node created 2019/09/29
Deep doubts, deep wisdom; small doubts, little wisdom.
If you buy a hammer you expect it to work as long as you don't burn your toolshed. You don't expect it to change shape while you are using it, you don't expect it not to stop working once the manufacturer decides to give up on the design or once they go bust. Change being in your hands instead of the manufacturers is a feature, not a bug.
On the bombing of the North, there was meticulous detailed planning. How far should we go? At what rate? What targets? The bombing of the South, at three times the rate and with far more vicious consequences, was unplanned. There's no discussion about it. Why? Very simple. The bombing of the North might cause us problems. When we started bombing the North, we were bombing, for example, Chinese railroads, which happened to go right through North Vietnam. We were going to hit Russian ships, as they did. And there could be a reaction somewhere in the world that might harm us. So therefore that you have to plan for. But massacring people in South Vietnam, nothing. B-52 bombing of the Mekong Delta, one of the most densely populated areas in the world, destroying hospitals and dams, nobody's going to bother us about that. So that doesn't require any planning or evaluation.
When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping."
The type of personal integration we attain – or the effective lack thereof – depends on what possibilities our life situation offers us for the development of autonomy. It is a distorted development that is the root cause of the pathological and, ultimately, evil element in human beings.

The struggle for autonomy heightens our aliveness. Insofar as the socialization process blocks autonomy, however, this process engenders the evil it attempts to prevent. If parental love is so distorted that it demands submission and dependence for its self-confirmation, social adjustment turns into a test of obedience and the child’s efforts to comply bring with them the loss of genuine feelings. The human being then becomes the true source of evil.
"The Betrayal of the Self: The Fear of Autonomy in Men and Women"
An efficient and valuable man does what he can, whether the community pay him for it or not.
The driving idea behind denialism was always to delay action for a few decades. Well that worked perfectly. Now they will move on to saying it's all too late for gradual mitigation, and they can swoop in with highly expensive adaptation measures, publicly funded in perpetuity. This stage of rentier/disaster capitalism could be what pushes our global civilisation off the cliff.
There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.
[..] being a weirdo with eccentricities and preferences wasn’t something that demanded medication and diagnosis and labels and highly precise rules for what’s normal and what’s not. You could be awkward. It wasn’t a big deal.

Now, that is no longer true. People are keeping score starting at five years old, boxing kids into limited futures of medication and unrelenting demands for strict behavioral protocols.

So, what changed? The schools. The doctors. The kids didn’t change. The adults did. The trend was to demand more from children, and thus force them into tighter constraints in adulthood. The trend was to try and force a society to do more with less, and to weed out the weak.

Kids have to do homework in kindergarten, and that is bullshit. They shouldn’t have homework until middle school, really. They should just be kids. They shouldn’t have anxiety about grades when they’re little. They should be permitted to exist as tiny little humans, getting a first look at a gigantic world. Up until age ten, they should just be exposed to what it means to be a person.
I would never call the existence of bloated software a consequence of progress, but rather a sign of decadence.
Diamonds are forever, but humans very much are not. Partially because they're wasting so much time on things like diamonds.
Investigate why social pressure, not evidence is used.
Ah, yeah. We're gonna go to Mars. And then of course we're gonna colonize deep space. With our microwave hot dogs and plastic vomit, fake dog shit and cinnamon dental floss, lemon-scented toilet paper and sneakers with lights in the heels. And all these other impressive things we've done down here. But let me ask you this: what are we gonna tell the intergalactic council of ministers the first time one of our teenage mothers throws their newborn baby into a dumpster? How are we gonna explain that to the space people? How are we gonna let them know that our ambassador was only late for the meeting because his breakfast was cold and he had to spend half an hour punching his wife around the kitchen? And what are they gonna think when they find out, its just a local custom, that over 80 million women in the Third world have had their clitorises forcibly removed in order to reduce their sexual pleasure so they won't cheat on their husbands? Can't you just sense how eager the rest of the universe is for us to show up?
"Complaints and Grievances"
You may be 38 years old, as I happen to be. And one day, some great opportunity stands before you and calls you to stand up for some great principle, some great issue, some great cause. And you refuse to do it because you are afraid... You refuse to do it because you want to live longer... You're afraid that you will lose your job, or you are afraid that you will be criticized or that you will lose your popularity, or you're afraid someone will stab you, or shoot at you or bomb your house; so you refuse to take the stand.

Well, you may go on and live until you are 90, but you're just as dead at 38 as you would be at 90. And the cessation of breathing in your life is but the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit.
A man's work is nothing but the slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened.
Show me a man or a woman alone and I'll show you a saint. Give me two and they'll fall in love. Give me three and they'll invent the charming thing we call 'society'. Give me four and they'll build a pyramid. Give me five and they'll make one an outcast. Give me six and they'll reinvent prejudice. Give me seven and in seven years they'll reinvent warfare. Man may have been made in the image of God, but human society was made in the image of His opposite number, and is always trying to get back home.
"The Stand"
Yet another circumstance must be mentioned which proves favorable for the Nazis and their immensely powerful apparatus of oppression: the development of modern technology gives the rulers, as has long been insufficiently understood, an advantage over the ruled. The more effective the weapons become and the less you can protect yourself against them, the more the armed is superior to the unarmed. The Bastille could not be successfully stormed in the age of airplanes and tear gas. Rifles equipped with rifles have no chance against motorized police forces; it makes no sense to build barricades against a government that has tanks. And in the event of a revolution, it is not only weapons development that favors those in power, the state over the individual: modern technical development and the associated sophisticated organization work in the same direction. Traffic has led to the countries becoming small and easy to monitor. How many hiding places there were in a country a hundred years ago! At that time, every power hit natural barriers! Today there is no loophole and no hideout for the rebel anymore. Even the thoughts that are able to penetrate the walls have become "controllable" because they are tied to the mass distribution of news, to radio, film and the press. How long will it take before every house has its own microphone and every private word, like every telephone call today, can be heard? The ant state is at hand. It may not be a coincidence that states like Germany and Russia have elevated technology to the status of a religion. Conversely, this development of modern technology makes the preservation of freedom a human task that is more urgent than ever.
"Germany: Jekyll & Hyde (1939 - Deutschland von innen betrachtet)"
Another belief of mine: that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise.
Order is not pressure which is imposed on society from without, but an equilibrium which is set up from within.
There was a widespread conviction that it is impossible to withstand temptation of any kind, that none of us could be trusted or even be expected to betrustworthy when the chips are down, that to be tempted and to be forced are almost the same, whereas in the words of Mary McCarthy, who first spotted this fallacy: "If somebody points a gun at you and says,'Kill your friend or I will kill you,' he is tempting you, that is all." And while a temptation where one's life is at stake may be a legal excuse for a crime, it certainly is not a moral justification.

[..]

It is fortunate and wise that no law exists for sins of omission and no human court is called up onto sit in judgment over them. But it is equally fortunate that there exists still one institution in society in which it is well-nigh impossible to evade issues of personal responsibility, where all justifications of a nonspecific, abstract nature - from the Zeitgeist down to the Oedipus complex - break down, where not systems or trends or original sin are judged, but men of flesh and blood like you and me, whose deeds are of course still human deeds but who appear before a tribunal because they have broken some law whose maintenance we regard as essential for the integrity of our common humanity. Legal and moral issues are by no means the same, but they have a certain affinity with each other because they both presuppose the power of judgment.

[..]

What mattered in our early, nontheoretical education in morality was never the conduct of the true culprit of whom even then no one in his right mind could expect other than the worst. Thus we were outraged, but not morally disturbed, by the bestial behavior of the stormtroopers in the concentration camps and the torture cellars of the secret police, and it would have been strange indeed to grow morally indignant over the speeches of the Nazi big wigs inpower, whose opinions had been common knowledge for years. [..] The moral issue arose only with the phenomenon of "coordination," that is, not with fear-inspired hypocrisy, but with this very early eagerness not to miss the train of History, with this, as it were, honest overnight change of opinion that befell a great majority of public figures in all walks of life and all ramifications of culture, accompanied, as it was, by an incredible ease with which life long friendships were broken and discarded. In brief, what disturbed us was the behavior not of our enemies but of our friends, who had done nothing to bring this situation about. They were not responsible for the Nazis, they were only impressed by the Nazi success and unable to pit their own judgment against the verdict of History, as they read it. Without taking into account the almost universal breakdown, not of personal responsibility, but of personal judgment in the early stages of the Nazi regime, it is impossible to understand what actually happened.
People get used to anything. The less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows. After a while, people just think oppression is a normal state of things. But to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave.
any app/tool/etc. that's "designed for the average user", will only help its user be(come) average and below average!

Now try imagining selling a product with the slogan XYZ - Helping you stay mediocre, and even drop below the average! Use us every day, keep greatness away! ...if you're doing data-driven-product-design targeting the "average user", you're building just such a product
Emperor G built a beautiful walled city, inviting everyone in, encouraging them to paint their houses whatever color they like. A year later, Big G banned blue houses. If you didn't like the rules, you were more than welcome to build your house outside the city and paint it whatever color you like.

Only most people don't leave - blue is just one color and they weren't very interested in it anyway. Besides, the city is so beautiful and provides for their every need. In the coming years, people who want to paint their house blue badly enough to leave paradise are heavily scrutinized and eventually considered outcasts.

Over the years, more and more colors are slowly banned, one by one. People start to notice and complain once their favorite color is outlawed. But decades have passed since Emperor G's generous invitation. Entire generations have lived, died, and raised children inside the city. No one knows how to navigate the wilderness anymore. And even if they could, why would they want to? Thorns and weeds have overgrown the wasteland; it's much safer to stay inside the city walls. Besides, it's cozy and we have everything we need in here.
The sad thing is that individuals interested in freedom, who make serious contributions to some things called free, don't notice that the massive imbalances of wealth today have produced a situation where simple "free choice" is made a mockery of.
By encouraging, or even requiring, students to take stands where they have neither the knowledge nor the intellectual training to seriously examine complex issues, teachers promote the expression of unsubstantiated opinions, the venting of uninformed emotions, and the habit of acting on those opinions and emotions, while ignoring or dismissing opposing views, without having either the intellectual equipment or the personal experience to weigh one view against another in any serious way
Sure, torturing Uyghurs is kind of sucky. But do you realize the depth of the pain of the Chinese people, who even now, 70 years after the Communists took over, still nurse all the psychological wounds that came from 100 years of humiliation? Look, China has had a glorious 5000 years of history as a civilization. So this means that when you hurt the feelings of the Chinese people, you're wounding them to the core of their very beings, because that history runs so deep. That might make them seem a bit more sensitive, almost like cry-babies to your eyes, but that's only because you don't understand their pain. Whatever torture the Uyghurs are experiencing is nothing like the pain the Chinese people feel when a soccer player besmirches the moral character of the CCP.
The most effective way to restrict democracy is to transfer decision-making from the public arena to unaccountable institutions: kings and princes, priestly castes, military juntas, party dictatorships, or modern corporations.
Of course, the terrible things I heard from the Nuremberg Trials, about the six million Jews and the people from other races who were killed, were facts that shocked me deeply. But I wasn't able to see the connection with my own past. I was satisfied that I wasn't personally to blame and that I hadn't known about those things. I wasn't aware of the extent. But one day I went past the memorial plaque which had been put up for Sophie Scholl in Franz Josef Strasse, and I saw that she was born the same year as me, and she was executed the same year I started working for Hitler. And at that moment I actually sensed that it was no excuse to be young, and that it would have been possible to find things out.
Education is the point at which we decide whether we love the world enough to assume responsibility for it, and by the same token save it from that ruin which except for renewal, except for the coming of the new and the young, would be inevitable. And education, too, is where we decide whether we love our children enough not to expel them from our world and leave them to their own devices, nor to strike from their hands their chance of undertaking something new, something unforeseen by us, but to prepare them in advance for the task of renewing a common world.
Success today has to be defined in formal or quantifiable terms not because anyone actually consciously chose to do it, but because it's the only way you can put it in a computer, which actually was supposed to exist to empower people. It's pretty sad honestly.