Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dealing with People

People can be extremely annoying.  They get in the way when you want to go somewhere.  They're always there when you are trying to get something done.  They're always, constantly, telling you things you may not want to hear, restricting your behaviors.  Problem is, well, you wouldn't do anything if it wasn't for other people.  They are always the end goal, even for seemingly endogenous activities.  So, maybe it is best to come to terms with their omnipresence.  That's a good thing, even though everyday life can be stressful and overwhelming. 

I used to be very emotional about city planning.  It was a subject that I'd started to study in some detail. I couldn't get over the radical disparities in access that developed along with cities in the US.  Now I see them much more analytically.  Coordination is a major problem that robs efficiency from cities.  Greater efficiency would yield less disparate access.   At least in theory.  The problem comes back to ego, or, if you like, preferences.  People want to drive into the new york city, for instance.  Even when it costs them and the city as a whole much more in comparison to public transit in terms of energy and time.  They see it as most comfortable for them.  Their perspectives are fundamentally short term in this regard.  Right now, on a Tuesday morning in the middle of November, short term is what matters.  In a way, short term is always what matters to people.  That's why there are competing interests.   Long term is almost always theoretical to people on the ground.  I think that is built into our way of thinking, biologically speaking.  That we operate now, and we want to operate quickly.

I know this because long term planning is fundamentally boring and not satisfying until you think about what you'd do with the rewards (financial, prestigious) of that plan.  I.e. how you'd feel once that plan was completed. 

The luckiest people are very interested in specific topics, have been for some time, and have developed an expertise in that field while understanding the role it plays in relation to outside subjects.  And their fields happens to be in demand now.  That way they've managed to fuse short and long term into success. Perhaps it goes without saying that such people have had some access to goods, material or otherwise, on the way. 

Anyway, the bottom line now is that I feel tremendously stuck because of my short term planning and reactions, reactions that have been going on for a long long time. 

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