Where to begin, where to begin. Another month has passed, suggesting that I've been lax in keeping this up to date, which is in its own way true. I do prefer to try to post more regularly about the things that are happening, but it's proven to be a difficult habit for me to develop. I always feel as if the people who want to know what's happening will ask me, and the rest were there, and thus there's no need for me to tell them. I already have enough trouble with people reminding me that I don't need to repeat myself endlessly just to be understood, and so I sometimes forget that I have to... uh... peat myself first.
So far this month—and tail end of last—I've taken three business trips: one to Seattle for a week for a hand-off of a project from development to support, and two to Atlanta for training on the software I'm currently supporting. I know I've spoken at length before about business travel and the feeling that when I got to fly for my company, I would have achieved something significant in my career. Now that I'm flying for my company, though, suddenly there's a lot less glamour to it. "Glamour" is the word for it, too. It was a magical thing, going to airports to be there when my father walked off the plane. I still remember the smell of the experience, though I couldn't describe it except by meaningless and inaccurate comparison to other scents. Now that I'm the one leaving the plane, there's some small amount of glitter that's been wiped away from those memories. The magic isn't gone, but it's suddenly as if I've had the curtain drawn back on a mechanical marvel and all the gears and levers have been exposed. There's no more mystery and charm to it. It's just routine.
Is it that there never was any magic, and my dreams were ill-aligned with reality? Is that there could be magic in it, but I've "grown up" so much that I've forgotten how to see it? I couldn't say for sure. Years of being the responsible one can be a grind on the soul. I spent much of the last of those three trips watching the original SubGenius commercial and thinking about how it tied directly into my situation. "Acting dumb so they'll think you're one of them" is something I have often lamented in my life, and working at a warehouse around decidedly blue-class people makes it even worse.
I have to reiterate again, these are not bad people! These are not evil people! These are not stupid people! These are good people! These are intelligent people! These are moral people! However, they have been trained by society not to look behind the Wizard's curtain and wonder about how the world works, except as the idle pondering between the nth and (n+1)th beers on Saturday night, to be forgotten by n+2. They have values and thoughts and ideals that have been given to them by their peers, their betters and their culture and never have they stopped to ponder why and how those and not some other set. They talk of "football and porno and books about war" without any regard to what else may be out there. They are part of the Konspiracy by dint of not knowing the Konspiracy exists.
I over-generalize, of course. What good revolutionary firebrand doesn't? I'm sure somewhere else within this warehouse there exists someone who is not like this. I have not, however, met this person, nor have circumstances existed under which I could meet this person other than through coded hand-signs and a sly wink at the right moment, when the commissars' eyes are turned towards the new inspirational posters we have hanging over the breakroom. I think there's a like-minded malcontent in my department in Atlanta, if only because of some of the conversations we've had in the past, but we never have a chance to just hang out given the rarity with which I actually go down there and the lack of time away from work while I'm there. That, however, is "my team", which is not anywhere close to my office.
I do know that there is at least one glorp on my team, and this makes any potential discussions difficult during work hours, even when I'm down in Atlanta.
The job itself remains reasonably uninteresting. I've learned things about real-time production support, logistics, warehouse management, Oracle, COBOL, job automation, team leadership, personnel motivation and conflict resolution. None of these things mean a damn to me in the long run, but they're all nice buzzwords that I can slap on my résumé should I need to consider leaving the company. Hopefully that won't happen. I passed my one-year anniversary with nary a hiccough—yet—which means this has now been my second-longest running job, behind only ISI. With any luck, this will be The Big One, though of course I refuse nowadays to predict any such thing.
Of note, however, is that I know elsewhere I've mentioned my timetable for moving to Seattle to the corporate office as being on or around early 2008. This may be advanced sharply thanks to one of my coworkers already in that area. She mentioned in passing that she had an open position under her for an analyst doing pretty much what I'm doing now but from a second-tier support and development perspective, not a first-tier support role. She suggested if the requisition was still open that I should apply for it and that if I did, she'd be interested in acting on it as soon as she could. She didn't pose this to the team at large. She didn't mention to me that she had suggested this to anyone else in the group. If she told anyone else, she did so strictly on the sly. I think this means that she's interested in my skills in specific, knowing my background as a developer.
Not only did this give my ego an unexpected boost as I had gotten from an outside source an unrequested and unanticipated compliment on my skills, but it also may potentially accelerate my timetable for moving to the Left Coast. I have no idea how long it will take HR to process my application, how long it would take for the interview and transfer process, or even if the job is actually still available. She didn't know any of those things either. However, these things could theoretically still come together to make the move to Seattle happen some time this year. At the very least, it's given me hope that even if it doesn't happen this year, it's made the likelihood of it happening eventually much greater, at least with this company. If I'm not still with this company in two years, I have no idea where we'll be.
As a sideline to all of this, I've just finished refinancing the house again. A rise in home prices has again made it possible for me to roll the last of my credit card debt from The Bad into my mortgage. It's tapped out my equity, but I'm locked into a thirty-year fixed 80/20 mortgage. Even if interest rates continue to rise, I won't be hurt on my home loan. All of the interest on my monthly outlay is now deductible, which will help our tax returns. Plus, the new mortgage payment is less than I was paying in both monthly payments on the credit card and mortgage before, so we're actually saving money each month. That will help our ability to save for the future, which is really where I want to be focusing my attention.
Between the refi and the application, I feel as if I'm finally in a position to start looking forward again. Not just "to Seattle" that's a step, not a journey. Where are we going, ultimately? What will we be able to build? What do we want from our future? What can we expect from "society", and what will we have to construct ourselves?
We need a religion.
I'm going to say that again, because some of you out there are sniggering behind your hands, paws, tentacles, talons, whatever. We need a religion. We need an organized statement of beliefs, a manifesto, a list of commandments. We need a structure within which we are all free to define our ideals and our personal ideologies, but that can serve as an umbrella organization under which we can all fit. We need a method of presenting outselves to the world at large not just as a collection of individuals, but as a movement. Dare I say we need to become a subculture?
I want to straddle the line between modernism and postmodernism. I want to proclaim both that there is always a hidden subtext and that not every hidden subtext is meaningful. I want to acknowledge the contexts and biases of statements without abolishing the intended meanings. I want to deconstruct without destroying. I want the flexibility to say there are multiple interpretations of an idea without losing the ability to say that some interpretations are wrong. I want to reject the idea that there is only ever one right answer without throwing away the idea of "right".
If the process of movement from human to posthuman is transhumanism, then would this be transmodernism?
We are evolving. We are changing, growing, becoming. Our understanding of the world shifts from day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute, guided by the contents of our brains and the impulses entering them at every interval. The statements we make today are not true for all time, but they are true at that moment, and for however long the unstated framework upon which those statements rely remains valid. Ultimate truth is unknowable because infinite knowledge is impossible, but within the realm of what we know and believe to be true, we can make pronouncements about our world and our reality that do hold up to scrutiny, as long as we never forget the assumptions under which we're operating. If those assumptions change, then what we claim to be true as a result must be re-examined. It may not always be that what we think is true turns out not to be, but we should never shy away from the possibility that we make mistakes.
I want a world in which I can say tomorrow, "I was wrong yesterday", and have that be acceptable.
Yes, I am intolerant of intolerance. Yes, I am bigoted against bigots. Discrimination is transitive. There is room in my worldview at once to say that there is freedom for each person to believe as zie wishes, and to say that there is no room in my world for those who will not make room in their world for others. The surest and fastest way to convince me that you're wrong about something is to state that you're the only one who is right. Under the transmodernist umbrella, there is room for an infinite number of ideas, but some simply will not fit, and I'm okay with that.
It's a beautiful world we live in, a sweet romantic place.