Monday, March 30, 2009

I didn't sign the social contract, so why am I still subject?

I'm posting far earlier this evening than I'm used to. Normally it's write, take pills, go to bed. I guess I'm changing it up because I'd like to avoid the tyranny of scheduling. I've already written about that, so you should have a pretty good idea of what I mean.

Today while going on to campus to go to class and have my psychologist appointment, I started on writing a little political/philosophical tract on anarchism. I'm not done and I don't think that this is the proper venue to post it. I'm just doing it because I haven't seriously put forth my views in quite some time, and in writing I can remove inconsistencies, and put forth the ideas without having to remove anyone's illusory ideas. That's my primary problem with having a vocal political discussion, I have to deal with whatever preconceived notions my counterpart has. That's not to say I won't have to deal with some of those if I accept questions and criticisms of my writing, but at least I can do so in a measured and concise fashion. I'm big on opening up for questions and discussions, but I find quite often that many people don't have the same base of knowledge as I do, and if I have a certain type of discussion with those people I either dominate it and don't learn anything or spend the entire time trying to give the other people some sort of reference from which to assess my position.

There are problems with my attitudes towards political discussion and my attitudes towards other people's opinions, but I'm working on it.

Besides working on that, thusfar short, political tract, I've simply been cleaning my room and doing laundry and getting done chores. I haven't really taken care of any of that stuff in a while, as in months. It's nice to get back on top of things, and a little disconcerting to realise how out of it I've been. That I'm in a state where I can finally take care of most of this stuff is a good sign though. I'm very pleased to be in a situation which allows me to take care of all the stuff I've got going on.

That's the primary problem with my politics. Reconciling my ideals with my daily life is extremely hard as long as I'm pursuing a career in academia. One might think that a career in academia is perfectly suited to professing interesting political ideas, but my ideas are somewhat threatening to the structure of academia as well. It's a problem. I want to be part of a system which I tend to think of as corrupting.

I'm not a fan of heirarchy in any of its varieties, and the academic variety is no exception. So I'm trying to become part of this heirarchy in order to research on the brain and it's function but I am also strongly opposed to it. There are things I can do when I eventually run my own lab, and when I've got more control over the direct application of my power, but just the having of said power is somewhat of a conflict of interest. I suppose it's an instance of curiosity overpowering ideals. I don't suppose it will be a serious issue, but I'm still somewhat ill at ease with it.

I've always hated jumping through hoops, and I still do. Even in elementary school I wasn't much for following the rules as they were writ. It helped that I wanted to learn, but I didn't want to do well in school. I didn't want to do badly, I simply didn't care about how I did in school I just wanted to learn more. That's the vitality that this system doesn't reward. It isn't a desire to learn which is rewarded, it's ability and willingness to jump through hoops.

That I may become the facilitator of one of those hoops isn't a comfortable thing. There is also the issue of who I may be getting grant money for research from. The government and corporations which provide grant money deeply bother me. The sorts of malfeasance going on in those circles is disgusting. When I say disgusting I mean it in the literal sense, I am so bothered that my breath momentarily leaves me.

So there's some sorting I need to do. I want so much to learn these things no one knows about the brain, but all the while I have to put up with a generally unfavourable and in many ways immoral system. The fact that the University of California does weapons research for the US is a big bother. If I'm to be part of that behemoth then I must somehow reconcile that. If I get money from the government for research I can't know that said research wouldn't be used for military applications though I doubt my arm of research would be particularly useful.

The thing is I don't know how to disengage from all these systems I so abhor. The main cause for my philosophy is that I don't have a choice. I was born here and I am automatically subject to the laws, to the taxes, to the police force, to all the things put forth in a social contract with this government, and with the companies that surround me, and yet I never signed that contract.

The social contract may have been made at some point, but I never got a say in signing it. Even to leave I need permission of many groups larger than myself. In order to live, eat breath and have shelter I must subject myself to more of these systems. If I chose to disengage and remain in this country I'll simply be leaching off the systems I'm trying to disengage from. The point is that None of us is given the option to opt out.

I am registered with the Selective Service. It is a legal requirement, and in order to pay for college I had to sign up. I couldn't say fuck it and protest that way, because I wouldn't have been eligible for federal monies for university. I need that money because my family doesn't have enough to put me through, and no mater how much I know and how well I can construct experiments I cannot perform them without a degree. I cannot be a part of all this science without access to many things and in order to get access I must subject myself further to systems of government and corporations.

I've oft thought of the implications of that. I am subject to a contract I never signed.

I wish more people would think about that. None of us who were born in this country ever got a choice in being a part of the social contract.

Remember how subject to the government's whims and to the whims of those to whom you owe money and to whom you pay rent and with whom you've cellphone and electric and television contracts, and then think of how many of those contracts you've just taken at face value.

I'm in an ironclad contract with the state, and I have been in it for my whole life, and there is no getting out.

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