Who Am I?
I've found that what people consider important in their lives by how they answer such open ended
questions, so you
tell me if you can tell how geeky I am by my answer to my own question. =)
First off, my name is Calvin Lin. According to my parents, they picked the name Calvin cuz it
somewhat resembled my name in Mandarin Chinese. My parents are from Taiwan, but I was born
and raised in the United States.
As of May 2001, I joined the ranks of the UC Berkeley
alumni with a Bachelor's in Electrical
Engineering and Computer Science. I now realize that opting out of grad school and going straight
to work was probably not that good of an idea, since the tech industry is in a slump at the
moment, but I'm actually fairly happy working at Shiny
Entertainment right now. It's been somewhat of a lifelong dream to try working for a video
game company, but I assure you that the truth of the industry isn't nearly as glamorous as one
might imagine. It suffers from the same problems as any entertainment industry: the business end
of things doesn't always want to allow the guys making the product to make it to their
satisfaction, and unless you're a superstar of the industry, the pay isn't very spectacular.
On the other hand, I have no regrets about working at Shiny. The team I'm on has great people on
it with great ideas for games, but we've been crippled by problems over at our publisher, Interplay.
As you can see, though, computers and video games play huge role in my life. =) I'm
fascinated with the potential that computers have for changing our lives, so I've particularly
been interested in the notion of artificial intelligence. To this end, I actually took quite
a few Cognitive Science and Psychology courses while at Berkeley (more than enough to fulfill the
core requirements of at least the Cog Sci major, but didn't get a double major cuz I didn't take
all the breadth requirements I would have needed). =)
I guess other than that, it might be interesting to quickly summarize my beliefs. All my
strongest beliefs center around my blind faith in the power of reason and logic. When you get
right down to it, this is no different from any religious assumption. I think one
of these days I'll write something explaining strange things I've concluded over the years, but
here is an example of how strange I am:
1. I myself minimize use of medicine and don't use any sort of recreational drugs (including
alcohol or nicotine) because I don't believe that we fully understand the effects of these sorts
of chemicals on our bodies yet and I don't want to take a potentially harmful substance into my
body just for fun. I've got plenty of less chemically harmful addictions (like computers).
2. However, I believe that recreational drugs should all be legalized. This stems from the fact
that alcohol has been deeply embedded in many cultures throughout history. Heck, some religions
even use alcohol in their sacred rites. Thus I think alcohol is too strongly entrenched to be
banned (also look in history to see what happened when we had Prohibition. heh). I don't believe
in making exceptions for just one drug, though. In my mind, there's no strong argument for making
only some drugs (e.g. alcohol and nicotine) legal while prohibiting others. It seems to me that
the biggest reason they aren't legal is that the alcohol and tobacco industries are very
You may also note that drugs like LSD are not known to be chemically
addictive and cause essentially no known chemical harm to the body in contrast to say alcohol
that is chemically addictive and damages the liver in the long run. Additionally, various
Native American tribes have used hallucinogenic drugs in their sacred rites, so there should
be no reason to ban those drugs either.
3. My belief that people should have the right to choose for themselves is also a strong
contributor to this conclusion. I myself have made a decision on drug use, but everyone should
be allowed to make their own decision. (This also leads to various other opinions of mine like
being pro-choice with respect to abortion regardless of what I would do if I were in a pregnant
woman's situation. I honestly don't know what I would do if I were in such a situation, but I do
know that I would want to at least be able to decide what to do instead of having someone
else's beliefs imposed on me.). I say let people think for themselves as long as it doesn't
harm people around them. In the long run, natural selection will run its course. heh
4. That last bit might lead one to assume that I don't believe in helping others or something, but
really my point is that we should not impose our own beliefs on others when helping them. I've
come to believe that man is a very social animal and hence we are all interdependent and must help
each other and cooperate to accomplish great things. However, I believe that most of the strength
of humanity comes from diversity of everything from beliefs to genetics. Thus no individual
should naturally assume that he is superior to another with respect to any such attribute. (This
is one of my big problems with most major religions. Many religions claim to be the one true
faith and thus implicitly superior to all other faiths.). Thus people should respect
diversity of beliefs instead imposing their own beliefs on others.
Ugh, I never realized how convoluted my mind is until I started trying to explain a simple belief.
=) It's also kinda strange cuz most people who talk with me probably wouldn't initially
realize how opinionated I am. That's cuz I haven't formulated strong opinions about most
things, so it takes a while of talking with me to stumble into something I will go off about.
I welcome rational debate and comments, so if something I've written has elicited a strong
response from you, I would love to hear what you think. Since there are way too many spambots
out there crawling around looking for e-mail addresses in order to sell them to spam advertisers,
write my e-mail address in human readable form: oom_cow at yahoo dot com.
This page was last modified on 20 August 2001.