Substance as Metalife
Biochemically, there is a definition of living– it’s usually a binary status that people can agree on in a textbook sense. It doesn’t have to do with brain activity, it just means that your body is alive.
On the other hand, there is “living” in colloquial sense– doing all the things that every commercial on television is about: buying a car to take your kids to soccer practice; buying life insurance so that you know your love ones are protected after you kick the bucket; going to the movies; making tacos; cleaning grass stains out of your kids’ white clothes with the new formula of laundry detergent. You get the idea. Almost everything on television (with the exception of the payouts you get from life insurance) are all about you being alive, and being alive beyond simply just existing– they have to do with you taking action.
We’re already familiar with metadata, whether or not we know that we’re actually using it. Some of the earliest examples of metadata are the index cards you used to find at libraries–there is information in books, but those cards are information about where to find those books. Metadata is information about information.
The relationship here is between data and the data that is only possible after the original data exists. That is to say, there couldn’t be any metadata unless there was data to begin with.
What I’d like to toy with is the idea of metalife– that is to say, a kind of life that can only exist based on living.
The first thing I should point out is that this theory is a social one. It assumes connections that go beyond the individual. Thus, person’s metalife may be affected by their own life, but in larger part, it is determined by the collective of lives that the individual associates with (in which their individual life is one out of an infinite denominator).
Okay, lets get out of the technical bits and straight to an example.
What’s the point of an analysis of metalife?
I think the importance of metalife is that the richer your metalife, the more fulfilled you are with life. In a sense, building a metalife is the “point” of or existences.
That leads us to the question then, “what is my metalife composed of?”
While metalife is a spiritual, mental and intellectual category of non-physical units, life itself is quantifyable in physical units. Your metalife is the sense of “being alive” that you derive from living in action. Being alive, on the other hand, is most easily described like the bottom of Maslow’s heiarchy of needs pyramid– you can quantifyably compare “how alive” a rich person is by counting how he has more health care at his disposal, more security, better clothing (armor), and good food. (I’m assuming a hypothetical rich person who doesn’t spend all their money on trying to OD them selves on drugs).
Compare this to someone who is the polar opposite, stricken by poverty: eating badly (if at all); no shelter; no clothes; no security; and a much higer likeliness of disease and illness.
So, if you had a sliding scale, you could somehow get the sense that actually being alive was a variable proposition– some people are clearly in a better position to be alive than others.
Modern capitalism makes at least two false propositions.
The first is that it takes X more units of Y to be alive.
The second is that metalife and life are one and the same.
First, lets look at the first proposition. The fact that you’re reading this blog means that you have access to a computer. That probably means you’re at least in a certain socio-economic class– and that you probably won’t die easily. You likely have enough food, shelter, and health to be alive.
And that’s my point. You’re already fine.
You’re not someone in a developping nation who is starving, and has a life expectancy of 20 years. You’re not at significant risk of being shot, imprisoned without trial, raped, or mutiliated– your basic life functions and the security of yoru person are a given.
But capitalist society would have you think that you need something more, because you need to somehow guarantee your aliveness. Thus, instead of just eating a balanced portions of food, the need for sustenence is extended into the luxury of higher forms of eating. Cola. Beer. Fine dining.
Lets get on to the second point. Does having a beer improve how alive you feel?
It might, actually.
And this is what metalife is about. Metalife is about the sense of being alive that you get from activities which normally just maintan your existence. So maybe beer isn’t the greatest fuel for your body– but, the social interaction that comes from you being drunk, the experiences that you get from interacting with other drunk people (good and bad) may give you a definite sense that you are alive.
I had my interview with the big law firm on Wednesday. I got some pretty good tips all around, both before the interview and after the interview, from [Visual Noise], [RW], [Secondee], and even some people I met at RW’s party last night. The most interesting one was one that I picked up at the party yesterday.
“Everyone has a tick,” he explained. “Some people scratch, some people slouch back and forth… my trick? I wear a ring. And whenever I feel edgy, I just rotate the ring around my finger– it sounds dumb, but doing that looks a lot less stupid than a lot of other kinds of ticks.”
The interview, I think, I went pretty well, but it’s hard to say from these sorts of situations. I was interviewed by a senior partner and a solicitor, which is to say, someone really important and someone who is a normal lawyer. I had a good chat I think– it was a lot more informal than I thought. The fact that my CV had so much experience on it was probably a good thing, because it meant that we could keep the talk focused on what I’d done and what I was good at, rather than things like philosophy or anything related to Australian politics, which are more fluffy in an unpredictable kind of way.
I think that the partner was pretty interested in me, but the junior, a bit less so. Some people suggested that maybe it’s just because the junior was new to the interviewing process, and didn’t want to butt in since the partner was doing most of the interviewing– fair enough.
I’ve found though that it’s really hard to not look at things that are important to me and to critisize myself in retrospect. That’s the thing– I usually move look forward at all times. It’s one of my strengths, to see that things are always going to get better. But this clerkship? This is important to me. And that interview? It was important– but it’s in the past, so naturally, I keep looking at it, and second guessing my performance.
Not that it changes anything.
It’ll be 2 weeks before the list of 2nd stage interview candidates comes out. There were something like 150 people who were interviewed for first stage interviews, which will be culled to probably about half for the 2nd stage– and ultimately, they usually take between 30-40 people. 30 or 40 people… out of 150. Those are some odds, huh?
It’s true, I don’t have to be number one to get in there… but the truth of the matter is, I’m up against some pretty talented competition. Not only that, but they have the home team advantage– I find myself constantly struggling to keep up to date with Australian politics and economic stuff. I dred the possibility of that kind of thing coming up in an interview, so I tend to steer conversations in the direction of skills and experience instead.
There’s not much to do at this point except carry on with my usual work and just hope for the best. It’s out of my hands at this point– it just depends on how strong the competition was.
I started watching a new anime, Sword Art Online. I’m really enjoying it– it’s clever in a way that might only make sense to gamers. I’ve never been really into MMORPGs, but I’ve played enough of them to really appreciate the attention to details and the cleverness of the stories. I liked, for example, that when everyone started the virtual game, everyone was equipped with the same, cheap ass leather-armour, just like in typical MMORPGs. [CM] and [SiB] are both enjoying the anime very much.
A special mention is Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou, which you can watch on Youtube. This show is hilarious, but you have to be in the mood for it.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9gN5Gtabq8
On the other hand: Fuck you Naruto!!! I could probably compress every 5 Naruto episodes into 1 episode. The pace of each episode is so long and drawn out, you can really tell they’re milking it and stalling. Which is a god damned shame– the latest episodes have Shikamaru, Ino, and Choji taking on their back-from-the-dead master, Asuma. Shikamaru is one of my favourite characters of all time, and Choji had some potential for a good backstory– but they just presented the ideas so poorly. For such an important, epic matchup, they delivered it with lousy animation direction and terrible scripting.
If you haven’t seen the Dark Knight Rises (Batman) movie yet, you should. Interesting stuff, quite fun overall, even though Batman is actually not-as-important as everyone else in the movie.