Coffee: Instant Coffee, Sitar Indian Restaurant; I asked the waiter for a cup of coffee and he said ‘okay, but there’s only instant,’; I told him that sounded perfect then went for my first pass at the buffet; in the back, there was a room marked ‘reserved’ with one man sitting at a white-dressed table in a white linen shirt, punching around his phone; he looked uneasy, like something holy; later, sitting down, the coffee came, a cup and a small silver carafe, I poured it out and drank it because I was tired and I needed the caffeine; Crete came back to me through the cup; they drink instant there, all of Greece, frappes; the coffee smelled like crushed pecans and went down easy as you’d expect
I heard a radio show about open source culture. It started at the internet, ended in a Chilean political experiment. They made an app, disseminated it to constituents, and invited members to publicly vote on issues. There was a political party. The representatives swore to vote with whatever majority had been had in the app. Shaking up democracy, making it open source.
Years ago, I studied Classics. I wanted to know what had put me here, where the gas first got in the car of our Western monolith. There were lots of stories about Athens. At it’s height, the city went to war with Sparta, having conquered much of the Aegean already either through coercion or force. Leading the charge was a man named Alcibiades, a demagogue, he had a quick tongue, he told the people they were oppressed and that political upheaval was the only option. Athens lost the war. Alcibiades was exiled.
I heard a different radio story about Hong Kong. There was a recording of the protests, a British journalist, petrol bombs blowing off in the background, a lot of screaming. The journalist said: “I don’t see any way this can end other than in violence.” From the reports, there’s been death and murder on both sides, the slender hand of subtle oppression pressing down on the pot of populace until it bubbles over. Who wins here? The protestors? The police?
I don’t have a better answer than freedom, and democracy continues to do a lot of good around the world. I’m scared, though, when everything cuts down to a majority. There’s good in everyone, but that good gets cloudy when we all come together.
Currently Reading: Another Country, James Baldwin
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What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or in the holy name of liberty or democracy?Mahatma Gandhi