8/1/12 questions and discussion
1-what kinds of things are we willing to make sacrifices for?4
2-if reason fails us what's the alternative?3
3-when they say "It's just a theory" what are they thinking?4
4-suppose life is found on Mars, where does that leave us?5
5-how does money affect friendships?3
6-what do you do when you don't know what to do? 5
7-is it worth it to connect with others and how do we do it?6
8-how could we be living if energy had no cost?5
is it worth it to connect with others, and how do we do it?6
Lucy: I recently had to set up internet at home and needed the help of technical support. The young guy I spoke with was easy to work with, so I told him "good job!" This led us to a discusion between us. He told me about his 21 year old concerns, I told him about my recently divorced concerns -- his parents, he said, were divorced. He started talking about his dad's death on his birthday. His dad was an alcoholic, I could relate. I was supportive, but this was a different kind of discussion. Encouraging my friends is different. I'm talking to a kid! I felt like the social worker I was, it was fun! After this "random connection" I thought: that wasn't forced, it was accidental, a good thing. There are times when it's not worth it. Anonymity played a role too in the success of this conversation. Overall it's beneficial but I'm looking to branch out connect and it's different because I'm rusty at the social scene and I'm older! "Older" means I'm more set in existing social circles. Recently I also made eye contact at grocery store with a stranger which later led to his leering at me! Wrong kind of anonymous!
Sean: in the past I would have given an unqualified yes answer to Lucy's question. It's what we're supposed to be doing, it makes life worth while, but depending on the strength of the connection it literally changes your reality, your outlook on life, your friends to the point where if that changes one's whole life. It can feel upside-down. I was aware of this intellectually but now I feel it viscerally. Memories arise unwanted, make me feel alien towards what is my home town. The risks make me think one should have one's eyes open, be more careful. Democrats will be upset if Obama loses/Republicans if Romney wins. The independent voter won't feel so deeply, they'll adapt better -- see the good in what can be done. If one is that partisan you're guaranteed to be unhappy.
Lucy: can you choose your connection's strength?
Sean: I think you have to because i don't want that much more disappointment.
Jon: any pitfalls with this more cautious approach?
Sean: one risks shallowness, wishy washiness. I dislike people who don't pay attention to what's going on in the world.
Art: I understand people who don't pay attention: sometimes I'm too busy to get my laundry done!
Jon: it does depend on what one pays attention to.
Sean: it occurs to me the hispanic demographic is swelling and there is likely a tension between older and younger there. the trend will shift on social issues to be more conservative. Wired magazine had a cover story about a drug that if taken will prevent PTSD. The idea is to reprogram how we react to memories. Memory making, it turns out, is a creative act. Every time we remember something we are actually telling a story and it will be likely we'll alter it each succeeding time.
Mike: Lucy's story reminded me of the drunk at the bar who wants to tell his life story and because you're a stranger you take an interest and he feels better.
Jon: I had a classmate in High School who was often in trouble for one thing or another. He once told us "Negative attention is better than no attention."
Art: I think it's essential to connect. Without it, delusion/ego takes over. Community is essential, but in my experience creativity is an individual thing. The audience and support are necessary to that individual. Why do we have such superficial criteria for seeking connection: money, age, height, physical appearance? Reproduction? I should connect with people who identify with me and are fun.
Lucy: how do you find those people?
Art: I haven't been successful, except for the artists' community.
Siva: first we have to define the manner in which we want to connect. Freud had his stages of life, with the last one labelled "libido." the way it manifests for each person is different. If one is comfortable expressing one's way one does better. Now I'm bored with all that libido-centered stuff. I want to connect more meaningfully but have no idea how. This philosophy group of ours isn't the kind of deep I seek.
Jon: you feel a lack?
Siva: others seem to have a knack for it. Maybe childhood experiences shape this, if those first childhood relationships were meaningfully positive. Mine were rotten, crappy.
Matt: I haven't had the desire for people contact since age 9 (I'm diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome). I'm learning that it's good for me. I'm also dealing with an addiction. That's another part of me a good friend or two could help.
Lucy: a listener benefits from contact with strangers if they're open to receiving. People like me. People in seats next to me on planes. In college lots of people talked to me. There are times when you reach out and the other rebuffs you. Sometimes people have done this to me I've not been inn the mood for talking. That's the hard part -- we don't always know what will happen.
Siva: the idea of shared experiences at work I avoid. I don't want to make that the basis of our connection.
Lucy: It's hard to know. My ex-husband is now using online dating and likes the ability to filter potential meetings ahead of time via a computer.
Matt: it's like applying or a job!
Lucy: buy if you don't have a network what do you do? And there are different kinds of connections. Sometimes we need to connect on many levels.
Jon: and the more levels the more fragile?
Jeremy: I've heard friend defined as one who likes you for both you strengths and your weaknesses. The greatest connection I've had recently began with adversity.
Sean: has anyone had experience with not living in a city/suburb? How might the idea of community be different in a rural setting? I think we've lost -- are losing -- community. It's hard to create community across ethnic/cultural lines.
Art: the military draft was a good way of bridging those divides in my lifetime.