People Physics   (2016Jun04)


Saturday, June 04, 2016                                           2:48 PM

People ape physics in many ways. They follow the Uncertainty Principle—if you observe them, you change them—as reality TV has amply proved. If you confine people too tightly, their excess friction will eventually cause an explosive reaction giving off heat as waste energy. And, of course, when people go up—they must come down—no individual unit can exceed its mortality. (I suppose death is the Gravity in that equation.) And people abhor a vacuum.

It’s true, we’re worse than Mother Nature. There is no room in any house that doesn’t fill up with stuff. There is no parcel of land in the middle of a city that accidentally went unused. People search the obituaries to find vacant apartments—and usually find the deceased’s relations have beaten them to it. There is no space on a long line where the person before it and the person behind have simply agreed to let there be a little gap there—it doesn’t happen.

Finances are the supreme example—every time I got a raise, my outlay matched it and then some. I didn’t do anything—I didn’t say to myself, ‘it’s time to add some expenses’. I simply found myself using all the money I had. I’d done the same with the smaller salaries—logic insists that I could have had money left over—but, no.

The rich people in San Francisco have packed themselves together so tightly that there’s no living space left for the help—their service workers have to commute from far off—and their already meager wages lose a big chunk to transportation costs. I wouldn’t stand for it. I’d organize the service workers in San Francisco and get them all jobs somewhere they can still find a place to live—let those rich bastards do their own chores until they get a clue, and agree to wages plus commuting costs.

I loved seeing the news yesterday about the Chicago Police releasing a bunch of videos of police behavior where a civilian was either killed or hospitalized. The lady who’d worked towards this ongoing program (there will be regular releases from now on), Sharon Fairley, chief administrator of the Independent Police Review Authority, called it an historic step forward for transparency in the city’s police force. What I loved was that there was this one prominent hold-out cracker who pooh-poohed the whole thing as ‘dangerous’ or some such BS—and the talking head asked the lady to respond—and she said, “Well, he’s wrong.” There should be a lot more of that in the news. Sometimes—a lot of times—some stupid politician is just wrong—end of sentence. An orange one comes to mind.

People as a group can be very geometrical—you tempt them this way, you shove them that way, you can pretty much call the shot—you know where they’re headed afterwards. And smart politicians look at it that way—not as a template for manipulation, as a demagogue would do, but as a blueprint for social progress. I always liked it when President Obama points out that doing something the same way for fifty years and getting no results was crazy. A lot of society’s ills come from just that tendency—to keep doing what we’re doing, even when someone is telling us it’s not working.

It’s hard to tell, especially in legislation, whether something is a healthy letting go of a wrong-headed assumption, or a half-baked imposition invented by lounge-liberals or beer jocks. There are so many laws that need to be undone (the patriot act is an example) and so many things not enshrined into law that we must nevertheless defend to the death (like separation of church and state). I have great respect for a good politician—leading people, in any capacity, is about as easy as herding cats. But designing legislation—making a piece of paper create a better life for his or her constituents—that’s an art form. I just got a chill—that exactly what Hitler said! Am I Hitler?! Oh, I hope not. Wouldn’t it suck to realize you’re really Hitler? Jeez.

Actually, it makes sense—Hitler was not a good painter, so he decided to go into politics as a modern ‘art form’—and he was even worse at that, despite some initial rave reviews. But he was right—politics is art. The trouble with that is there are so few great artists.

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