10 years ago in Stuff
 10 years ago in Stuff
Quora is in the same boat as FB (and to a certain extent, Twitter)

They think that the experience of their largely 20-something staff is anything short of revolutionary.

A bunch of kids running a digital media company with questionable morals and no connection to digital history. I will delete me Quora account.

"Follow me, and I will make you fisherprice toys that can be stacked and linked in such a fashion as to enable capture, storage and exploitation of free men and women."
 10 years ago in Zitate
Vernunft erfordert Bezogenheit und Selbst-Gefühl. Wenn ich nur passiver Empfänger von Eindrücken, Gedanken und Meinungen bin, dann kann ich diese zwar miteinander vergleichen und sie manipulieren, aber ich kann sie nicht durschauen. Descartes leitete die Tatsache, daß ich bin, davon ab, daß ich denke. "Ich zweifle", so argumentierte er, "also denke ich; ich denke, also bin ich." Aber auch das Umgekehrte gilt. Nur wenn ich bin, wenn ich meine Individualität nicht an das Man verloren habe, kann ich denken, das heißt, dann kann ich meine Vernunft gebrauchen.

In engem Zusammenhang hiermit steht der Mangel an Wirklichkeitssinn, der für die entfremdete Persönlichkeit kennzeichnend ist. Wenn man von einem "Mangel an Wirklichkeitssinn" beim heutigen Menschen spricht, so steht das im Widerspruch zu der weitverbreiteten Idee, daß wir uns durch unseren größeren Realismus von den meisten geschichtlichen Epochen unterscheiden. Aber von unserem Realismus zu reden, kommt beinahe einer paranoide Einstellung gleich. Was sind das für Realisten, die mit Waffen spielen, welche zur Vernichtung der gesamten modernen Zivilisation, wenn nicht gar unserer Erde, führen können! Wenn ein einzelner bei so etwas ertappt würde, dann würde er sofort hinter Schloß und Riegel kommen, und wenn er sich mit seinem Realismus brüstete, so würden die Psychiater darin ein zusätzliches, und zwar ziemlich ernstes Symptom einer kranken Seele sehen. Aber ganz abgesehen davon ist unverkennbar, daß der heutige Mensch einen erstaunlichen Mangel an Realismus in bezug auf alle Gebiete, auf die es ankommt, aufweist; in bezug auf die Bedeutung von Leben und Tod, in bezug auf Glück und Leiden, auf Gefühle und ernsthaftes Denken. Er hat die gesamte Wirklichkeit der menschlichen Existenz zugedeckt und durch ein künstliches, verniedlichtes Bild einer Pseudowirklichkeit ersetzt - so ähnlich wie die Eingeborenen ihr Land und ihre Freiheit für glitzernde Glasperlen hergegeben haben. Er hat sich tatsächlich so weit von der menschlichen Wirklichkeit entfernt, daß er mit den Bewohnern von Brave New World sagen kann: "Wenn der einzelne fühlt, gerät die Gemeinschaft ins Wanken."
"Wege aus einer kranken Gesellschaft" (1960)
 10 years ago in Quotes
Q: Why do the police always travel in threes?

A: One to do the reading, one to do the writing, and the other keeps an eye on the two intellectuals.
 10 years ago in Quotes
I fortunately come from generations past that learnt to think using paper. If I have to cut off my right arm to escape computer addiction, I can do that. Generations now and especially in the future will quite literaly be unable to think straight without an electronic device in their hand. To them, life will be brutually stressful with no inner peace to be found because they will be assaulted non-stop by disingenuous companies who have every kind of life-sapping wares to peddle.
 10 years ago in Quotes
I think the university should tolerate a large diversity of opinion, which it does not. I think there is a severe failure - the failure is one of honesty, in my opinion. That is, I don't believe that scholarship within the university attempts to come to grips with the real structure of the society. I think it is under such narrow ideological controls that it avoids any concern or investigation of central issues in our society. And this is not merely a matter of opinion; I think this is easily demonstrable.
 10 years ago in Quotes
To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle.
 10 years ago in Quotes
But cast away the thirst after books, that thou mayest not die murmuring, but cheerfully, truly, and from thy heart thankful to the gods.

Remember how long thou hast been putting off these things, and how often thou hast received an opportunity from the gods, and yet dost not use it. Thou must now at last perceive of what universe thou art a part, and of what administrator of the universe thy existence is an efflux, and that a limit of time is fixed for thee, which if thou dost not use for clearing away the clouds from thy mind, it will go and thou wilt go, and it will never return.
 10 years ago in Quotes
When I was asked to make this address I wondered what I had to say to you boys who are graduating. And I think I have one thing to say. If you wish to be useful, never take a course that will silence you. Refuse to learn anything that implies collusion, whether it be a clerkship or a curacy, a legal fee or a post in a university. Retain the power of speech no matter what other power you may lose. If you can take this course, and in so far as you take it, you will bless this country. In so far as you depart from this course, you become dampers, mutes, and hooded executioners.

As a practical matter, a mere failure to speak out upon occassions where no statement is asked or expected from you, and when the utterance of an uncalled for suspicion is odious, will often hold you to a concurrence in palpable iniquity. Try to raise a voice that will be heard from here to Albany and watch what comes forward to shut off the sound. It is not a German sergeant, nor a Russian officer of the precinct. It is a note from a friend of your father's, offering you a place at his office. This is your warning from the secret police. Why, if you any of young gentleman have a mind to make himself heard a mile off, you must make a bonfire of your reputations, and a close enemy of most men who would wish you well.

I have seen ten years of young men who rush out into the world with their messages, and when they find how deaf the world is, they think they must save their strength and wait. They believe that after a while they will be able to get up on some little eminence from which they can make themselves heard. "In a few years," reasons one of them, "I shall have gained a standing, and then I shall use my powers for good." Next year comes and with it a strange discovery. The man has lost his horizon of thought, his ambition has evaporated; he has nothing to say. I give you this one rule of conduct. Do what you will, but speak out always. Be shunned, be hated, be ridiculed, be scared, be in doubt, but don't be gagged. The time of trial is always. Now is the appointed time.
Commencement Address to the Graduating Class of Hobart College, 1900
 10 years ago in Quotes
I used to yell at lusers when they didn't RTFM.
Then I yelled at developers because they didn't WTFM.
Now I yell into the abyss as all of you fucking dipshits gallivant around naked, singing the praises of a fucking number for the number's sake.
 10 years ago in Quotes
Don't let school interfere with your education.
 10 years ago in Quotes
Either you repeat the same conventional doctrines everybody is saying, or else you say something true, and it will sound like it's from Neptune.
 10 years ago in Quotes
Compare mathematics and the political sciences - it's quite striking. In mathematics, in physics, people are concerned with what you say, not with your certification. But in order to speak about social reality, you must have the proper credentials, particularly if you depart from the accepted framework of thinking. Generally speaking, it seems fair to say that the richer the intellectual substance of a field, the less there is a concern for credentials, and the greater is the concern for content. One might even argue that to deal with substantive issues in the ideological disciplines may be a dangerous thing, because these disciplines are not simply concerned with discovering and explaining the facts as they are; rather, they tend to present these facts and interpret them in a manner that conforms to certain ideological requirements, and to become dangerous to established interests if they do not do so.
 10 years ago in Quotes
[..] thoughtful lightness can make frivolity seem dull and heavy.
"Six Memos for the Next Millennium"
 10 years ago in Quotes
A totalitarian state simply enunciates official doctrine -- clearly, explicitly. Internally, one can think what one likes, but one can only express opposition at one's peril. In a democratic system of propaganda no one is punished (in theory) for objecting to official dogma. In fact, dissidence is encouraged. What this system attempts to do is to fix the limits of possible thought: supporters of official doctrine at one end, and the critics -- vigorous, courageous, and much admired for their independence of judgment -- at the other. The hawks and the doves. But we discover that all share certain tacit assumptions, and that it is these assumptions that are really crucial. No doubt a propaganda system is more effective when its doctrines are insinuated rather than asserted, when it sets the bounds for possible thought rather than simply imposing a clear and easily identifiable doctrine that one must parrot -- or suffer the consequences. The more vigorous the debate, the more effectively the basic doctrines of the propaganda system, tacitly assumed on all sides, are instilled. Hence the elaborate pretense that the press is a critical dissenting force -- maybe even too critical for the health of democracy -- when in fact it is almost entirely subservient to the basic principles of the ideological system: in this case, the principle of the right of intervention, the unique right of the United States to serve as global judge and executioner. It is quite a marvelous system of indoctrination.

Here is still another example along the same lines. Look at this quotation from the Washington Post, a paper that is often regarded as the most consistent critic of the war among the national media. This is from an editorial of April 30, 1975, entitled "Deliverance":

For if much of the actual conduct of Vietnam policy over the years was wrong and misguided - even tragic - it cannot be denied that some part of the purpose of that policy was right and defensible. Specifically, it was right to hope that the people of South Vietnam would be able to decide on their own form of government and social order. The American public is entitled, indeed obligated, to explore how good impulses came to be transmuted into bad policy, but we cannot afford to cast out all remembrance of that earlier impulse.

What were the "good impulses"? When precisely did the United States try to help the South Vietnamese choose their own form of government and social order? As soon as such questions are posed, the absurdity becomes evident. From the moment that the American-backed French effort to destroy the major nationalist movement in Vietnam collapsed, the United States was consciously and knowingly opposed to the organized political forces within South Vietnam, and resorted to increasing violence when these political forces could not be crushed. But these facts, easily documented, must be suppressed. The liberal press cannot question the basic doctrine of the state religion, that the United States is benevolent, even though often misguided in its innocence, that it labors to permit free choice, even though at times some mistakes are committed in the exuberance of its programs of international goodwill. We must believe that we "Americans" are always good, though, to be sure, fallible:

For the fundamental "lesson" of Vietnam surely is not that we as a people are intrinsically bad, but rather that we are capable of error - and on a gigantic scale....

Note the rhetoric: "we as a people" are not intrinsically bad, even if we are capable of error. Was it "we as a people" who decided to conduct the war in Vietnam? Or was it something that had rather more to do with our political leaders and the social institutions they serve? To pose such a question is of course illegitimate, according to the dogmas of the state religion, because that raises the question of the institutional sources of power, and such questions are only considered by irrational extremists who must be excluded from debate (we can raise such questions with regard to other societies, of course, but not the United States).
 10 years ago in Quotes
[Q: can you conceive of any form in which you might support American military action taken, like the President's justification, in anticipation of an imminent and dangerous threat?]

Why don't you generalize it, and say, can you conceive of any action which any state might take? Sure, you can imagine such things. Let's say you're in Iran right now. [audience laughter] It's under attack by the world's superpower, with embargoes... It's surrounded by states either occupied by its superpower enemy, or having nuclear weapons. Little way down the road is the regional superpower, which has hundreds of nuclear weapons, and other WMDs, and is essentially an offshore US military base. And has a bigger and more advanced air force than any NATO power, outside the United States. And in the past year has been supplied by the global superpower with 100 advanced jet bombers, openly advertised as able to fly to Iran and back to bomb it. And also provided with what the Hebrew press calls special weaponry, nobody knows what that means, but if you're an Iranian intelligence analyst you gonna give a worst case analysis, of course. And has actually been publicly provided with smart bombs, and deep penetration weapons... They have a terrific justification for anticipatory self defense, better than any other case I can think of.

But would I approve of their bombing Israel, or carrying out terrorist acts in Washington? No, even though they have a pretty strong case, better than anything I can think of here. Just as the Japanese had a much better case than any that I can think of here, but I don't approve of Pearl Harbor. So yeah, we can conceive of cases, and in fact some of them are right in front of our eyes, but none of us approve of them. None of us.

So if we don't approve of them in real cases, why discuss hypothetical cases that don't exist? We can do that in some philosophy seminar, but in the real world there're real cases that ought to concern us.