Doubts: Development, Technology, And Stereotype

You know, comparing countries on their development level, and where they focus to develop, or perhaps not to develop, is a question to answer:

Is Development Really The Way To Go?

If you look at suburbs that still presume their old infrastructure, not much development in the past decades, they probably preserved lots of good things. For example, forest, nature, parks, and spaces. Or perhaps in some parts of the world, some lands are specifically preserved, like WWII-infested sites, for our generation to learn what had happened in the past. Or perhaps our country have just not decided to develop some of the lands yet.

Then compared to the developing cities, or developed cities. Tall buildings, lots of city planning, busy streets, every spaces counts. Where do we put the supermarket, and how many streets away do we need to put one supermarket? What is expected of the people in the area? How far should we build the offices such that commuting from residential area to industrial area won’t be too far? Do we need to add some housings near industrial area to reduce travel time? What about commercial areas? How many trees should I plant beside the road such that it looks “green”? Etc. Etc. These are all planning, and the squeezing of spaces. Relatively some countries just have not enough space, so they couldn’t do otherwise. Other countries have space, but they need to gather people together to gather money for the country to raise to the top and continue developing faster than other nations. Or perhaps serving for other purposes, maybe some people just want to live in a city, so providing a city helps retain residents in the country from relocation.

For a city to be developed, it certainly needs some level of technology to ensure control. It probably doesn’t need to be high tech, but tech couldn’t be too low, or how do you travel smoothly in a city? One important infrastructure are the rails, which are called by different names in different cities, yet they’re the most popular transport in cities. For example, people who can’t afford car probably could afford rails. Those whom can’t afford rails can use the bus; though bus do have more research to do than rails because there are more possible routes for buses, especially in a busy situation. Then, cars are possible, but they causes lots of pollution, and in busy traffic it isn’t always the ideal solution. Ultimately, if your city have lots and lots of people, but they don’t have public transport, you ask everyone to buy a car or use taxi/uber/grab/etc, it’ll be a traffic jam. What says you also need to build pedestrian roads for those that prefers walking, which for most people is limited to a few kilometers. So there’s the first infrastructure, the rails.

And rails are a technology. The residential area isn’t small, so expect to have rails in the residential area, and afterwards you could either walk or take a bus, for example, to your building. And believe me, living near the rails is noisy during the night, especially if you’re living where doesn’t have soundproof buildings, or perhaps you prefer the night wind instead of air conditioning. Some countries one visited do have a “final train” and “first train”, meaning in between those hours, they’ll be stopped as everyone went into deep sleep, but the time isn’t as long as how long we’re expected to sleep. For example, they probably stop for 5+ hours, and start back probably around 5am onwards, as those early wakers need to get to the office by 6am. Even so, living in cities, you’re located close to the high-speed roads, where some crazy people just go vrrrrrrrr with their vehicles at night and tell those sleeping “I don’t care, I love it!” All these disturbance, it’s a wonder how good your sleep can be.

Then, expect you’re going to a city to work, if you live long term. Most work you can get in cities are stressful, irregardless of your passion towards it. It’s designed such that you work to burn out, unless, say, you’re the boss or whatever and just look at minions do their work. That said, the little pressure that builds, from bad sleep that adds extra stress rather than release it, to immense time pressure for putting hours into work that restrain you from working out or let your brain relax, is just not good. Sure, perhaps the country tries to help your health in other ways, providing painkillers and advanced medication and treatment, which probably relieve pain but couldn’t treat the root unless you move out of the city, so you’re still living a sick life. Then, probably they may changed what food they sell such that they’re targeted majority towards healthy foods. But health isn’t a trade-off, not like, since I do this and that in this and that sector, I could give up this and other that sector. We’re not trying to look at a net positive when we deal with health, but how long we could live a healthy life independent of other people (meaning no need someone to care for our daily lives due to medical circumstances) and how to live as long as possible (I got this from the book “True Age”). So, it’s just not a tradeoff.

Then, with an advance in technology, we create some artificial dopamine that people could use at the ease of their palm. Technology are a means to make our live easier, that solve some problems at the stake of other problems. Consider how many mental illnesses we have today caused by technology and stress living in cities. Consider the decline of friendship due to social media that acts as an addictive alternative (albeit one that doesn’t solve our need for friends), with the promotion that “friends are a problems when going too deep, just maintain weak links to help each other when needed and dump/softly ignore when otherwise, and rely on technology for the rest of your needs). So that means, when you board the public transport, most people eyes on their phone/tablets. Young children doesn’t find games with friends fascinating anymore; they find video games fascinating, single player during infancy and multiplayer as they grow older (don’t take this stereotypically; some people like me still prefer single player, but you get it, the topic of this paragraph is about video games and tech, not personal preferences).

Our school just don’t teach us lessons on how to make friends, and we need to learn it in society. For some other people more psychopatical, unless you’re a total psychopath/narcissist, it’s possible to suppress the need to use others and focus on learning how to make friends, after losing a few friends on the way, get back in touch with your emotions, and find where your preferences are. For me, one prefer one-on-one rather than groups, and the other person needs to have NO specific traits to be considered ideal, such as they do reply to you, then they do respond their interest in knowing about you, then they don’t ignore questions that you asks (or if you’re try the type where someone may prefer sharing without questioning but only answers, so it’s like you share your experience first, then you asks “How about you?” without the western way of “Oh, where did you go to school? What did you __? How did you __? Why did you __?” which seems aggressive to the one that likes only sharing answers; a reciprocate after you share from the others is expected). By taking away the learning we get from society on how to make friends, the future generations, mostly being lazy or just don’t have time to deal with this when work just occupy so much of their time, would rely on technology and psychotherapist to cure them temporarily; some even take medications to shut down the parts of the brain that reacts to negative emotions, and some that can’t shut it down, prefer to die. What says time to read and apply self-help books that may or may not help (yes, some books aren’t giving good advice, they just give the “red pill” which goes like this: “Yes, I agree your life sucks, that’s why you need to do this, and this, and this, to get rid of __”, which some are good advice, while others are just utterly stupid). So, technology probably enforces making weak links than stronger friendships, and it’s a wonder if it really makes our life easier. Sure, it’s easy to reach out to technology, so easy that we just don’t wanna reach out to someone else.

Then speaks about the cost of living in cities. The saying goes, you earn a lot, you pay a lot. Living in cities are just not cheap; and sometimes, your salary isn’t sufficient to ensure your survival in the city. That means worry about money, and time to find a second job. That goes back to stress we talk about earlier. Ultimately, cities are a means of self-sustaining; it will give you a high pay, higher than most part of the world; but it need some way to earn back the pay, and consider the hawkers and chefs and imports it needs to go into the supermarket where rent/lands/buildings are super duper expensive, hence they need some way to earn not ruin money, hence increase in cost of living is expected. Then to ensure development, tax is required: otherwise, where does government/city mayor have the money to continually develop the country, or even maintain the current infrastructure from erosion/damage? Cost of living adds extra stress on people living in cities.

Now, consider yourself as a city planner. If you don’t want to make your citizens someone that looks down on their phone all-day long, better stress maintenance for your people, and ensure they have enough time to relax, what could you do? Certainly you couldn’t build a cities like nowadays. Perhaps in the future there are human-centric development of cities that doesn’t focus on gathering money but citizen’s health; but for now, it seems like living in suburbs and perhaps towns, away from cities, is one way to go. Of course, it’s not to say it’s certainly the way to go; if you only have fast food restaurants all around you, and you don’t have lots of supermarkets around you to buy vegetables to cook, and some fruits and healthy alternatives, you’re still gonna be in bad health condition. Yet, consider better conditions; it seems like preservation of greenery, focus on parks, nature reserves, forest, etc, and reasonable working hours are the way to go. People might still get mental illnesses, it’s no wonder that social media are so addictive that it affects every parts of the world that have access to technology (provided they’re free from basic needs, otherwise who care scrolling if I’m gonna die from hunger if I don’t go scavenge for food now?); yet the extra stress from living in cities aren’t there.

You mean the technology and lack of advanced medication? Sure, that’s a trade off. Hospitals probably doesn’t catch up to advanced level when a city slow down its growth, and that’s a tradeoff. Just like what advantages a city gives won’t be available in a stunted growth suburb/town. It’s really, what do you really want for your citizens?

Hence the doubt; is development really the way to go for cities? Is technology really what we wants? Its a difficult question, and different people have different answers. On my part, one prefers to live somewhere more peaceful than stress oneself out. What about you?

Now, let’s change topic. Let’s talk about stereotypes.

How Stereotypes Distorts Our Views

You know how, when we speak of stereotypes, we tend to generalize to the whole community? But if you notice (or if you don’t notice) around us, we tend to find good people around us, and bad people around us; even if we live in a place we considered “good” or otherwise. And probably you consider yourself “good” or “bad”. Of course, ignore the fact that people don’t lies in the extremities of the two categories but a grayish region, if we set a threshold in the gray region to determine good or bad, why do we consider there are good and bad people around us, yet when we see someone distant from us, we classify the whole nation/city/whatever groups as “good” OR “bad”, rather than a MIXTURE of “good” AND “bad”?

For example, oh, we’re playing this video game, and this person from country X is so aggressive. Then, you starts remembering (or mis-remembering since our brain play tricks around us, meddling with our memories such that we don’t really know what we remembers are real or fake, or is it distorted) about a past memory where you also get to know someone from country X and they’re also aggressive. Good, 2 person from country X are aggressive. Your brain love similarities, so differences such that “n” amount of people from country X are NOT aggressive are suppressed indefinitely. You come into a conclusion where “people from country X are aggressive” (without exception). That’s the formation of a (new) stereotype: a generalization of personal traits to the whole community/society that localize in a region, for the sake that our brains need something more simpler to conclude but no other useful benefits in this modern world. Does it have something to do with the past world, perhaps.

You see, if you encounter twice of negative experiences in an area, you tend to flee away for survival. In the past, this may be encountering tiger or lions or just large predator that you couldn’t fight or may be seriously injured such that it can kill. Our mind will try to make relations between the location and the predator such that it could be easily passed on to future generations. "Avoiding X location” is easier than “You should check whether there are predators in X location, if not you can go in, if yes you need to run. Then, you need to check the time when they come out to prey, and if the time is good, you can sneak in, if time no good, you need to avoid”, such long sentences. Who can remember that without paper in the past? And you think that people whom haven’t even invent farming have papers to record down what they write? Or you think they could afford paper if they’re given the choice to buy from monarchy/empires, given that there’s no factory to reduce cost of production of papers in the past… So, it’s an evolutionary track. NOTE THIS ISN’T RESEARCHED. You should research whether it’s true from an evolutionary track. Otherwise, treat this as a hypothesis. We tend to generalize than specify.

And overgeneralization? Stereotype is the answer. Yes, in the past, racism and all other -ism is caused by some stupid greedy people that invents them such that they are more “higher status” than others. Why can’t female work? Cause we need them to stay at home and care for the babies was the answer. The real answer is, it shames the male as they can’t go out and find food for their child. And further invention is the phrase: “you only know how to hide behind women’s back”, an extra shameful phrase that further the sexism. As for racism, those people just wants some cheap labors and relax in their gardens. If we could make some people our property, and dictate this via their skin colors while we have, say, higher technological advancement and stronger army than them, and ensure that we don’t teach them knowledge just numb them from thinking, we could preserve our interest: to be “higher ups” than sharing the cake with others. As for “the cake is large enough for everyone?” Nah, if there are no one to compare with, how do we know we’re the “higher ups”? Ultimately, “High” and “Low” are comparison adjectives.

And as we know, it takes the whole 20th century, or even going earlier back a few centuries ago, to finally remove these racism, sexism, etc from our society. Though, the thinking isn’t always removed. One used to read from some text that people whom live in a place where it’s mixed is less stereotypical than people whom live around where a dominant majority is of the same type, be it “race” or “skin color” or other domination. Otherwise, where does the modern “culture shock” comes from, even when you watch (or avoid watching) the western influences from technologies? Or it could be due to laws such that wearing shorts and more sexy in certain places are more open, while in other places you could be jailed/fine for wearing too sexy. What says naked strike or naked beach. No wonder the differences that exist, combined with our disagreement of what was taught to us, we generalize it into a stereotype as it’s too shameful to admit that “we’re wrong” when it’s easier to say “you’re wrong” (probably not wrong, just unable to admit and accept the differences, but in extremities, our brain may trick us towards “being wrong” in the black-or-white region than “something considerable” in the grayish region). That’s another cause of stereotype.

Ok, enough of the origin of stereotypes. Let’s get back to the topic: how stereotypes distorts our view. Consider our hatred for country X from the example earlier. Now, we may start generalize it to other sectors of country X, like products made in country X are bullshit, or perhaps considered country X a 1 star traveling location, etc. Notice your stereotypes? How about, if the government of country X made a decision that may/may not affect you, but you feel that it’s unfair, then you start generalizing the decision of the governments becoming the decision of the citizens of country X, when the citizens of country X have no f***ing idea what the heck is happening, nor are there consensus where the representative really are representing the citizens rather than for their own interest… But what our stereotype deviates to is, “bad government means bad people, bad people means bad _____” (whatever it is, fill in yourself). Consider if products made in country X is good, and just because you don’t agree with something you refrain yourself from buying products made in country X, you’re the asshole set boundaries on yourself that refrain you from meeting your goals. Now, your ego is controlling you, rather than you controlling your ego. And an overgeneralization of something unrelated is just, utterly bad.

Especially if you’re going to a mixed city like London where everyone from different parts of the world come together, and you originated from somewhere with domination. Notice how your stereotypes let you avoid making friends, or even get close to some people. Perhaps your brain logically tells you that you can’t go exert stereotypes of people because you could be fined, or be in jail; but some body motion reacting to the stereotypes that long doomed you isn’t always avoidable, and isn’t always sue-able, cause it isn’t voiced out. But one thing is certain, you’re setting boundaries on opportunities that you could get if you do otherwise, overcoming your stereotype to demolish your boundaries and keep yourself open to whatever that is to come, and could come. So, stereotype sucks.

In conclusion, we talked about countries where developing into cities, and those that chose not to develop their cities or other reasons. We talked about how the ease of technologies provided to us have a heavy cost on mental illnesses. We talked about how our stereotypes tend to tweak how we think of things even if we try to suppress it. These are doubts that one encounters. And of course, since it’s a doubt, one don’t have an answer for you. Perhaps, it’s up to you to decide whether you have an answer, or stay in doubt together with me.

Thanks for reading.

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