Monday, May 2, 2011

less AI than i thought


the last couple of days i've been thinking quite a bit about empathy. i was thinking about this quite a bit the other day while i was making myself a lunch that didn't quite turn out the way i wanted to....but made me realize why....as there was something off within me.

it started out seemingly ok. i had great ingredients, eggs from marin sun farms..... nduja from boccolone....watercress from marin roots.....




yet, i over cooked the eggs....


and for some odd reason, i decided to wilt the watercress.




then i put it into a split section of acme bread with some organic mayo.




as i was doing this...i thought to myself, WTF is up with me...i know what i should have done....softly cooked the eggs, crumbled the nduja midway through, and then serve it with the watercress raw within the toasted yummiess of acme bread. some thing was off.

then....i just took a deep breath...and decided to add more raw watercress on the side....which helped cut through some of the rich fattiness of the meal. yet sometimes it does take something like my messing up in the kitchen...doing something that i know is on the wrong path....to remind myself that i need to be recentered a bit.

as i made my way through my compromised meal, i thought....it was time to get a wee bit real.


while i often like to tell myself that i'm an emotionless analytical robotic AI machine, i know....deep down.....you know....deep deep deep down....that this is not the case. there are times when my sense of empathy decides to release itself and i find myself metaphorically knocked on my ass. sometimes this happens at the oddest and most unexpected of moments....like when i was at an airport in denver last year.....when a mother and daughter's moment of trying to hold their shit together made my sense of empathy overwhelm the circuits and break through that titanium wall around what i pretend to be my lump of coal for a heart. all i knew as that they were hurt, emotionally, and i sought to provide a moment of comfort to them. complete strangers.

fuckin empathy. reminds me that i'm actually human after all.

i suppose it happens. even to me. there is a reason why spock has always been my favorite star trek character.

so imagine what it is like when i see someone i know and have respect for....trying to hold their shit together...but in a micro glimpse of telling me that they are "ok"....i know that they are hurt. deeply.

there are some things that make "rationale" sense. there are things that we do when it doesn't matter and tell ourselves and everyone else that to power through is the best thing. there are things we do when someone tells you that despite their hurt that it is ok for you to move forward. i know that they believe it when they tell me that they are ok...or will be ok.

yet.

yet, i can't shake that inexplicable intangible feeling of empathy. you know, that sense of empathy that will overwhelm everything else...even rational a + b = c sort of thinking.

i may not know the details. i may not know the clear rationale. i may not know both sides or all of the sides of the story.

but i do know that you were hurt.

sometimes, that is all i need to know.

sometimes, when i know that...it doesn't matter what the logical rationale is. it doesn't matter if you tell me that it is "ok" with you. because it isn't ok with me.

if i can feel empathy for complete random freakin strangers in an airport.....WTF do you think is going to happen when i actually respect you?

because if it isn't ok with me....then i'm going to choose to not move forward....despite you telling me that it ok.....because it isn't you know.

it isn't ok that someone hurt you.

i guess i'm more human and less AI than i thought.

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