politics

There is a question in my life that keeps consistently coming back to haunt me. That question — always a product of much existential pain — demands a very simple choice from me: shall I talk or shall I fully embrace the solitude of silence?

It’s difficult to paint the full picture of the world — my world! — which keeps me repeatedly wishing to disengage and simply let the world go. But I shall try nonetheless. At the very least, it might help me clarify my feelings better.

The Rancor

Some of the more highly idealist people frequently ask: is it not painfully frustrating how divided the world is? Why can’t we just love each other? Why can’t we all forego our differences?

It is a natural reaction against the conflict in the world. I used to have it too. I wished for some sort of final agreement which would put the rancor to an end and let us love each other.

Then, gradually, I grew up. I matured a bit. In the process, I began to see that disagreement was unavoidable — people’s experiences  and interpretations thereof could never align completely. And there was no need to, anyway. Different perspectives are an asset not a liability.

Yet, I began to see something else too. Even if homogeneity and agreement were impossible and even undesirable, that still didn’t justify the world as it is. The conflict, the wars, the disagreements over politics, religion, and everything else — these were more than mere intellectual disagreements. They were not driven by curiosity. Nor were they pursued in good faith. No one loses friends over curiosity. But I’ve lost friends over politics and ideology… and not in a gradual losing-common-interests kind of way, but in a off-to-the-gulags kind of one . Continue reading Is Speaking Even Worth It Anymore?

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Yesterday, I watched a pretty interesting conversation/debate between Reid Hoffman and Peter Thiel. Naturally — at least for a talk starring two tech billionaires — tech, politics and Silicon Valley were all prominent topics of discussion.

To people even mildly familiar with Silicon Valley, it is clear that this discussion was a microcosm of the much larger real-life clash between Silicon Valley orthodoxy (Reid Hoffman) and the inconvenient contrarians (Peter Thiel). I say inconvenient because, were it not for his wealth and prior reputation, Peter would have been ousted from the Valley a long time ago. As lawsuits like the one by James Damore demonstrate, anyone who is considered “non-diverse” enough (or god forbid, conservative-leaning) is to keep silent at the workplace unless they want to know how it felt to be seen a witch back in the day.

This unspoken reality of the US tech scene is what makes it impossible to maintain the illusion that Silicon Valley is dedicated to tech, first and foremost. The result: you can love tech today and still essentially be denied or basically driven out of it if you are found guilty of wrongthink. What is worse, sometimes you don’t even have to think wrong to become an undesirable. It’s enough to look wrong too (for then you lack the life-serum of “diversity”). Continue reading Silicon Valley Hypocrisy

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