i was just about to shut down on this machine i am using here at this internet cafe and i noticed on the desk top they are using ‘open office’. that is the open source version of ms office for those unix-linux-loving anti-ms people. i guess that is the czech people. how rad is that?!
here i sit at the star cafe at the end of Narodni just passed Vaclavske nam. in Praha. the star cafe is about as starbucks as you can get without the mermaid. the latest eminem cd is playing, cuss words and all. got to love that. this is what i love about traveling. just haning out and taking in the surroundings. ok, in this case, they aren’t real different than home but they are. looks the same, same music but these people fought for it. sure, they now have the pleasure of working a minimum wage job at the star cafe, but the world is full of possibilities for them. they know what it is like not to be able to express themselves. we don’t. we’ve always had choices and possibilites and free speech even if sometimes we have to sue for it. no judge can say eminem can’t release his album. but i don’t know that he appreciates that. of course he is in another space and time, fighting a different battle. so should we all in the states, just be thankful that we can speak out and just mellow? nah. i think we need the extreme to get the middle to try a little harder for those that don’t even have the minimum we do. if we don’t take the freedom for granted now and again, we might not expand any further, or strive to bring it to others. trust me, it makes sense.
society seems to be a line that we all walk. i really don’t think there is one philosophical frame work that society can operate by. no perfect system. nothing to make everyone equal and yet, advance the culture, satisfy the spirit. anything that did that would bring the standard deviation of people so closely together that art and science would be completely stifled or dangerously directed. having just finished ‘brave new world’ (bnw) and thinking about the disasters of the soviet union (twisting science and technology that was not sound), i realize that societies trade off, is exactly as the regional world controller said in ‘bnw’. we trade happiness for high art. but by happiness he means something very specific and not necessarily the definition that everyone goes by. i might call it ‘contentedness’. everyone satisfied by their life, their job and sport. nothing too easy, but nothing too hard. everything we do taking in the excess energy and time that we have at the end of a complete day at ‘the’ office. a life that leaves us no time to contemplate the meaning of anything, anything at all. in ‘brave new world’ they had to biologically adapt people to their level of contentment (street cleaners happy with street cleaning work) whereas in the soviet union (based on the biased western education i received) it was done with propoganda, ‘education’ and dictitorial control. i mean if you could turn off the wonder in your mind (as in ‘i wonder why the water goes down clock wise in the toilet’ wonder), like they do biologically in ‘bnw’, then doing your job and getting your pay and buying your bread, such as in communism, would be easy and everyone WOULD be equal. but it isn’t so easy to turn off your wonder. and, as we saw in the soviet union, even dictitorial control can’t keep those who really have the desire to wonder, from being creative and creating art, from exploring science and learning the truth. we learn as we grow. we grow because we learn. to eliminate the wonder that inspires this is to reprogram nature. it is also necessary to find another way to teach us. another motivation. so much of learning is motivated simply out of curiosity and wonder. disease researchers want to ease peoples’ suffering but also they just want to understand. they wonder why. stifle that and you can control desire, for art and science, but you also have the problem of retarding learning and knowledge advancement as people are no longer driven. i guess the communists did it by replacing the drive and motivation of wonder with the desire to support the state, society and populace as a whole. but in the long run, without chemistry and biology, like in ‘bnw’, i don’t think this level of societal control is possible. and i am glad. i’d miss my art, even if it is only hair colour and laminated fashion photos hanging from my ceiling.
a beautiful sunday in praha. the sun is shining and it is war. my calves are killing me, but it means i have burned off the calories i inhaled at TGI Friday’s on potato skins. i realize it is pathetic, go to a foriegn country, have american chain food, but i haven’t had grease like that since christmas. old habits die hard and fat makes food taste good. cheers.