There’s a bit of loneliness in the world, I think. But not the kind we’ve all come to recognize. Not the feeling that we are alone, unknowable, or otherwise separated from our peers. It’s something I never expected to encounter, and yet that’s exactly what makes it so penetrating. It’s a kind of emotional nostalgia, and the realization that the novelty of life itself is fleeting. I used to wonder what adults thought to themselves as they watched us play and grow, forever discovering, always surprised and delighted or perturbed.
I just realized I am a victim of the Peter Principle. Ever since I can remember, I’ve been a very quiet and withdrawn person. When people see that, they need to assign a cause. Well, if someone isn’t talking, they must be listening or thinking. If they think a lot, they must be smart. So every adult I ever met when I was a child always treated that way. Of course, I am then pressured to push myself—to fulfill their expectations.
Humanity simply doesn’t have a brain capable of it. People can only mentally relate to a certain number of people or ideals. Anything else becomes foreign. Our animal brains see foreign things as potential threats, and puts up guards. Suddenly, a person starts to wonder: why don’t those other people do it the way we do? The ‘it’ here can be anything: Religion, politics, pick any subject. That question evolves into a disagreement, then an argument, then a schism, and so on.
I want to tell a story, and I’m sure most people won’t like it for one reason or another. If you stop reading after the first paragraph or two, I won’t blame you. It’s hard to read, and says a lot of bad things about humanity. But I like to think that it also provides necessary perspective that helps society see where it needs to improve. It’s about my family.
This May, I attended my first international conference: PGCon 2014. Though the schedule spanned from May 20th to May 23rd, I came primarily for the talks. Then there was the Unconference on the 24th. I’d never heard of such a thing, but it was billed as a good way to network and find out what community members want from PostgreSQL. After attending the Unconference, I must admit I’m exceptionally glad it exists; it’s something I believe every strong Open Source project needs.