VPNs: Like social networks, patterns of interaction layered on channels invisible to the eye, conversations in houses where no community could walk in - houses as the layers of meaning for those structured communications. Urge: listening to nature suggests similar patterns in the waves, the trees. Virtual networks, virtual machines that don't usually see the lower layers: counting the number of times people say "I don't know anyone who takes the stance X" - if we all only have so many slots of people with whom we can keep tabs on in our head but live in a society significantly above that limit, we build VPNs or at least database views on society, we feel comfortable forgetting that we have done so and calling what we have built society. How do we make those choices? Is it healthy to be reminded often that our view of society is not society itself and that we have shaped things intentionally so representativeness is at best a joke?
Mood: Very poor for the last weeks. It feels like some things are breaking.
Events: Last week's Feminist case against abortion - Serrin Foster spoke at CMU for an audience of mostly adults. She rooted her talk in the belief that abortion is unquestionably wrong and horrific, exploring the historical ties between parts of the feminist movement and that position, then suggesting the fact that abortion happens is because society doesn't support women who are pregnant enough, and then outlininng her organisation's efforts to improve support for pregnant women in various workplaces and universities.
I did not like Serrin Foster - she talked a lot about bipartisianship and how her movement was neither for illegalisation of abortion nor was it closed to membership or cooperation with groups like planned parenthood - she also opened with "for those of you who have had an abortion we are not here to condemn you", but she said, both through as many historical and referential quotes as she could find along with her own words many times throughout the evening that she thought that abortion was murder and horrific (I would've been at least a bit less bothered at this position if she had been honest about it). Her eyes lit up every time she gave one of these quotes - given the audience (which was pretty much entirely gathered through antiabortion activism channels), it was like listening to a certain kind of engaging preacher.
Many of her ideas were good ones, many others I'm not sure about (some of these inspired by my own values, others more general). Helping women make an informed decision about abortion as well as providing general means to make pregnancy and childrearing easier is something I like to see in the genneral case. I don't think that society and all the specifics of the paths (career, tenure, student, etc) people might be on should necessarily be adapted to make it simple for them to be paused should someone get pregnant though - this was one major area of contention I had with her. Also, she assumes that by providing resources to pregnant women, nobody will choose to get an abortion - this strikes me as patently false for many reasons. Not everyone wants children, resources and time are not equivalent so many people might prefer to plan their life so as to have children at a time they can put whatever's going on on hold more easily, some people might feel that they'd rather raise children with a life partner that they don't have yet, etc. Given what she and her organisation seem to feel, I think she'd be a rather poor person to speak with those pregnant and confused (at least, based on my value conclusion, where abortion is morally equivalent to a haircut in the first trimester and only starts to be problematic in the third - after serious brain development).
As I've probably said before, I think having a developed mind, rather than human form, is what we should use as a base of our concerns for other people. If the brain has not developed much, there is not yet personhood, and bodies where nothing but the brain stem function may be members of our species but are not people. Abortion of pre-significant-brain humans is not morally significant because of that. After the brain has developed significantly, we (as individuals and society) may begin to place a stake in it, but except for the rare case of the mother being brain-dead due to some trauma, the importance of a fully-developed and functional brain suggests that the interests of the mother should generally prevail - society may choose to penalise in some way abortion in the very late stages of pregnancy, but it should not hamper it earlier (and should be part of a public health care plan).
On sunday, I wandered around the Southside for a bit before settling at the Beehive for their incredibly wonderful Golden-Nepal-which-is-secretly-nectar-of-t
- Intel Core 2 Duo P8600 - I don't like Intel, but AMD wasn't offered
- 18.4" LCD, 1920x1080 - weird aspect ratio shifts - my current laptop does 16800x1050, so I don't get much more height, mostly just more width
- 4G RAM
- NVidia GEForce 9600M GT w/ 512M Video Ram - That's a lot of video ram.
- 250G HD - Will also be adding a spare laptop SATA drive I had in
- Full Keyboard with numeric pad - like my current laptop
I haven't found it easy to be inspired to do much of anything recently - it's mostly work and occasional pursuit of tea that gets me out of the apartment. Vicious cycles of lonliness to depression to recluse to lonliness continue.
I wonder - if I did not have the cats would I even go home?
On that topic, this week I'm heading to visit my mum and sisters for the first time in what's probably been well over a year, at least provided there are cars available for rent to take me back to Brecksville...