dal niente

Traditions

Yesterday, [CM] and I set up a Christmas tree. It’s been years since I’ve set up a Christmas tree. Back home, my mom and sister would take care of this kind of thing. Around Christmas time, I’d cross by the basement one day and there it was, automatically all tinselled and lighted and everything.

It’s the first Christmas that CM and I set up together. It’s nice to do this kind of thing, I think– sets up this feeling of belonging somehow.

Lets go today

There was an interesting idea I read about “fault.” It’s more interesting in the way that it reflects on the modern emphasis of “logic.”
So, imagine that there’s this billboard on the side of the road, and it’s advertising something. 50% off shoes at this particular factory outlet or whatever.

A lady is driving along this road, sees the sign, takes her eyes off the road for 2.5 seconds to look at the details of the sign. Then continues driving, and later goes to that place to take advantage of the sale.

Now, a second lady is driving by, exact same road conditions. Looks to the sign, takes her eyes off the road for 2.5 seconds. When she turns her eyes back to the road, she suddenly realises that traffic in front of her has stopped—and too late, she smashes into the motorcyclist in front of her. The cyclist gets crushed between two vehicles and sustains a serious injury to his spine that paralyses all four of his limbs for life.
Now, how would the real world handle a situation like this?
Chances are, the motorcyclist will sue the lady for the injuries sustained. This is a category of injury called “catastrophic injury.” Chances are, the amount of money that she’s going to be sued for is going to totally break her wallet.

So the question is—why is it that she should be sued? What did she do wrong?

Was it the act of hitting the motorcyclist? But, you see, that was an accident, wasn’t it? The whole nature of an accident is supposed to be that it wasn’t intended. However, someone might reason causation—that the motorcyclist would not have been injured, if not for the actions of the driver.
So are we saying that people should be held responsible for all accidents they cause? How careful does someone need to be?

Society tends to draw arbitrary lines of causation. If we argue that the accident is that lady’s fault for looking away from the street, then—what about that other driver that looked away but didn’t hit anyone?

If the crime is looking away from the street (because that might cause an accident) and not the accident itself, then both ladies would be equally guilty. Yet, because of random dumb luck, one lady got away with it, and society wouldn’t think twice about it—while another one will probably spend the rest of her life paying off lawsuit debts.

It brings up the question of just what you think is fair, I guess. And in the event of bad things happening, maybe it highlights that all too often, we look for people to blame.

It really just depends on how you want to draw the lines.

It strikes me as interesting that nowadays, there so much stigma around being a smoker. It’s unfashionable, nowadays. So i f someone sees you smoking and they didn’t know that you smoked before, the first bit of conversation that comes out is something along the lines of: “You know that’s bad for your health right?” or “How long have you been smoking?”
The basic conversation that comes out of a revelation of someone’s smoking habit usually has to do with some sort of automatic righteousness or higher horse by the people who don’t smoke.
But really—what is the issue?

First of all—is it anybody’s business when someone decides to smoke? People might say it’s something to do with an unhealthy lifestyle—but there are so many things to do that are unhealthy. We can each rich food, we can live sedenentary lives.

Am I saying that we should never point fingers anywhere, because we’re not pointing for the right reasons?
No. I think it’s necessary to make accusations, right or wrong, because that’s the only way that our theories of better ways to do things will ever be tested.

But I do think that if we want the privilege of being able to be judgemental, we need to accept that we ourselves will be judged and processed according to the systems that we propose. And, we need to realise that if we ever chose a system, a way of life, we ought to champion it, otherwise not live at all.
In large part that means submitting to criticism, and paying the dues we need to evolve our causes. It means working as much, if not more, on ourselves as we do others. Otherwise, we’ll experience “the disconnect”.

I think everyone knows what I’m talking about when I talk about “the disconnect,” even if I can’t describe it properly. Everyone knows what it is. We spend our whole lives finding a way to connect with ourselves, and with others.

The means by which we achieve this are tailored to fit—but not by anyone but ourselves. I can probably be sure of one thing though—we won’t be able to maintain the connection if we don’t think for ourselves, and if we don’t take responsibility for the way we think.