Been a while again since the last serious post, but that is ok. Lots of stuff is changing, or at least, lots is going on.
Originally posted on April 28th 2012
Now back from some Easter holidays during which I was in Switzerland then Madrid in rapid order. Madrid was planned for a while, for the Libre Graphics Meeting —I’ll have to write about that later & or link to talks, at least, when they are out— but CH was a very improvised trip, for my part at least, and was absolutely lovely, with close and more distant family. Got to travel through the mountains as a result of that improvisation, to get to the Geneva airport, trip I ended up really enjoying, ending in a birds eye view of Brussels city, something I had never seen before.
Back in Rix for the second time this weekend —bit of a record of the last few years— and am now conscious of my actions to avoid this place and it’s people, as much as possible. There is a set of principles that runs this place that nobody recognizes, ideas and rules that I can not go on ignoring, that I can not go by any longer. Yesterday, through a sequence of events, I realized that at 22 years old, if you ride a bike in Rixensart, you’re considered poor. If you’re, by god, even riding it for an actual purpose, to actually get yourself somewhere, for a function, not for leisure, you must be desperate.
In town, if you’re on a bike, you’re equally considered smart and mental.
There is a correlation between success and wealth that I can’t seem to get my head around in Rixensart. University & money. Houses & cars. Families & wealth.
I’ve been wondering about this for ages…
Sebastian Dietering gave a TED talk about a year ago, about Moral Persuasion. A talk where he suggest questions to the morals behind technologies that may bring us to a change of behavior. After a few examples he suggests that technologies that eventually make one look for social recognition are to be questioned. (I think this is what I appreciate the most from his talk, the idea that he can not bring any answers but he can suggest questions. He’s not trying to determine or impose anything, but he leaves big questions around what is moral or immoral in contexts.)
Questioning one’s environment, and the fact that one is aware of his / her surroundings, is something dear to me. Something I’ve always considered healthy. The question of recognition is upon us since the birth of social media and technologies online. Technologies that oblige you to chose to react, or not, to one’s actions and behaviors. The speaker then uses simple examples of how not communicating is impossible, choosing to say nothing, to abstain is as important a choice as any. One that can be a choice to comply to current sociological models, even within social networks. While reacting. Not speaking is a choice of action in those systems, abstaining without disrupting the system. One that can leave others with questions, rather than acting to express opinions, that may try to convince or persuade.
I will use a different path here, but I will get to the same conclusion SD poses at the end of the talk;
I trust in my peers, I trust in their abilities and capacities to question and chose what is the best option. For all situations. (Particularly professional ones.) I trust in peoples ideas to self optimize, and I trust in their vision of the good life —term that Dietering borrows from early philosophers & makes a serious point out of.—
One where one can take a decision on both a practical and moral level to obtain something close to his / her vision of the good life. Then eventually and hopefully question that choice directly.
"It is a technology of the self" he quotes.
I wonder about questions that SD eludes in his talk, questions that are closer to me, about why one’s life is not considered as a decision, and eventually considered as art. Can a life choice or set of choices, be artistic statements?
Or more upstream, can a procedure be considered as artistic, regardless of the outcome? Can a process stand alone, as a process, to be questioned and analysed?
These ideas are all buzzing in my head, but in some strange manor, questions seem to be able to help me in making decisions that are considered. Decisions on actions or non actions, that I can understand, based on more than just intuitions and feeling. Basing decisions on questions and experience seems to be working for me.
I’m trying to make this post legible, but I’m afraid this is the best I can do for now, until I can make my mind up about some of this stuff. Or not.