Originally Posted by Maguru
Yikes, Micheal. THESE people you refer to are US people. Don't you think this is pure judgement holding a very narrow view of humanity and a divisive one at that?
And what is wrong with judgement? Judgement is discernment, and discernment is wisdom. I may not be putting it nicely, but I would point out that you
are judging me
here, and you don't seem to have a problem with that. Is a double standard appropriate, in this case? Look: I am not even saying it is inappropriate.
I never said that we undirected drifters, clearly not exemplars of Steve's advice over the past few years, are irredeemable. Obviously, I hold myself up as an example of someone who has taken at least a few steps, if not enough to satisfy my own ambition and intent. As I say, I too suffer from existential angst. I merely know it, and I eventually and so far inevitably face it down and grow as a person because of it.
Narrow? My vision of humanity is that it is a child barely into its adolescence. We have learned to walk and to talk, and we have taken sand and turned it into sand castles, and we have thrown our toys across the room and wailed at the injust chaos of our world. And now we are beginning to understand the universe and see hints that there is a vast horizon still unexplored, and we wonder exactly what our place in this vista might be. We wonder whether it is ours to craft or others' to command, divine or alien. And it just happens to be my life's mission to make some small progress, or to construct some vehicle by which we can grow a little more and approach maturity by another half-step.
And you say my view is divisive. Divisive between whom, I ask you? Do you believe I am elitist, in seeing that I have made progress where others have not? In that sense, I am, because I believe it to be true. Not everyone is equal, and some people are educated, strong of will, great of character, where others are not. No, those of us who have made the next ledge up the mountain will continue to look upwards. And some of us will take our rope and lower it down, and brace ourselves as the rest follow.
Originally Posted by Maguru
Something happens. Something is amiss. Stigma doesn't help except to promote some great debates.
I have been suicidal myself. I'd say I bring more first-hand knowledge to this issue than most others. I am still
suicidal; I have simply chosen to get something done before I allow myself the luxury of death. The death-wish is less strong these days, because I intently focus on life in its myriad forms. I hope to die by a bullet, because I have an irrational belief that it will be an assassination, and that will mean I was worth assassinating. So I continue climbing up the mountain, grabbing a rope when I trust the Spaniard not to drop it, jamming my fists into the cracks when I do not. It is not enjoyable, but it is necessary to achieve what I want to achieve. When I suffer, I bear the suffering. And when I find joy, I bask in its brief light. This is life. It is a suicide mission, but in the words of Steel Brightblade, we will sing the hero songs ourselves.
So no. I am not speaking from the ivory tower either.
To me, science and technology have a particular meaning. They say to me, "Yes, you can indeed accomplish some of the things you have set out to do." I have to strive, and I will shed tears, sweat, and blood, but it is possible, because science has given me knowledge, and technology has given me tools. And I know that, even while I am full of myself and gnashing my teeth at the meaning of my life, when I finally pick myself up and dust off the ashes, I can still gain understanding through science, and achieve good things through technology.
So no. I have no pity or sympathy for those who have "existential angst" and then decide it's all these Cthulu-esque terrors of science and technology imprinting their mark on the experience of our lives. If you want to be inconsequential, then go ahead. Don't whine about having no meaning in your life, though. If you want meaning, go and make it. Take responsibility. Be a smart person, develop yourself personally, grow up, and be consequential.