The Nomadic Bias
I’ve prefaced similarly in the past. But I am compelled to emphasize yet again that posts like these are too short to be exhaustive. Especially in regard to political commentary, nuance and thoroughness are essential. As such, I don’t want to be neither simplistic in my terminology nor reductionist in my opinions. But — as is with most things — a step forward is better than silence, movement is better than inertia, and, most importantly, attempting to have a sensible opinion in a crowd full of loud-mouthed bigots is always welcome.
The current political situation in the United States will never be forgotten. It feels like one long traumatic event that the entire world — not solely the American people — is experiencing. It echoes some of humanity’s most destructive forces and calamitous events: Hitler’s rise to power, Mao’s takeover and eventual control of Chinese culture, the fall of the Soviet Union, the complicated and often misinterpreted war against terrorism, and, just recently, the United Kingdom’s exit from Europe catalyzed mainly by the resurrection of British nationalism. If it is properly dealt with — great, everyone can stay calm. If it is treated without care, well, it’ll be grim and worth a very long fight.
Throughout the past few weeks, anyone with decent internet could simply turn on their computer or their television set to watch the Republican and Democratic Conventions, and have a front row seat to a generational clash that has the potential to reverberate tragically into the future.
And I don’t mean this lightly.
The Industrialized 21st Century Person is ready to invite change — but only when it comes to it. In order to come back home after a long night out in Montreal’s downtown area, all I need is a phone, the internet, and a finger. And there I am — home, at last. When I need to show LeBron James’ latest dunk to my friend in Beijing, all I need is a few clicks, and we can experience it together. Just like that.
But does Industrialized 21st Century Person like to be controlled? Does it want to be manipulated? Does it like to think for itself, empowered by facts, unrestricted through his creativity, and freed by thought? The answer to these questions are obvious. Not because the Industrialized 21st Century Person is enlightened, sophisticated, and open-minded. No. Not at all. It is because the Industrialized 21st Century Person has experienced the hardship of movement, as defined in its largest scope. It has fought too brutally for what it possesses, and has lost millions of companions in the process. (Think about its predecessors. They’ve traversed through far worse than most, if not all, of us. Let us never forget that.)
From its birth to its death, it has learned that, say, when it attempts to pat a nasty, barking dog on the head, it’ll probably be bitten. On the other hand, when it takes time to learn how to use a camera — one of mankind’s finest technologies — and master the art of cinematography, it can create timeless pictures like Pulp Fiction, Breathless, The Lives of Others, and Life is Beautiful.
It has learned that, if it walks too quickly in front of a car, its life is at stake. Yet, with a few hundred dollars, it can be taken from Chicago to Paris in a giant, man-made, finely engineered, and — at times — comfortable bird. (Thank you, Louis CK, for the brilliant and accurate analogy.)
The nomadic bias is created when the Industrialized 21st Century Person first decides to move. It is almost like an interiorized radar system that systematically scans for risks and benefits, pleasures and pains, independence and community, progress and stagnation. It doesn’t force a normative environment upon others. In fact, it guides the Industrialized 21st Century Person toward its family, friends, and new communities-at-large.
Nothing comes to the Industrialized 21st Century Person. It goes toward whatever it feels like — free of judgment, free of discrimination, free of control, and free of arbitrariness.
So to those who dare impose their stagnancy upon the nomadic Industrialized 21st Century Person: Let us be. Let us move. And, in reciprocity, we’ll allow you to do the same, because you won’t bother us.
You may complain about us. Tell us that we’re too kind, passive, or unworthy of His praise. Too lenient at our borders, too tolerant of our enemies, too financially regulated.
But we’ve all come from too far to feel you breathe down our necks. Count on us to keep on moving — first at the voting booth, then to wherever we feel like.