The Nine Faces of Dave
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2005-07-23 06:57:53 (UTC)

codes of conduct

It's been a hell of a week. I've lost perspective, gotten a
little sick, fought with crooked auto mechanics, and finally
come back to a better state.

The most remarkable thing about all of this is that I'm much
better off following all the crap that happened than I was
before any shit came down. I'd grown complacent and weak in
the absence of any problems, and in a lot of ways all this
bad stuff was good for me. I guess people need adversity in
order to really thrive. Utopia makes us weak.

But I'm back now, and I'm back as a better person than I was
before. I've got a whole new take on things, and I'm seeing
a lot of the world in a different light. While most of it
has not been a major revolution, it is a fairly substantial
evolution, and overall it is good. I'm even listening to my
Phil Collins records again, though what significance that
may have is yet undetermined.

Another thing happened tonight that changed my outlook. One
of my co-workers celebrated his birthday tonight, although
it won't technically occur for a couple days, and so he had
a little party which I attended. At any rate, the gender
balance was a little male-heavy, and there was much alcohol,
which led to some interesting times.

Nothing really shitty happened, nobody got hurt or anything,
but I've come to see the alcohol-influenced sides of other
men I respected, and frankly I was as disgusted by that as
any actions by drunken women to which I've born witness. It
seems people really stop keeping their hands to themselves,
and any concept of chivalrous conduct flies away.

I'm not 100% sure what to make of this. What it definitely
establishes is that even otherwise good men are just as bad
as the otherwise good women. The question is whether to
chalk it up to human failings or to alcohol. I've read that
booze can't make you do anything you wouldn't at least have
some impulse to do sober, so maybe that's my answer.

The past few days seem to have instilled in me a new sense
of proper conduct. Whether it's gentlemanly, reserved, or
just plain neurotic, I don't know. But I do know that I've
developed a strong sense of what is and is not appropriate,
whether it's correct or not.

And part of it is that a lot of physical contact that goes
on in social situations with alcohol isn't really right, and
kind of crosses the line. Both men and women are guilty of
this, and for some reason it really bothers me. Maybe I'm
repressed, maybe they're wrong, but either way the obvious
difference in philosophy remains.

The philosophy by which I live most of my life was written
by Jon Postel, as a guideline for computer networks:
"Be conservative in what you do; be liberal in what you
accept from others."

While its merit as a programming guideline is questionable,
it definitely seems the right approach to life. And it is
the reason why my political views are so much more liberal
than my behavior would lead people to believe. I'm a bit of
a square, I suppose, but only in some ways. I guess I view
personal space as a big part of respect, and so I'm careful
not to intrude into anyone's space. Maybe that gets taken
as unfriendliness, but it's what I believe to be right.

In the end, I suppose it doesn't matter. As long as I live
my life according to the principles I believe in, I'll be an
honest man, and maybe even a good man. The right philosophy
is an important start, and being consistent with it is even
more important.

I guess I've realized a few things. First is that even the
people you like and respect most can do shitty things when
they drop the inhibitions against their darker impulses.
Second, gender plays no role in much of behavior aside from
social conditioning. Third, too much good in your life can
make you a complacent chump, and once in a while you need a
few shitty things to happen.

And finally, if I live by my principles, I'm bound to get
acquainted with people who have similar principles. And
that suggests good times ahead.