August 31, 2017
Author: Bianca Yang
Today, I expanded my mind a little by reading Paul Graham’s piece on taboos. I’ve never been a fan of political correctness, especially since I likely hold conservative views that the liberals I am surrounded by in California would try to take a torch to if I ever voiced them (perhaps this is just a manifestation of my cowardice). A tolerant society cannot tolerate intolerance, but the tolerant society we are currently building is completely intolerant of any conservative ideas that even graze on ideas of gender differences, racial differences, income equality, etc. People like James Damore, who present their views without trying to incite a violent debate, are ostracized by their companies and peers for presenting opinions that could “hurt someone’s feelings”.
Feelings are very real and should be given their space to be expressed in, but let’s not jump the gun and say that people should always strive to exist in an echo chamber of rainbows and and happiness. We should be real and genuine and allow ourselves to struggle with the pain and discomfort that comes with challenging our views. We cannot pretend that by isolating people with dissenting views that they will just disappear under the extreme social pressure to conform. They will not conform. They will brew and grow and feed upon their displeasure with society until they grow powerful enough to brainwash their believers into taking over the world. But they aren’t the only radicals in society. Those who preach and proclaim social justice and equal rights and shared humanity and trample those who believe otherwise are also radicals. Anyone who cannot listen to someone who has opposing views without wanting to raise a protest or physical harm or silence the speaker needs to temper themselves.
Daryl Davis is a man who is practicing what I think is a great way to break down the strict, destructive barrier we have erected between the opinion conformists and non-conformists. This barrier leaves violence as the major resolving medium, as we have seen in recent protests across the country. We must reach across these barriers with our hearts, because beliefs are hard to challenge with reason.
Beliefs are part of our identity. That’s why attacking someone’s beliefs about God or about gender roles or about tax policy is like attacking them directly. People get defensive when you challenge their beliefs because if they change their beliefs, they feel they will have to change their entire lifestyle. Once people get defensive, every subsequence action they take will be focused on deflecting pain. That is why we must make ourselves vulnerable when we seek to change others beliefs and hearts. We must show them that we care and invite them to also engage in an intimate mingling of the hearts. We must remember that most people just want to belong somewhere. If we look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, belonging is in the middle of the triangle. But I think most people who have achieved the bottom two layers of safety and physiological needs have skipped over belonging in their quest to achieve self-actualization and esteem needs. So many people, especially young people, feel lonely, even though they are surrounded by social media which leaves their friends away at a click. So many people neglect their family and friends to go pursue a job with higher pay, better growth prospects, more prestige. So many people have been sucked into the whirlpool of ambition and have no community to go back to when they fall on hard times.
So, if you are going to become an agent of change in human history, you must remember to reach out through the heart. Inspire by motivating through interests. Inspire by demonstrating the tolerance that “tolerant liberals” proclaim to support. Challenge directly, challenge with love.
I apologize if my post here was confusing. My thoughts on this topic aren’t clear, but my feelings are, and trying to describe my intuition is difficult.
Please leave respectful comments. I appreciate any comments that challenge my views. I also appreciate any comments regarding writing style. If you want to speak to me more privately regarding my statements, you can find my contact information on my website
我現在同時讀兩個很有趣的科幻作品。第一是我上次提出的 「三體」。另一本是 浦沢直樹 的 「20世紀少年」。兩本的劇情完全不同，如果讀完一篇馬上換另一本會覺得有點昏迷，腦經跟不上心願。這兩本都很好，很值得你的時間。兩本的劇情都很深刻，會讓你再次思考世界發展的道路。
我幾年在一個資產管理公司做暑期實習。到此兩個月的經驗還不錯。我跟我的同事和管理的關西都很要好，還有我的工作環境很輕鬆，非常自由。我的項目是寫些文本挖掘程序，來找出能讓投資組合經理做出更好的投資決定。我們最今試過的方式包括文本情感分析 (sentiment analysis) 和語意相似 (text similarity)。最近的結果沒有特別具體的實用性，但我們每天的進步都有加上實用性的可能。
我現在還不知道我對金融還是技術更有興趣。我兩方面都有試過，上學期時有跟幾家初創做一些 consulting work，但我的責任沒有特別刺激，我也不曉得跟比較大的公司會不會更有意思。我現在有一種很麻煩的毛病：我很不願意聚焦在一個行動上，我最愛同時有很多活動，隨時有幾個選擇。但我最近開始碰到我精神的範圍。我沒有辦法專心地管理這麼多責任。但我想著，我還年輕的時候應該多努力，反正我還未找出我生命的意義，到那時後，不如什麼都試一試，總會找出適合我的工作。