Day 10: Shadowing

When we would a new abode,
Space, our tyrant King no more,
Lays the long lance of the road,
At our feet and flees before,
Breathless, ere we overwhelm,
To submit a further realm!

Rudyard Kipling, A Song of Travel

Today I decided to spend some of my down time shadowing my friend Anders L. when he did his Inquiry Project work. It was an amazing experience. I have purposely chosen my topic (The Change and Development of Xizhou) because it was very broad, so the topic could start narrowing. With my topic, anything goes, so I was free to shadow my friends without bending the wide constraints of my topic. Anders' topic was about small business case studies, and I could make the argument (If I was an exceptionally churlish individual) that the businesses constitute a grassroots momentum for ground-up change. Given the constraints of the buddy system, I thought that the only way I could get anything done was to shadow someone. And I was right. Shadowing proved a useful way to be a mere observer, but also provide support for the person doing the work. For example, I took enough photos to crash the memory card, and provided translations back and forth.

Again addressing the people who are reading the journal, I suggest you take some time and live someone else's life. Even though you are the star character, the champion of your own cause, the conductor of your own orchestra, living in your own Pax Romana within your own play, written and directed by your complex self, it would be a good idea to find some time to experience life through the lens of other people. This not only provides you a chance to bond with that person, it also provides you a chance to understand the person's perspective. Why do they endorse tax breaks for large corporations? Why are they pro-life? Why do are they anti-gun rights? Why do they support Trump... Offer to help them. Suggest you come with them to an event. Really walk two miles in their moccasins. This is where the poem connects: the further realm could mean the 远在天边,近在眼前perspective of another peer. The concept of empathy is a relative novel and au courant one, one that is gaining ground both in the professional world and in our daily lives.

I promise you, it will be worth it.

“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask." Over the course of Microcampus, I have experienced the individual freedom that I have been grappling with ever since I have left Shanghai. Who am I? Why am I here? My Microcampus-era posts and thoughts would go to reveal my struggle against who I am, a struggle you will soon face in Microcampus. And now that I am back, I may have but a fragment of my answer.