I recently stumbled upon the website of the Catholic school I attended for the 7th and 8th grade. It looks very good. So I have considered going there to make a speech. And so I started making a speech, starting with combatting the presumptions I wish to avoid about being a 'black role model'. I'm fairly confident that I can do that, and several years ago I pretty much figured out what's important in my life such that I'd make a fairly similar speech no matter who was in the audience of kids, racially speaking. But that's kind of marginally interesting; what's more interesting is how I'm living now and if and why that matters.
I'm thinking it's particularly interesting to consider how I'm living principly because I'm a father of three who works at home doing cloud stuff. At first blush, that doesn't seem like saying much until you add all the pieces together. I do that periodically as an old habit; I play 'time travel' and introduce my younger self to my current self in the future. So some of this game about what you would tell young people is easy, what message would you want to hear about the future? Most of the time, it comes down to how living in the (present) future is similar and different from what you (and everybody) expected. It starts with history.
The fact that Barack Obama is the 43rd President is an easy thing to talk about, but what's surprising is that he was neither Ron Brown nor Colin Powell. Those were the leaders of the conventional wisdom from my POV. But even more surprising is the lack of enthusiasm, and even negative empathy among the mixed feelings I have for him. Which immediately brings up the fact that I am a Stoic aiming for my Martial Education and the implications of my prior Republicanisms, my organicisms and my dropping the privileges of the Talented Tenth into which I was born and raised. There's an interesting personal history of my own existential development the most notable I think is the extent to which I have a studied immunity to multicultural appeals and imperatives. That's interesting because it goes to the heart of why I don't want to be a black role model and the implications for who anyone should be at all.
That I have attained the kind of life that reckons with such questions of humanity speaks to my intelligence which I have begun to recognize that I have somewhat underestimated. That sounds weird but let me put this another way. According to something I believe which I recently read, my IQ which has consistently tested between 130 and 136 puts me in the class of 'gifted'. I always wanted to be a 'genius' but that requires 150, I forget what they call the guys with 140. What I didn't know was that where I am puts me in the 98th percentile or as is popular to say 'the 2%'. I knew that my current income puts me in 'the 5%' for that demographic and I know that I live in a neighborhood that's about 1.3% African American. But in none of these ways do I feel so rare. I actually take it all kind of personally and reckon that I never knew how hard it would be to find friends just like me. Nevertheless, through all that, I feel that this sense of apartness has given me the distance and freedom to make sense of more than a few things, which I have done dutifully as a writer. I am a writer and I always have been. I write for machines and I write for people. I write through machines to people. And I have a resume which tells people that I can write for machines.
This brings me to the central intellectual subject of my life, which concerns the way that people come to know what they know and how they make decisions based upon what they know. Moreover how people make decisions given incomplete information, which is everything computers now produce (through writers who write for machines and/or people). And it is this that brings me into touch with the subject of education and history and what people can be presumed to learn, know and practice. It's all very woolly, I suppose, but I am a member of that woolly class. I believe that the fate of such a woolly class is embedded with the fate of humans and having come from relatively humble origins to this statistically rare and advanced position in American society is something worth noting, at least by anyone who'd bother to have me speak.
In my time traveling reveries I describe the wonders of the cutting edge of information technology, of my library and diet, of my travels and family, of my avocations and remaining hopes, of how I've dealt with the changes in society and the world. But that's very expansive and I don't want to write about all that here now. What I think fits is the particularly odd combination of things I do now as somebody who works at home in this overlap of relatively exclusive communities and what I think it means.
So that's next.