Utopia (13): Organized by respect
December 15, 2007 Leave a comment
I hope this is not first and last of my Utopia posts after such a long time. I have ideas, I have story, only lack of the will is problem now. Or a lot of other things in my real life for that matter.
Next day I was first time at my work. Many things were similar and – as expected – even more were different. While we are talking about Arto object platform (it is a bit more than language – although not that far from our Java) I am more or less feeling at home. I have to learn a lot of new things – but principles are the same. Usage, habits, all the rest – on the other hand – is much different. People around me were informed about my little indisposition. Most of the day I spent with Caren – this time really hard working. I was surprised how organized she was during the work. She was connected to some communication service and she also played some simplistic strategic game here and there – but most of the time she was focused on work. Not that we have no breaks – but work discipline was much better – and it was surprisingly all much more entertaining in overall.
Although I have a car I’ve started to travel by mass transport because I simply love to watch all the new people and fresh behavior patterns. In my previous life – in our world – there was a lot of mess when I compare it to this one. I’m still surprised how people acts when they are getting on the bus, how they are watchful when they interact, how organized their movement seems to be. Yes – you can see something similar in regimes that don’t provide a lot of freedom. Yet people here looks generally happy and free – and still willing to adapt to each other on every step. I had to ask Caren about that in one of those first days:
– “Don’t you feel sometimes like living in some… flock?”
– “No – why?”
– “Because of how organized are you when you’re in streets! Because you’re really walking on the right when you’re in the mall. Because you all act the same.”
– “Well… is that what you think? We’re all that same?”
– “No, that’s the problem. You know – when I saw you – as a people – in the streets, in public transport, going shopping – whatever! – it reminded me of sci-fi movies depicting some totalitarian system. But you’re not that way – that confuses me. A lot of order with a lot of individualism and diversity. How you can keep that organized part in proper… proportion?”
– “Should we demonstrate our individualism thrusting into each other out there?” Caren waved with her hand towards outside behind the window.
– “Of course not! But it’s not normal to be that… disciplined!”
– “It IS normal 🙂 – even if it’s not common in your world. Look – I’ve been to countries where the system is not like here and I was quite shocked – have to say the least. I’m glad that we’re educated to this from childhood.”
– “Yes! 🙂 We’re taught to take care, to be observing, to… not collide with other people. In a bad way I mean.”
– “Educated…” that hardly could come to my mind. “Well… if I refresh my memories they taught us few things too. To look around when crossing street. To free the seat for older. But it somehow doesn’t work in general.”
– “Maybe we’re taught much more – plus we have much stronger influence from our surrounding.”
Caren smiled at me and pushed herself off the computer desk.
– “Sure!” I always agree with coffee.
So we’re both walking to the kitchen and Caren is saying:
– “Your questions are quite tough in one aspect.”
– “Like… you never thought about them explicitly?”
– “Yup. Not exactly never… really. We talked about many things at school. However not every single thing was explained with whys. We had whys explained for most important or most typical. The rest was just… it just fit into scheme, you know.”
– “Of course… explaining the same principle over and over – or even slightly different variant of that principle… it would be boring.”
– “Like that. So – no one told me why we are so organized on streets that it looks to you like some totalitarian system. I can only try to construct answer based on principles I know. And I guess we were quite good equipped with knowledge in order to do that.”
– “Go for it. :-)”
– “First thing is that we are very individual – every one of us. But if you want to be individual enough you have to have space – your domain, you know. And as much as we like to interact with each other we also respect each other’s domains. And that affects our behavior on streets as well. It’s not because we’re stupid sheep – it’s because we’re watchful and respectful.”
– “Fair enough. And surprisingly consistent.”
In the meantime we’re already in the kitchen and Caren is making ourselves some coffee. I’m looking outside the window and I see that “organized movement” in a slightly different light now.
– “Do you know what’s the title of the first book by Ronan Reeves?” Caren is asking.
– “Respect as a drive of Open Society.”
– “It’s quite significant – and emblematic as well – that he used word respect in the title of his very first work. And it’s probably not just by coincidence. You might be mistaken that we’re all good at each other here. I’m angry sometimes, people are lazy, we have our bad days, there is a lot of misunderstanding between us. But we tend to back off for a little while before we say something bad or ultimate. There is reason for many things and I always ask first. Or I try to ask first at least. 😉 I don’t like everyone – far from it actually. But I have to respect them. Or ignore them for that matter. But I have to respect their way of life. If they affect my productivity at work I can go to have a talk with my boss and he’s here to handle such matter. If I have nothing with someone I can simply ignore his behavior. If there is reason to interact I do so. People are reasonable mostly – and I can talk with them and share my thoughts with them. When it’s no use I let it be.”
I poured some milk into my coffee and we both sat down.
– “So… respect,” I hummed.
– “Respect is important and it’s very good that he picked this as the drive. It’s not the only important thing. Open society requires open communication. If someone can affect many things we should know much more about him or her. And we have to have devices how to change the course of things if it’s important. Good education. Not high grade one – good one. I mean – we’re taught about OS basics on elementary schools. It’s the cornerstone of this society. Respect, open communication, even some political background. Why taxes are important, what are the roles of state in the society – many things are open for discussion still. Especially how much responsibility should state have. It also changed quite a lot during those 90 years since World War. Reeves also wrote many books that were much more about politics – although he started with books that looked more like game theories. He was also involved into politics a lot – he was Wilson’s adviser for instance.”
– “Aha… now I’m thinking – when I want to see some of his book where can I find them? Do you generally use net for this?”
– “If you like reading electronic book – no problem. If you prefer paper I still have few of his books in my bookshelf.”
– “Ok. In that case I might pay you a visit and borrow them. ;-)”
Caren smiled at me: