Saturday, July 27, 2013

Privacy Intrinsic

My guinea pig, Pickle, loves to run and I'd always felt bad that she didn't have a bigger living space in which to do so. I don't think she cared one iota, but after some looking I found her an eight square foot living space. She really likes it, but she kept going to the bathroom on the side where her litter wasn't. After giving her box a thorough cleaning, I moved her makeshift canopy over to the side with the litter. I'd used a ferret swing to give her a place to hide under if she wanted. Sure enough, the added privacy over her litter did the trick. 

Pickle's old living space.

If privacy is important to such a guinea pig in some intrinsic way, how vital is it to a human being? I don't think our society, institutions, government, and business do enough to protect people's privacy. It should be really hard to find someone desires seclusion. These days it generally amounts to a single payment of $19.99 on one of many find-a-person dot coms or similar.

The collection of data by our government is worrying as well. I do think dangerous criminals and terrorists need to be tracked and stopped, but not at the expense of engaging surveillance on innocent people. President Obama dismisses these intrusions into people's privacy as being necessary for national security, but like so many of our leaders before him, he hasn't considered the cost or unintended consequences of collecting such data. 

The Government shouldn't be above the law, otherwise it loses the confidence of the people in trying to enforce that law. If corporations have to seek our consent to be tracked or have our personal data stored, so too should our government if for any other reason than collecting a fair tax or registering a vehicle.  

The analogy here is obvious I suppose. This is uncharted territory for the US Government because they are collecting this data with the knowledge of the public, but without it's consent. It's a dangerous experiment where we are all the guinea pigs. 

Pickle expressing distress at having her new living space partitioned with a wall (I removed it).

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Four Years

The sum of a person goes beyond merely the rules they've decided to follow or ignore. We each are equally composed of habits, vices, loves, hates, and everything in between. I understand why people become hard toward others that they don't agree with. 

I get it. Really. 

I don't believe in second chances. People need more opportunities than two if they're to figure things out. We should call it somewhere around five to seven chances to figure things out. The first three times we make a mistake, we barely even know what we've done is wrong. The fourth and fifth times generally start to tickle the conscience. After that the mind starts to grasp what the body may have done. 

The veneer of the wood from which each of us is carved has it's own grain even if it isn't representative of what's underneath. To wander around raw is too painful. Even to go against the flow of our own facade, false or otherwise, hurts even worse. 

Pain is the first motivator of conscience. The initial indiciation we've gone and messed everything up. Then comes the fear people will judge you, because only Heaven knows anyone else has made mistakes. Sins don't pile up on the soul, and they don't leave a stain either. To assume anything could burden the soul is simply to deny the divine entirely.  

Some things are inviolable. Unfortunately, the mind and body don't quite make the list. Nor do the relationships we try to maintain with both. All sorts of earthly organizations try to rule us through a fear of what will happen outside of this life, while ignoring the straight up facts one doesn't need faith to realize. I worry more about the hell we can create for ourselves in life than any awaiting in death. 

To live is to live with regret though. Even when one of my fellow humans forgives or validates me, I can't help but feel guilty for having troubled them at all.

Here comes the tangent.

I've spent a lot of time strongly disliking Henry David Thoreau and his four years of civil disobedience. It felt cowardly what he did. I think deep down what I really felt was envy. Four years of solitude to just think and write, barely a bother to anyone. In September of this year I'll have had my four years to think and write, and at just a couple years different in age from when Henry did the same. I don't liken anything of what I've done or written to Thoreau but I understand why the man did what did. 

I get it. Really.

This probably reads like something a first year college student would write after being assigned to read Thoreau and thinking they have something lent to them from the past of a great man. Yep, pretty pathetic. It's true though, the works that endure the greatest amount of time seem to resonate with me the most.