, secrecy, fear. Men learned to conquer parts of this in prehistory so that we could live in villages and not kill one another over minor faults. I think we need to learn again how to live with humanity on a global scale.