node created 2019/09/29
It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.
Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy. For if you bake bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half man's hunger. And if you grudge the crushing of the grapes, your grudge distils a poison in the wine. And if you sing though as angels, and love not the singing, you muffle man's ears to the voices of the day and the voices of the night.
It's the standard tech company mentality: Deliberately make your product different and incompatible with everyone else and compete instead of cooperate. Best case outcome is monopoly and customer lock-in. Most likely case is no one solution gains enough traction and you end up with 15 incompatible chat apps.
Thanks, but I'll stay with Email 1.0 for as long as I can. It is one of the last remaining corners of the internet that is not infested with all the human-hostile behaviors you call "features".

Centralized walled garden, bound to fail, or worse, acquired by some super-evil corp at any moment ("our wonderful journey"), packed with emojis, real-time information on who is looking at what worse than the Stasi and loss of control of your timeline is what EVERYONE ELSE ALREADY PEDDLES. These things are part of the problem, not part of the solution. For fuck's sake, leave email alone.
They never pay the slaves enough so they can get free, just enough so they can stay alive and come back to work. I could see all this. Why couldn't they? I figured the park bench was just as good or being a barfly was just as good. Why not get there first before they put me there? Why wait?

I just wrote in disgust against it all, it was a relief to get the shit out of my system.
You don't wanna hear my message. You spent fifty years evolving a propaganda system that'll take the truth and change it into what you wanna hear. You don't wanna hear shit that's gonna mean you might have to give up something. You don't want it. All you wanna do is sit on your fat, dividend-drawing ass and draw dividends.
"Punishment Park"
There exists in our society a widespread fear of judging that has nothing whatever to do with the biblical "Judge not, that ye be not judged," and if this fear speaks in terms of "casting the first stone," it takes this word in vain. For behind the unwillingness to judge lurks the suspicion that no one is a free agent, and hence the doubt that anyone is responsible or could be expected to answer for what he has done. The moment moral issues are raised, even in passing, he who raises them will be confronted with this frightful lack of self-confidence and hence of pride, and also with a kind of mock-modesty that in saying, Who am I to judge? actually means We're all alike, equally bad, and those who try, or pretend that they try, to remain halfway decent are either saints or hypocrites, and in either case should leave us alone.
Software project management practices are, nearly by definition, warmed-over Taylorist management principles that worked pretty well to weed out the people in factory assembly lines who weren’t working to their peak efficiency. They’re explicitly dehumanizing, but they also don’t even make sense when you can’t even measure efficiency. The upshot is that their application creates a prison guard/prisoner mentality, so it shouldn’t be surprising when the targets start to adopt a prison-yard mentality.
Human intuition is bad at dealing with exponential growth but it’s very good at one thing: not looking weird in front of your peers. It’s so good at this, in fact, that the desire to not look weird will override most incentives.
Hold the people around you accountable. It's not your Democracy, it's all of ours. We all have to want change, or change will never come. It's frustrating, and there are countless minority groups who can attest to that. But it's the only legitimate way forward in a Democracy. Anything else is no more than a mob, or worst, terrorist.
If you can convince the lowest white man he's better than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he'll empty his pockets for you.
Facebook is designed for, and in fact is designed to prey on, the computer illiterate.
The idea that a majority of gun owners are going to rise up and then support human rights is a fantasy of right-wing Americans who currently don't support human rights.

Functioning democracies are not propped up by guns. They are propped up by institutions heavily supported by the public. Institutions such as independent government agencies, independent courts, and free media outlets.
It’s about quality. It’s about sound. It’s about museum quality. It’s about the real thing. The facts. The real sound. What happened when you opened your mouth and sang? What went into the air? That’s what we’re not getting with the new technology.

The older technology used to give you a reflection of it so that you could still feel it. Today, it’s reconstituted. It’s poorly sampled. It’s garbage that has less bits to save people memory, which is not even relevant anymore. We have so much memory we’ve got it coming out of our ears. Yet we’re still saving memory, saving quality, so we can store more crap. It’s just we’ve gone down this bad street, and we’re way down.
Q: I’m looking at the new 16-inch MacBook Pro. Apple gave me a review unit. They said, “Look at all of the artists who use this thing with GarageBand to start.” But you’re saying that shouldn’t be where the recording starts?

A: It’s a piece of crap. Are you kidding? That’s Fisher-Price quality. That’s like Captain Kangaroo, your new engineer. A MacBook Pro? What are you talking about? You can’t get anything out of that thing. The only way you can get it out is if you put it in. And if you put it in, you can’t get it out because the DAC is no good in the MacBook Pro. So you have to use an external DAC and do a bunch of stuff to make up for the problems that the MacBook Pro has because they’re not aimed at quality. They’re aimed at consumerism.
We just need to grow up and stop blaming the geeks for the utter manure shoveled at us by ignorant jocks on golf courses determined to exclude anyone with actual understanding, insight and knowledge. And the manure shoveled by the actual geeks with a massive risk appetite and zero care for externalities beyond their startup making cash.
There's a time and a place to dig in your heels and say NO to something. It usually comes when someone else has been reckless. If you do it for everything, then either you're the problem, or you're surrounded by recklessness. I think you can figure out what to do then.
If enough of us had worked like Noam to try to force American leaders to stop killing and exploiting the innocent these past 40 years, after all, countless people would have been saved, and America and the world would not only be far richer, more peaceful and more just. It would not be presently heading toward the collapse of civilization as we know it from climate change. Noam believes the major responsibility for this lies with a short-term driven corporate system that regards climate change as an "externality," i.e., a problem for someone else to worry about. But it is also clear that the fact that not enough of the rest of us, certainly including myself, respond appropriately to civilization's looming death is a major part of the problem as well.

And, I thus finally realized, the important question was not why Noam responds the way he does to the suffering of the innocent around the planet.

It was why so many of the rest of us do not.
I learned a few years ago that lawns used to be something only aristocrats could afford because it showed your wealth that you could afford to not have land for the use of food production. Now you get fined if your neighbor rats you out to the local government for letting it get to high.
The process which, if not checked, will abolish Man goes on apace among Communists and Democrats no less than among Fascists. The methods may (at first) differ in brutality. But many a mild-eyed scientist in pince-nez, many a popular dramatist, many an amateur philosopher in our midst, means in the long run just the same as the Nazi rulers of Germany/Traditional values are to be `debunked’ and mankind to be cut out into some fresh shape at the will (which must, by hypothesis, be an arbitrary will) of some few lucky people in one lucky generation which has learned how to do it. The belief that we can invent `ideologies’ at pleasure, and the consequent treatment of mankind as mere υλη, specimens, preparations, begins to affect our very language. Once we killed bad men: now we liquidate unsocial elements. Virtue has become integration and diligence dynamism, and boys likely to be worthy of a commission are `potential officer material’. Most wonderful of all, the virtues of thrift and temperance, and even of ordinary intelligence, are sales-resistance.

The true significance of what is going on has been concealed by the use of the abstraction Man.

[..]

What is now common to all men is a mere abstract universal, an H.C.F. [Highest Common Factor], and Man’s conquest of himself means simply the rule of the Conditioners over the conditioned human material, the world of post-humanity which, some knowingly and some unknowingly, nearly all men in all nations are at present labouring to produce.

[..]

The regenerate science which I have in mind would not do even to minerals and vegetables what modern science threatens to do to man himself. When it explained it would not explain away. When it spoke of the parts it would remember the whole. While studying the It it would not lose what Martin Buber calls the Thou-situation.

[..]

Perhaps I am asking impossibilities. Perhaps, in the nature of things, analytical understanding must always be a basilisk which kills what it sees and only sees by killing. But if the scientists themselves cannot arrest this process before it reaches the common Reason and kills that too, then someone else must arrest it. What I most fear is the reply that I am `only one more’ obscurantist, that this barrier, like all previous barriers set up against the advance of science, can be safely passed. Such a reply springs from the fatal serialism of the modern imagination—the image of infinite unilinear progression which so haunts our minds. Because we have to use numbers so much we tend to think of every process as if it must be like the numeral series, where every step, to all eternity, is the same kind of step as the one before.

[..]

But you cannot go on 'explaining away' for ever: you will find that you have explained explanation itself away. You cannot go on 'seeing through' things for ever. The whole point of seeing through something is to see something through it. It is good that the window should be transparent, because the street or garden beyond it is opaque. How if you saw through the garden too? It is no use trying to 'see through' first principles. If you see through everything, then everything is transparent. But a wholly transparent world is an invisible world. To 'see through' all things is the same as not to see.