Went to have dinner and see Rocky with Scheiny - succeeded with the dinner part (Bruchetta's has great food), albeit with leftovers exceeding amount ingested. Afterwards to pass the time, we went to a bar that I had been in well over three years ago for some Perlmongers meetings, where Scheiny met up with friends, and I started to fall asleep, thinking about crowds and social circles (more on this after narrative). I'm not really a bar person, and I usually have very little in common with the people who go to them, although the (live) music was admittedly rather good. I eventually realised that I was falling asleep and skipped out and took a bus home, where I've been drifting in and out of sleep since. I'll have to see if the RHPS-in-a-Bar thing is cool some other time.
Social circles - as I'm sure I've repeated ad nauseum, once one graduates University and goes away, there's a difficult adjustment to make whereby availability of like-minded (in some aspect or another) people goes way down, the size of circles of friends drops, and a lot of people slowly become more selfish, traditional, and distrustful of change (and thus conservative - yes, I know this is a broad brush stroke and a crude definition, but it's one I'm prepared to defend if pressed on it). One thing I find interesting is the roles people like to play in social groups - some people among non-geeks will play a certain geek-type role with its nuances, but among geeks they'll play a separate role (as geek, like some other social types, is both a role and a group). Geeks arn't the only people who do this - it seems to be a general way people organise themselves, from people who have a Jewish cultural (or Hebrew ethnic) identity to artists. Some people seem to only like the first-order identity for one reason or another, and will take great steps to make sure they're the only person with some identity in their social group (One person I knew in Columbus made a big deal out of being Jewish but never seemed to be comfortable around other Jewish people, whether Hebrew, culturally Jewish, or Judaist, and I've seen artists do this too). It's hard to do this as a geek - (computer) geek subculture in the United States has a lot of content (much not directly unique to computers), and acquiring a divorce from it would be very difficult. One of the things I hope is that that subculture will continue to grow until it exists across the entire age spectrum of American (and Western) culture - not only will this make it easier for me to relate to people, I think there are aspects to geek culture that are to be admired and that are positive for society - the emphasis on literacy and self-improvement is something sorely needed in the greater culture (things I admire about Jewish-American culture as well). There are several deficiencies I see in geek culture though..
- There's a tendency not to look outside modern works for ideas or answers - this works out badly when geeks try to understand philosophy or politics
- Geeks have ideas of structure and seniority of their own, but are very much into "Not Invented Here" for foreign ones, where evaluation of these on a case-by-case benefit would make more sense.
- It's very common that people get so carried away with bring smart that they lack the humility to say "I'm not sure, but here's what I think.." or "I don't know" when appropriate. I've seen people claim competence or expertise in fields where they're actually pretty ignorant. In all fairness, this is a general human trait that comes out when there's enough ego there.
At the bar, I was asked if I created a certain website I manage in Java or HTML. This question hurt my brain. Hopefully I was delicate enough in my response.
Tomorrow - packing, napping, and midnight travelling. Hopefully I can figure out a good "car mix" for my Neuros for the trip, and hopefully its battery will smile on me. I will be certain that "Panzer Mensch" is at least a few songs in so I'll at least be on the highway first (it's a good song for driving, but inspires great speed). Hurrah.
After seeing "Psycho" in the Hitchcock class, I joked around a bit about people with Dissociative Identity Disorder eventually demanding civil rights (votes, perhaps distinct civil identities with seperate assets and even imprisonment status). I understand that DID, while listed in the present DSM, is considered by the academic psychology community as not actually existing as described. It is an interesting issue in philosophy of government how it should be handled if it were to - should one be pragmatic and avoid the possibility of abuse by accepting the lesser harm to the state of a small number of people (which may or may not be definitioally equal, depending on terms, to the number of bodies) being dissatisfied with their status? Does one simply make it very difficult to be certified as someone with DID for legal purposes to discourage fraud? Would real disassociated identities have equal merit in some philosophical sense to an integrated person anyhow? Maybe we should view voting as having merit based on life experience, with the one-vote-per-person of today just being a convenient dodge of administrative details of doing it "the right way", or perhaps voting when young is "borrowing" a bit of the privilege in society one gets over one's whole life? I suppose this makes the point that in political philosophy, any action or structure may have hundreds of justifications that have little to do with each other (many of which may be based on radically different philosophies). Even without DID being a major issue (either because it's very rare or because it's not real), deep AI (which I personally strongly believe in and question materialists who don't) will open similar issues...