I had a visible talent for music growing up. Later I would continue do music for a living. It turned out allright, I had a modest career. It probably will continue in some form even if I'm doing programming right now (finally a day job!). Being musical involves picking apart music and sound, and analyze it. It means recombining what you know until a piece of music emerges. It means giving the right feedback when listening to performances. It means to "feel" in music in a way other non-musicians can relate and respond to. It means moving your fingers in to the right position at the right time with the right energy. It is a complex process, and takes time to master. I went down that road, and I'm happy for it. It is not without it costs, but everything has a price anyway.
My parents are musical as well. I can thank them for their knowledge, as they basically became my teachers, if only by commenting on what I did when I was playing. They were usually right, and this gave me enough to develop my own talents without explicit tutoring. But at the same time was music - and especially playing the piano - my shelter, my own space. I don't think they realized that, but music was such a big part of me that it was difficult to grow musically without being hurt by not being good enough. I think, for my parents, music is a technical matter, and feelings comes after technical mastery. For me, being a musician, I know that feelings are the driver for musical excellence, first and foremost. I always knew that. So at the same time my parents helped my figuring out the technical stuff, they didn't see the reason for my music, I think.
I was a strange, smart kid. But I had trouble socializing. I didn't get along with the other kids all that well. At some time during my childhood, I lost joy. I got picked on a lot, just for being myself - I couldn't help it, I just wasn't normal enough. This negative attention towards my natural being meant I lost my freedom. I associated being myself with something negative, but I was too far off to change course. This really shaped me as a person. I struggled in those years, and at a later time I would distance myself from who I was as a child, in shame. But now, I've come to pity that child, wishing it got just a bit more love. I remember not wanting to be around. That should not be on any 12-year-old mind. But it was a low point.
That is why music was my space in a special way, at least those years. I had trouble speaking my mind as I would be slow finding words (so slow, people would usually give up), but with the grand piano at home I could actually speak. I think that is were my parents did not understand me fully. They thought I was practising (and they commented, of course). And they would be proud, I'm sure. But for me it was not a technical matter. It was really, really important for my well-being. I realized, later, that my parents actually didn't really know what was going on at that time. I know I didn't want to bother them.
I am empathic and attuned to other's feelings. I am also good at pretending and hiding stuff. I know people think they can read me, because I am expressive. But I have a solid, opaque core, and when people cross a certain boundary, they never know that I've switched to my pretending mode. I am still expressive, but inside I've grown cold and am silently judging the people around me. I am both secure and insecure at the same time. I do care and don't care at the same time. I am both near, and distant, and I switch quickly.
Do I want to be like this? No. I want to be whole. I want to reclaim my JOY, long lost. I know I am naturally happy, but my laughter was taken away. I want to fully accept my core being - which is: what I am, not necessarily what I do, as we do and say many foolish things.
And then - then I can give back. By loving the world around me. By caring for others. By feeling, breathing and living, and create a space around me that is positive.
So China is implementing a social reward system. They also eliminated the limit for how long a president can sit before giving up the reigns. The people of China seem to approve of this. There is no revolt. This seems absurd from my perspective. I object to being monitored, seeing it as a fundamental human right to have a private conversation with someone. I feel it is self-evident. I also know it is an opinion, which bothers me. The Chinese government is taking this road towards total surveillance, and what you say and do (at least online and in the public space) is monitored. For me, the online sphere should be an extension of my private space, and even in the western world it is a struggle to keep your social media platforms truly private. For me this is about online trust. Every digitally written word is trivially copiable and searchable, and in the worst case not deletable. If there is no guarantee that I can limit my written word to just the persons I trust (of course, no guarantee they won't share it with others, as in real life), if my written word is in fact open for other unknown parties, then I am not free and can't express my thoughs freely. This limits what I can say online.
The degree of surveillance causes, I think, an equally great degree of self-censorship. That's why I feel the right to online privacy is self-evident: What use is this online medium if I have to always guard my words? If I do wish to speak in a surveilled medium, can the content of my speech be anything other than what I think the surveillor want to hear? Doesn't this create a space where everything you read is something you already know? In this space, power is never questioned. I think it is truly scary.
So why does the Chinese people seem to approve of mass surveillance and a reward system based on the government keeping track of everything you say or do? Are we so different? Really?
I do have a concept of being a good citizen, even if I'm not activelly spied on. I believe in a socialist system, where I partly work for the benefit of others, knowing that the other might be me someday. Someone had to teach me those values, though - and society teaches those values. Society shapes our person. One of the key values here is trust. Mass surveillance is the opposite of trust, so the Chinese government can't teach their citizens trust, because it is opposed to it. Again, it is only my opinion that trust is a core value for humans. It can't be proved that it is important for humans at all, or that it helps advance the human race.
I know one thing, though: if you have known trust, you don't want to go back. Trust fosters responsibility. Responsibility gives you agency. If you misuse trust, and try to cheat, and see someone else working hard, you should feel like a dick. Most people are not sociopaths, and choose to work. No surveillance needed. No social reward system needed.
So, this social reward system is unnecessary. It is anti-human if you believe trust is a core human value. It is expensive! And it is fucking childish. And creepy as hell. And it transforms millions of independent chinese minds into parrots.
This is going to be a short one. I remember Geocities from way back, when internet was new. There was a certain joy in publishing things online. It might still be fun - who knows? The html tags looks the same. I can still style my site with simple CSS. Which reminds me - simplicity. That is what I need right now. Just a simple site on a hosted platform. No fancy domain, no fancy looks. No cleverness. A drop in the ocean, a place to explore some ideas. A certain degree of anonymity, too. No counters. No likes. No pressure.