Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

NYC  §

So there’s an International House in Manhattan. Looks like the best candidate.

I just spent an hour walking the tracks in the dark, asking myself why. There is no reason why. There is no affirmative reason why I’m moving to New York, embarking on a Ph.D., facing the world alone (again) and planning to work alone (again) and starting from scratch to build something alone (again) other than that there are no other plans and nobody seems willing to come with me and nobody is with me now anyway.

The reason is that there is nothing else. The reason is that despite everything since I reached adulthood, I don’t have a wife, I don’t have kids, I don’t have a clear identity, I don’t have a house, and I don’t have any other plan. I am not a part of my parents generation. I have tried to build a life for over a decade, but it never works out. Degrees, on the other hand, pile up like candy and are rewarded. Easy to get and worthy of accolade, apparently.

Society is willing to support me every time I decide to embark on a new academic adventure in solitude. It is absolutely unwilling to support anything else from me. For anything else I am on my own. Less than on my own. Society and the people in it seem to actively work against a person building for themselves anything other than an individual career and the ability to consume at ever-increasing rates. I have fallen into the trap as surely as anyone else; it doesn’t matter whether or not one can detect its presence.

I’d accuse capitalism, but it’s beyond that now. After centuries of markets and advertising and consumption and individualism, the problem runs deeper than mere capitalism. We are an anti-collectivist people, and that anti-collectivism even applies at the individual level.

The west abhors a person with friends, a person with family, or any kind of self- or group-sufficiency. What the west wants from us—nay, what it demands—is insecurity and acute individuality. When we are painfully alone and guided along our way by mass culture, we are excellent consumers. If we break free, even a little bit, we are not. Power.

Power, power, power, power, power. And I have none.

We have been made to learn, like rats in experiments, how to be unhappy and alone, so that we will buy and work and buy and work. And that’s all.

And we will all die this way.

And within a hundred years, the market economies will fall forever, because despite what capital and its bastard barons want, men cannot live like this. Men will not live like this—not indefinitely.

On to NYC.