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Resemblance to Ghosts

I live a rich mental life, as I think many people do. An aspect of this is that various people I've met have come to symbolise parts of me, and when I think about problems, they are mouthpieces for some of my intuitions/emotions/etc. Sometimes this is relatively innocuous; because an acquaintance called Elise helped me get interested in drawing (and I mostly remember her for that), I have a "shadow" of her that represents my artistic side. Sometimes they're more complicated. In Pittsburgh, I occasionally attended meetings of the local Trotskyites, and there was a woman named Phyllis there with whom I had a few conversations; in these conversations I generally argued for more pragmatic stances, where she argued for more pure ones. I believed in my side, but enough of me was swayed by her arguments that there's a shadow of her in my head too, generally arguing against pragmatism and towards more hardline pursuit of the good.

It's easier when these shadows don't need to coexist with people I actually see regularly, and although I've never really thought of managing what form they take (not sure if I could, really), I rarely have had someone be highly present in my life while I had an active shadow of them.

I wonder how often this impacts that uncomfortable part of me that prejudges people. Part of what made Phyllis more striking for me is that I have this impression of a certain look/type as being very wise (and I get a vague feeling of awe when someone matches enough of the traits). Whoopi Goldberg happens is fairly close to this, Phyllis was close too (middle-aged black woman with dreadlocks, certain pace of speech, certain clothing). I don't know when, where, or how it happened, but I feel an almost hardwired reverence for the type and anyone who matches it enough.

I worry that

  • Is this racist?
  • Could this make it easier for me to be manipulated in the future?
  • It is certainly not rational!
  • There are probably instances of this that are not so positive
  • Almost all of my shadows, either specific people or generic figures, are women
That last one might be explainable in that when I was growing up, my father was usually not around, and because I have 3 sisters and my mom was around a lot, I didn't see other guys so often until I was older; perhaps the idea of being surrounded by women (even imaginary ones representing parts of me) comes naturally because of that.

A new Frozen Joghurt place opened near my apartment a few weeks ago, and I'm happy to see signs of life in the evening in this area. I recognise a conflict between my desire for people not to be dependent on commercial entities for things they can easily provide themselves, and the desire to get people out of their homes and interacting late at night. Still, I hate suburbs (not the place, the attitude), and the more local culture, the happier I am; interactivity wins over frugality, in my head.

A better way of phrasing my (generally pro) feelings about police: we should not let our attitudes towards authority or police be structured so as to make socialist police impossible/difficult. Policemen may be enforcing the status quo, but we approve of big parts of the status quo. We approve of civilisation, and we reject the idea that a self-policing small community is sufficient for the needs of modern society. Direct democracy in matters of jurisprudence does not create a healthy political attitude; the larger abstractions our justice must serve when functioning on a national level help pull us away from popularity contests and other failures of government. We are less inclined to let our respect for people give them carte blanche to ignore rules when our justice aims to be impartial, and so police and judges are justified and necessary for modern society. On this, we (as state socialists) break with our anarchosocialist brethren and join other political philosophies in their conception of the necessities for civilisation. We anticipate, in any socialist transition we would support, the continued existence of police and judges, and continued development of jurisprudential traditions from existing nations under socialist society. We demand, as the status quo does, that the bulk of how we regulate ourselves be subject to being part of a broadly applicable set of principles (that is, law).


  • Interview with a local company (run by a professor) doing modelling of international conflict. They're not sure if they have a job for me, and I'm not sure I'll be around after my lease here expires, but the work would be fascinating; more fascinating than anything else I'm considering.
  • Interview with a large internet company for a kind of sysadmin position. Looks interesting-ish (and I like the company)
Neil DeGrasse Tyson's Star Talk Radio had a great (two-part) interview with Nichelle Nichols (played Uhura in Star Trek:TOS).


I think in any society where I would trust the police to enforce justice, the following would have to be true:

The penalty for a crime committed by a police officer must -- in practice, not just in theory -- be much harsher than it would be for another citizen.

The penalty for a police officer covering up a crime must be so severe as to make it unthinkable. It must at least match the penalty they would face for committing the crime itself. In some circumstances that might not be adequate.

Otherwise the problem of having a class of people that are above the law is just too severe.
Oh, and it must be illegal for a police officer to interfere with any attempt to record police activity, with a severe penalty as for covering up a crime (under the presumption that any such interference is probably an attempt to cover up a crime.)
I agree that these would be good rules in general, with the following caveats:
*Protection of attempts to record police activity should only extend to times when the police are dealing with a suspect/criminal. (That is, I would not extend this protection to those filming police hiding to catch speeders or similar)
*Provided police are equally likely to face arrest/trial for their actions when the commit them, I would waive the higher penalties for crimes committed by police, and generally restrict the eligible crimes to certain categories.

However, at least for me they are just guidelines for regulation of police conduct, and given the choice between no police and those that were not bound by these rules, I'd rather go with unbound police.