October 9th, 2005

Semiformalishmaybe

Keyboard Demo Dancehall

By now, you've probably heard about the anti-war smurfs movie. I found some clips from it, and as one of the articles notes, the main theme is not to allow war to affect the lives of children. That, in my mind, is kind of a strange message. Why should we care more about kids than adults? Is it more OK for war to kill a 12 year old than a 20 or 50 year old? We might wonder if perhaps kids are less legitimate targets -- it is impossible for them to buy into their society's ideals at a young age, and we might imagine they have no stake in any kind of Kulturkampf. Galloway, in his famous attack on Blair's involving Britain in the western invasion of Iraq, pays particular emphasis on the shame of killing many infant and young children because they were Iraqis before they even knew that they were Iraqi. This brings us to a broader point -- to what extent are we responsible/accountable for the society in which we live? If we live in and contribute to a rotten society, is it our fault what that society does? Is there an escape from the blame for that society, if we are accountable? On another hand, perhaps it's nothing so complex -- it may be mere propoganda, because biologically we're programmed to like kids, and most people react to threats to them with more care than to other humans.

I think that to a certain extent, we are responsible for our society, with the degree and type of this shaped by how we fit into it and contribute to it. People who incorporate asceticism, or who are merely trying to survive avoid significant blame, and taking steps to be aware of the harms involved and mitigating or avoiding them can greatly lessen their stakes. If we can use fewer resources, protest the evils of our society (and plan for their end), and try to do no harm ourselves, I think we can consider ourselves free of blame for an essentially disgusting machine.

I think, at least for me, that's not that difficult. I don't need much in the way of material goods (and have too much -- I'm working on having less). Almost everything I need is essentials and data. With sufficient computing hardware, clothes, toiletries, etc, I would be entirely happy. A small one room apartment would actually work well for me.

Last night I went to Ceremony, and was irritated to find that after a few good songs, they got into a long slump of songs that sounded like someone had pressed the demo button on a moderately nice electric keyboard. That kind of stuff is the industrial equivalent of new-age Yanni music. Yawn.