Thursday, March 10, 2016

Editor's Letter: SINGULARITY

6:30 AM

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Thoughts on feeling lonely when you’re constantly surrounded by people. 

Hello again, thingamabobs!

It’s been a while. Yes, I know what you lot are thinking: Damn, Gaby! Back at it again with all your excuses (I’m sorry, I couldn’t help it).

In other words: It’s been a while, but we’re back again and ready to present some new content. In the spirit of lo…neliness, we’re tackling SINGULARITY. And contrary to what you may be thinking now, this isn’t some sort of bitter singles party. We aren’t pessimists here, so please allow me to explain.

Scrolling through Facebook nowadays, it’s hard not to come across barkada photos, or anything explicitly tagged #squadgoals (looking at you, T-Swift). As someone who is used to being a solitary creature (and self-confessed awkward penguin), there are times I’ve found myself asking where being alone fits in the entire equation.

We’re never really alone nowadays, with Facebook and Twitter and Snapchat.

There’s always a sense of longing to have that perfect squad, but we here at The Thing want you all to know that the first step for that to happen is if you take care of yourself. Though I do have to admit that we started thinking of this on a slightly bitter note (think Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?), our conversation has eventually turned to the direction of self-love and self-care.

PaCho brought up a relevant perspective when we were discussing the theme over email. She said that the “introvert is being glorified now, which is a good and a bad thing, because while it promotes being yourself, it also presents an excuse to keep up walls.”

I’m taking up Habermas’s “An Intersubjectivist Concept of Individuality” in my Philosophy class now, and in it, he mentions how an individual is the product of his/her surroundings and history in relation to others. Habermas says that “Only a person who knows who she is and wishes to be — vis-a-vis herself and others — can possess a concept of individuality that points beyond sheer singularity.”

Singularity is a stepping stone to individuality in that sense, and it’s interesting to see how setting yourself apart already involves other people.

Singularity isn’t being bitter about having no friends or a significant other. It’s about being distinct. As PaCho says, “Being comfortable with yourself in a world full of people.”

We’d also like to explore how isolation leads to originality. Kind of like how artists who don’t have any social media accounts don’t follow the trend, or whatever’s popular in the design world.

Trish (who is currently working in the credits and collection department of a big company) compared people to deposit slips. I think that it rounds up everything pretty well, if not wittingly.
There's a point in time where, tired of encoding the same thing over and over again, one ends up thinking, "Hey these are pretty much the same, in the bigger picture, if one of ‘em gets lost, it won't change much, right?" (Not that I am saying I did. Auditor's reasonable assurance of completeness and all. But it's a reasonable thing to think of.)
But it does. If you lose this one, it wrecks this account and a bunch of others. If you lose this other one — same amount, same bank, same everything save for, say, the location code, it wrecks a whole other bunch of accounts. Basically everything is an important part of the whole, and it doesn't matter if you're someone who considers themselves part of a herd or separate from it - you're you, and you're important — you're material and pervasive — based on that alone.
Above all, this theme is about finding your place in the presence of all those other people because you are comfortable with yourself.  As the famous American professor, Hailee Steinfeld-stein once said, and I quote, “Gonna love myself, no, I don't need anybody else.”

Go forth and love yourselves, friends!

'Til my next excuse,

Poster by Mia Catedrilla, lettering by Ralf Borja


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