On drama

It surprises me there is no Wikipedia article on the social meaning of the word “drama”, while it has articles about just about everything, no matter how mundane. Because no matter what you say about it, there is nothing more mundane than drama.

You heard me. Drama is mundane. Drama is normal. Drama is a human thing.

“Leave me out of your drama.”, “Please no drama!”, “Drama llamas will be shot and mounted!”

Don’t be silly. Drama is how humans know they’re in a community — this is why they start it, this is why they keep it running, this is why they will blow everything out of proportion. The actual issue presented is not the real purpose of drama. The only place without drama is the one where social ties are so weak they cannot sustain a good fight.

Drama is taking sides. Drama is declaring allegiance. Drama is taking action purely because of that allegiance. Drama is calling upon others to declare allegiance. Drama is a measure of status and support. You can’t have drama if there’s only two participants, it needs at least one third person to pick a side.

The actual issue is not important at all, but the issues of allegiance are a matter of social life and social death. It’s who’s with them and who’s against them that’s people are out to find out, and there are few things more important than status. Often, even being fed and clothed takes a back seat — status can get you fed and clothed, but being fed and clothed is unlikely to give you status.

It is said that all is fair in love and war, and drama is both. And just as unavoidable as both. People might not even be consciously aware of doing it, and are certainly not terribly aware of why.

Eradicating drama is impossible. Only by being conscious of it you can mitigate the ill effects.


Religious liberalism

I wanted a break from all those business related posts, so here’s one…

It has been a constant in my life for the past ten years. Maybe it was because of the Internet, since English speaking people have been the bulk of my contacts since then, maybe for some other reason. But wherever I went, it followed me, and yet, I have never seen that in the workplace, on the street, in the Russian segment of the Net.

Is it a cultural thing, or is it something simple? Where are the roots? I’m not sure. But I’m pretty certain there’s a deep held belief, shared by so many, that if someone — anyone, really — is capable of understanding technology, they are incapable of understanding anything else, be it social science, fine art, taste in clothing, or anything, really. They’re ‘geeks’, to be exploited when possible and shunned at all other times, because they do not understand either ‘the common people’ or ‘the refined people’, or even ‘the subtleties of language’.

And it irks me, because I know it’s not true.

I’m quite liberal. I believe in the individual rights and affirm that any individual’s right to swing their fist only ends somewhere right next to where my nose begins. I agree there is a right any individual has to choose to be uneducated and stupid if they so desire, and I am as committed to protect that right as I am to protect others.

But while they do have that right, from a moral standpoint I cannot and will not approve such behavior. It is a sin not to wish to be better than you already are, more capable than you already are, and there is nothing the nameless gods of darkness like more than wasted human potential. Everyone has at least something. You can’t do it? You just have more room to grow.

It’s okay to be tired, it’s okay to pause and take a breath, it’s okay to take things slowly, it’s okay to know your limits… but it’s not okay to think that if you reached one limit, there’s no others for you to strive for. There is always more to learn, more to do, more to create. More to leave your children to improve upon yet further.

Poverty is not a sin. But giving up hope to get out of it and resigning to your fate is. And giving up, refusing to strive and committing to forever stay where you are means, in a very real sense, being dead. It’s no different from suicide, just takes longer and you don’t notice.

It’s not related to Second Life… not directly. Not as such. But if I see any more of that, I’m going to strangle someone.

It’s much easier to avoid talking to dead people if they don’t breathe, you see. 🙂

P.S. A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

— Robert A. Heinlein

In the beginning, there was a word, and it was an expletive

When I first created my Second Life account, more than a year ago, I felt like there was no intelligent life around at all. In a MMORPG, this is not a problem, there’s always something else to chew on. Obviously, not in Second Life, and back then, my machine couldn’t really handle it, so I logged off, never to return.

This year, I was explicitly invited back to spend a short time with someone. And it was such a special time, that I stayed around, anticipating more, trying to get adjusted, trying to adjust the world to me. That dream isn’t likely to happen now, but I’m still here, roaming across the grid, messing with things, and scaring people.

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