Oppression is not equal

When 2018 started I set off to read about 40 books for the year. One of my main goals was not just for vanity’s sake, but it was to increase my understanding of the societal issues that have contributed to the world’s current problems. This doesn’t just extend to capitalism as my recent readings have been, but also poverty, wealth inequality, racism, and sexism (I do agree that I need to look at more heterosexism literature too). And after reading a couple of books, I’ve found that oppression is deeply rooted and unequal. There has been so much literary, historical, and -ism contributions as to the multitudes of oppression that we experience. Whether it is in the religious Bible (Adam & Eve - Eve’s mistake in eating the apple) or in the historical context of the feminist movement (horizontal oppression versus vertical oppression - racism), it’s been hard to navigate the path towards a possible solution.

After rigorously looking around for possible movements to join, one of the most prominent issues I’ve come across is the lack of diversity within a field. Whether it is in technology, grassroots, non-profits, or activist movements I’ve concluded that a majority of causes are unfortunately segregated, whether it be by race, gender, or etc. Consequently this fracturing has caused a deep rift within groups aiming towards similar goals and has pivoted issues from vertical to horizontal.

To elaborate, it’s been evident that groups target others within similar movements (Audre Lorde’s reference to Black males being sexist towards Black females, disregarding that they are both aiming towards racial equality), resulting in time wasted and the top (benefactors of the oppressed) benefitting.

These conclusions are more of a digest of what I’ve been reading lately, and are by no means a solution. Rather, it is an observation and suggestion that we are constantly fractured and will continue to be unless we become a more inclusive and loving world. After volunteering at the Suicide Hotline and reading James Baldiwn, Audre Lorde, etc. I have come to the belief that love and understanding will contribute greatly towards unity and empowering our ideals. Yes, there is still a problem in the lack of structure within grassroots movements and non-profits (I will not comment on that; I don’t believe I have enough understanding into how difficult it is to organize and maintain one), but I believe that inclusivity of all folks will lead us towards some commonality which we can accept.

To summarize, we must recognize that oppression is not equal, and that we will never progress unless we realize that.

New year, new you, new me?

When I looked back at my last post, I couldn’t stop laughing. It was audcacious of me to think I could write every day. I’ve always been one to have ambitious goals, at least when it comes to self-improvement. I’ll admit it’s one of the more yuppie-esque things about me. Despite that, 2018 is here and I really haven’t written in forever. A lot of things have changed since my last post, and a few more things will be changing soon.

1) My resume now marks the end of my time at Munchery. It’s been a brief an interesting stint. I learned a lot about myself, my goals, and a lot of my desires when it comes to software engineering. I hesitate to say where I’ll be going and what I’ll be doing next, but you’ll learn soon enough if you keep up to date!

2) I’ve been frenzied when it comes to volunteering. Volunteering has always been something I cared about. For selfish reasons, I believe it’s important to take a holistic approach to life and embrace situations that make one uncomfortable – poverty, health, or education. From an extrinsic standpoint, it’s amazing to see people succeed and help them get to where they want to be. I encourage everyone to look into volunteering within their community. The connection that you form with your neighborhood and its residents is very powerful and not one to be overlooked.

3) I did my first marathon in January! It was a brutal few months of training that pushed me to my extremes. Mornings where I didn’t expect to wake up at 5:30 AM to run 15 - 20 miles, and mornings where I couldn’t move in the blistering cold when it was <50 degrees. Regardless, it was an amazing experience and running warrants a post in itself.

Ultimately I think my life has undergone a lot of change the past year, for better or worst – I’m not entirely sure yet. But one thing is that the people in my life have changed. It’s amazing how many different people you can meet and form a connection with. I always get sappy and write about how grateful I am to my friends, but I never any other way to express my thoughts. Without my friends (old and new), I don’t think I’d be able to be where I am. Many late-night conversations, drunken nights, and thought-provoking discussions have helped me progress to where I am today, and I am eternally grateful to all of you.

Anyways, this is just a preview post! There’s more to come, and maybe a site redesign if I’m not too lazy.

Cheers, Daniel

Incremental Improvement

The great thing about writing everyday is that I get immediate feeback on how my writing is. Being able to instantly observe, correct, and iterate on my previous writing is something that I am attempting to focus on more. I’ve noticed that I tend to gravitate towards short sentences and blurps, however I don’t elaborate and explain more of my thought processes. This is definitely a sticking point in my writing, and I figure I will need to improve on this eventually.

One thing I’ve currently noticed about my website, is that some of the pages aren’t very functional. The HTML is being rendered, but for some reason the CSS isn’t being applied properly. Knowing me and my non-ui skills, this is going to be a work in progress for me to fix.

Aside from the website currently being down, I’ll be pleased to say I have finally purchased a Kindle. Needless to say this isn’t the end of my foray into paperback / hardcover books, however it’ll just be easier for me to decide on which books I actually want to purchase. I’ll definitely need to be cognizant when I buy books, in that I don’t just buy books in which I love, rather books that I find useful. One of the greatest things about having a book, is that I’m able to loan them to other people, and at same time, admit that I don’t necessarily like the book, but I appreciate its opinion.

Somewhat relating to books, tomorrow is the start of my Coursera writing class! I’m very excited to try to improve my writing, seeing as this is the first large effort I’ve put into it. I’ll be documenting my process, along with other random blurps that come up

Anyways that’s all for today, I’ll need to start reading now.

Cheers!

This is harder than I thought

Okay so I admit, I failed at the habitual blogging faster than I thought. I was being a little too facetious when I originally said I would be able to write one piece a day.

Anyways in terms of musings for the past few days, there’s actually been a few interesting things! For the first time ever, I took a step out of my comfort zone and emailed somebody I extremely admire. She’s one of my favorite writers and actually sent me back a heartfelt and descriptive email with a long list of book recommendations.

Frankly that made my whole week. On top of that, I’ve been dedicating myself to a more rigorous reading / writing schedule. I’ve enrolled in a few classes online that are going to be starting soon and want to take it upon myself to improve my understanding of the humanities.

As of lately – I’ve found myself questioning the state of the world, how it became to be, and how we can take a step forward.

So along with my reading of Hamilton, I’ve found it quite topical to read a book on capitalism. It’s an interesting piece and has definitely changed my perspective on the labor, financial, and economical conundrums that our country is currently in.

I’ll summarize a little bit of my understanding of Alexander Hamilton thus far. I honestly don’t know if he’s the founding father of capitalism, however he definitely was a large driving factor in the early start of it within the United States. Admittingly it was probably the right decision at the time, given the state of the country’s economy post-war. Additionally Hamilton carried a biased view of the world – with a strong and firm belief in meritocracy considering his rough childhood. Consequently he may have not foreseen the unexpected problems of capitalism, mainly rooted in its nature of privilege.

So… I’ll admit, I’m a little frustrated that he may have created capitalism, but I have to sympathize with the situation of the times and try my best to frame the problem properly.

Also it’s Friday. Cheers to the weekend y’all!

Habitual blogging

Dictionary.com defines atrophy as a verb – gradually decline in effectiveness or vigor due to underuse or neglect.

All things atrophy, it’s a fact of nature coupled with time. That being said, communication is a skill of mine that has been deteroriating slowly. It’s been years since I’ve consistently wrote essays or blogs. Originally this blog was an attempt to address that issue.

So unfortunately as life events came and went, I’ve been lackluster in keeping my zero followers updated. Thus to hone in on my lack of activity, I’ve decided to try to write for 30 days consistently! I’ll admit to you, my life is somewhat dull and placid. However this is an experiment for myself too, to see how much I can change within a month.

With that being said, today is September 5th. I’ve recently arrived back from Vancouver / Seattle. Along that vacation, I did some self-reflection and learned some new things about myself this past year!

I’ve become more inquisitive. Whether or not that trait was something I had before I’m unaware of, but I’ve definitely started to question the world, the people around me, and random problems I run into at work more often than before.

To be there for others empathetically. Sympathy means to feel in contrast to empathy, which is to understand. I’ll admit that I was more judgemental, cynical, and facetious towards peoples’ problems before. It’s not the case that I am cheerful, accepting, and all-around loving now. In fact, it’s still the opposite – however I’m learning to become more accepting, caring, and empathetic.

That society needs to change, and so do I. As a faithful citizen of the United States, Donald Trump has challeneged everything I believed in. Whether or not many Republicans charter the belief that there may be logical policies for placing him in office, I cannot and will not support a platform which stands on hate, racism, and bigotry. This does not mean I will despise anybody who voted for him, however I will place it upon myself to sufficiently educate myself with texts / literatures on capitalism, government, and economy. This epiphany came very recently that I lack general knowledge on how the world operates. Unfortunately that gap in knowledge is causing me to lose time in which I can effectively make a voice. If you have any political books, I would love suggestions!

Anyways – that’s all. Hopefully I can keep up with this routine, and come out a better writer and make the best of your / my time.

Here’s a relevant quote that pushed me to write again:

“We live on the future: “tomorrow,” “later on,” “when you have made your way,” “you will understand when you are old enough.” Such irrelevancies are wonderful, for, after all, it’s a matter of dying. Yet a day comes when a man notices or says that he is thirty. Thus he asserts his youth. But simultaneously he situates himself in relation to time. He takes his place in it. He admits that he stands at a certain point on a curve that he acknowledges having to travel to its end. He belongs to time, and by the horror that seizes him, he recognizes his worst enemy. Tomorrow, he was longing for tomorrow, whereas everything in him ought to reject it. That revolt of the flesh is the absurd.” – Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus: And Other Essays