Random Thoughts #2

Recently, I’ve been thinking about returning to Facebook. But I don’t think I will yet—even if I want to keep in touch with some people who I lost contact with. I enjoy not having Facebook because FB is basically Jean Baudrillard’s simulation and simulacra gone wild these days. Most of my friends use Discord as their primary mode of communication, so not having FB don’t matter too much.

I used to go on Facebook and all I see are people screaming at some political post…it’s like whoa anger management bruh, where are all my meme posts at? But it’s probably just me who is insensitive to a lot of these posts (will get to later). Yet, I eventually got tired of them. I also had a bunch of other stuff going on in my grad school life at the time which involved Facebook. I’m not at liberty to say much. I’ll just say that I got into trouble for some stuff I said (to be sure, I said them in a pretty honest and respectful manner). The incident didn’t do much other than giving me another reason to delete Facebook and leave academia forever. I only have Instagram as my social media outlet now and I barely even scroll through it. I mostly use it as messenger and watch bird and dog videos on it.

Thinking back, I made a mistake by attending some safe space meeting at school because that was how the incident started. To be honest, I would not have went to the meeting if I did not receive a rant email about not enough people attending (not surprised). Judging by the different grammar styles used in the email, it was written by at least two people. But I attended out of my respect for them. At the end, I don’t blame anyone but myself. This incident made me bitter and changed my views on academia along with the politics that went on in my department. While this was not the only reason why I will not return to academia, it was the final nail to the coffin. But I also had many great experiences during the time and met many supportive people, so I guess it made up for it. I would prefer to keep the good memories.

I want to write about Baudrillard one day and revisit media and communication studies. The ideas he wrote back in the 80s are more true than ever today. Baudrillard is a really provocative thinker and I really like that about him. I don’t think we have enough provocative public intellectuals these days. People like Slavoj Zizek and Jordan Peterson also have similar provocative qualities to them where they just “say things” as they put their academic careers on the line. I say this because universities are no longer what they used to be (though not all of it are bad). You sometimes hear scary stories about professors getting fired for saying something to the wrong person—or when they offer their political views. Many professors these days don’t have enough job security to speak their minds which is understandable. I once met a philosophy professor who did have job security and always spoke her mind in class. I once spoke to her and she told me how she always gets students complaining about her teaching style in the student  evaluations, but told me she doesn’t care. She was pretty smart and funny. Personally, I would get tired of walking on eggshells everyday.

I recall in my last post, I spoke about how I think it is impossible for us to solve worldly problems due to human nature and their natural tendencies to be aggressive and vengeful. On hindsight, I think I might be wrong or had come on too strong on that statement. Welcome to my blog, where I regularly take back my words. It is fair to say that these posts are just me thinking out loud.

The theme of human nature reminds me of a brilliant Japanese RPG game called Nier Automata which I’ve always wanted to write about because it deals with this never ending cycle of violence found throughout history. Basically (spoilers), the game forces the player to make a decision about the fate of these characters in the game so to end the eternal cycle of war and revenge through themes of love and sacrifice. I have written about love many times because I think it is an important theme in being human. In other words, being human is not just about intelligence and rationality, it also involves genuine acts of love.

It is strange that I would emphasize on love because I can be pretty insensitive about many things (I’m sure some people can tell by now). I used to always joke with a friend that if they ever want an unsympathetic friend, I will always be there for them. I am probably the last person people think of when they need emotional support. Most of my friends are also human robots—but are all formidable thinking machines in their own ways.

With this said, I am not devoid of emotions. In fact, I often find myself feeling deeply towards certain individuals and things around me, but it never really shows externally. This is probably why some people have a hard time reading me. Often times, instead of feeling or sympathizing for someone or something that I care about, I try to solve or understand that thing or person more (and whether something is solvable is situational). As I got older and matured my ability to handle my emotions better, I realized that a lot of people don’t really want solutions or any of their problems solved, they just want someone to sympathize and listen to them.

While I don’t reveal much of my emotional state, some of my emotions are shown through my writing, even if I only write when I am mentally calm with a clear state of mind (I usually don’t write or deal with problems while I am emotionally unstable). This is what you see when I wrote about my dog for example (here). Although some of its content are sad and depressing, I am usually already pretty detached by the time I write about it. I prefer maintaining a clear mental state as much as I can.

On a different note, Slavoj Zizek speaks my mind in regards to political correctness (you can find it here). So well that I don’t need to say it myself. How does censoring people’s words solve something like racism and people’s racist actions? It doesn’t. I recall someone telling me that Zizek actually didn’t want to debate Jordan Peterson. Not sure how credible this was, but I wouldn’t be surprised because they have a quite a few things in common despite Zizek being a hardcore communist and JBP being a hardcore classic liberal (the John Locke kind of liberal). Furthermore, Zizek also makes good points in regards to gender politics. While the LGBTQ+ are marginalized under the law, much of their experiences are actually found in every human being. In this sense, they are not as marginalized as they appear because it is a shared experience that we all have—much of it unrealized by most people. This might be why you see ex-heterosexual people “coming out” as homosexuals, etc. Such argument is deeply rooted in psychoanalysis where the way human subjects are “split” determines sexual difference (see my big post on Lacanian psychoanalysis here and here).

Having watched the Zizek and JBP debate several times, I sometimes cannot tell whether Zizek has obsessive or hysterical neurosis. While we are all neurotics, obsessive neurosis is more common with men, and hysterical neurosis is more common with women (though this is not always the case). Obsessive neurotics are often concerned about their own existence (philosophers are good examples of this and it is probably why it is dominated by men). Whereas hysterics are concerned about their own sexual position (i.e. “What is woman?”). Similar to Lacan, Zizek always admired hysterics because it is the only discourse capable of producing new knowledge by challenging existing systems (i.e. challenging the university discourse which represents modernity) [See Lacan’s four discourses]. This is why a lot of contemporary Lacanians often associate women with truth. Zizek also complimented Hegel by calling him hysterical. Definitely a very weird way of complimenting someone.

Some people might think that psychoanalysis is out of date and is not very forward thinking with their whole gender identifications, but this misses the point. Psychoanalysis is not a discipline where its intricacies should be modified to be more gender inclusive and forward thinking—after all, it is first and foremost a clinical field. In fact, it is the exact opposite. Psychoanalysis only works with what society produces. It is society and language that produces split subjects who are subject to psychoanalysis. In this case, if society is producing people with different gender identities, then they will become part of analysis because once again, how we get split / castrated determines sexual difference. After all, psychoanalysts attempts to answer, “What does the Other (i.e. Society) want (from me)?”. Society is the breeding ground for neurosis and all sorts of crazies in both good and bad ways.

Nevertheless, I think Zizek telling people to make jokes about race and culture so to deal with political correctness is a rather Freudian one. For Freud, jokes are a form of mental catharsis (a medicine for the mind). For example, some people might notice how many doctors, nurses and emergency workers often likes to tell very dark jokes. This is there way to relief all the stressful things they experience in their jobs. In the same way, Zizek suggests that making jokes about race relieves the violence and tensions that are found in it (this is a very interesting solution—but also an inappropriate one in certain contexts). Coming to think about it, maybe this is the reason why I like to turn a lot of things into jokes. Personally, I love dark humor jokes. Racist jokes are also pretty funny. Sometimes, I enjoy picking up anonymous phone calls where I deliberately speak English with a heavy Chinese accent. Most of my jokes are either super dark, parodic, or super stupid.

Off topic: I recently got a new phone. I went from a 3 1/2 year old Huawei Mate 10 to a Samsung S21 Ultra. The S21 is such a nice phone wtf. I don’t think I’ve ever owned such a nice phone before. To be fair, it was also very expensive. My old Huawei had a weird battery problem that fixed itself after factory reset (probably due to some rogue app draining my battery). Unfortunately, I already got my new phone by the time I fixed my Huawei, so I guess it is too late ;). The S21 Ultra is too nice to pass up. Besides work, I’ve been a pretty big hermit these days. I kind of want to go out more, take some pictures, and maybe hang out with some interesting people once COVID settles. But I am also kind of lazy.

Ok bye.