Marry, and you will regret it; don’t marry, you will also regret it; marry or don’t marry, you will regret it either way. Laugh at the world’s foolishness, you will regret it; weep over it, you will regret that too; laugh at the world’s foolishness or weep over it, you will regret both. Believe a woman, you will regret it; believe her not, you will also regret it… Hang yourself, you will regret it; do not hang yourself, and you will regret that too; hang yourself or don’t hang yourself, you’ll regret it either way; whether you hang yourself or do not hang yourself, you will regret both. This, gentlemen, is the essence of all philosophy.
Pleasure is a by-product of doing something that is worth doing. Therefore, do not seek pleasure as such. Pleasure comes of seeking something else, and comes by the way.
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.
What is the point of this ever expanding “long boom” if we leave so many behind?
What a shallow victory we will have wrought if so many suffer so greatly while we benefit so exorbitantly.
We already have sufficient technology, agricultural & manufacturing output, and logistics in place to feed, clothe, and assumably shelter every human on the planet. Social organization away from surplus value hoarding by big capital seems to be the key missing piece of the puzzle.
Consumer goods suck. You keep buying them.
The average consumer is an idiot, so the bean counters keep milking them. Let's stick RGB lights in what used to be the BMW, you know the ultimate driving machine. The entire consumer market is rotten. TV? It's going to come with smart apps. Get one from NEC that's meant for commercial use.
The average consumer wants this stuff. It sells. They want pizzaz over functionality and durability. They want shiny stuff in a bigger box.
The Onion is reality. I don't think corporations/businesses are to blame. We're not voting with our wallets and instead regressing into buying more fricking touch screens. The average consumer is extremely ill-informed, sometimes that's due to the lack of time, but more often than not, it's due diligence.
The industrial, military and commercial market doesn't mess around. They want to purchase equipment that works reliably and performs to a specification. It's professional and their livelihood depends on it. It sort of self filters the entire market. Shitty things drop off the radar due to poor sales.
The possible redemption from the predicament of irreversibility - of being unable to undo what one has done - is the faculty of forgiving. The remedy for unpredictability, for the chaotic uncertainty of the future, is contained in the faculty to make and keep promises. Both faculties depend upon plurality, on the presence and acting of others, for no man can forgive himself and no one can be bound by a promise made only to himself.
In the midst of all my bitching, you might have noticed that I never complain about politicians. I leave that to others. And there's no shortage of volunteers; everyone complains about politicians. Everyone says they suck.
But where do people think these politicians come from? They don't fall out of the sky; they don't pass through a membrane from a separate reality. They come from American homes, American families, American schools, American churches, and American businesses. And they're elected by American voters. This is what our system produces, folks. This is the best we can do. Let's face it, we have very little to work with. Garbage in, garbage out.
Ignorant citizens elect ignorant leaders, it's as simple as that. And term limits don't help. All you do is get a new bunch of ignorant leaders.
So maybe it's not the politicians who suck; maybe it's something else. Like the public. That would be a nice realistic campaign slogan for somebody: "The public sucks. Elect me." Put the blame where it belongs: on the people.
Because if everything is really the fault of politicians, where are all the bright, honest, intelligent Americans who are ready to step in and replace them? Where are these people hiding? The truth is, we don't have people like that. Everyone's at the mall, scratching his balls and buying sneakers with lights in them. And complaining about the politicians.
If my experience serves any purpose, it is to illustrate what most already know: our courts must not be allowed to consider matters of great importance in secret, lest we find ourselves summarily deprived of meaningful due process. If we allow our government to continue operating in secret, it is only a matter of time before you or a loved one find yourself in a position like I was – standing in a secret courtroom, alone, and without any of the unalienable rights that are supposed to protect us from an abuse of the state’s authority.
Every time we witness an injustice and do not act, we train our character to be passive in its presence and thereby eventually lose all ability to defend ourselves and those we love.
And Thou Too
The moonlight rolls down like a river, The silence streams out like a sea; And far where the eastern winds quiver, My farewell goes floating to thee. Like night, when the sunset is fading And starbeams troop up in the skies, Through a cold, dark and lonely forever Gleams the light of the poet eyes. And sometimes when I am weary, When the path is thorny and Wild, I'll look back to the Eyes in the twilight, Back to the eyes that smiled. And pray that a wreath like a rainbow May slip from the beautiful past, And Crown me again with the sweet, strong love And keep me, and hold me fast. For the way is not strown with petal soft, It is covered with hearts that weep, And the wounds I tread touch a deeper source Than you think it mine to keep. Down the years I shall move without you, Yet ever must feel the blow That caused me a deeper pain to give Than you will ever know. For the tears that dropped on my hands that night 'Neath the mystical shining moon, Were a sacred dew, consecrated there, On the rose-altered heart of June. And the heart that beat against mine like a bird That is fluttering, wounded sore, With it's nest all broken, deserted, torn, Will beat there forevermore. But the world moves on, and the piteous Earth Still groans in the monster pain; And the star that leads me points onward yet, Though the red drops fall like rain! Ah, not to a blaze of light I go, Nor shouts of a triumph train; I go down to kiss the dregs of woe, And drink up the Cup of Pain. And whether a scaffold or crucifix waits 'Neath the light of my silver star, I know and I care not: I only know I shall pause not though it be far. Though a crucified life or an agonized death, Though long, or quick and sharp, I am firmly wrought in the endless thread Of Destiny's woof and warp. And I do not shrink, though a wave of pain Sobs over me now and then, As I think of those "saddest of all sad words," The pitiful "might have been." "It might have been"— it is not to be; And the tones of your "swan's farewell" Ring sadly, solemnly deep to me Like the voice of a sobbing bell. Ay, gather your petals and take them back To the dead heart under the dew; And crown it again with the red love bloom, For the dead are always true. But go not "back to the sediment" In the slime of the moaning sea, For a better world belongs to you, And a better friend to me.
What ultimately lies behind the appeal of bureaucracy is fear of play."The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy"
If the ability to tell right from wrong should have anything to do with the ability to think, then we must be able to "demand" its exercise in every sane person no matter how erudite or ignorant."The Life of the Mind: The Groundbreaking Investigation on How We Think"
The march away from language continues. Facial expressions may be a rich form of communication but the kinds of ideas you can communicate with them are severely restricted. Literacy was hard won and now it seems like we're letting it go.
From a philosophical viewpoint, the danger inherent in the new reality of mankind seems to be that this unity, based on the technical means of communication and violence, destroys all national traditions and buries the authentic origins of all human existence. This destructive process can even be considered a necessary prerequisite for ultimate understanding between men of all cultures, civilizations, races, and nations. Its result would be a shallowness that would transform man, as we have known him in five thousand years of recorded history, beyond recognition. It would be more than mere superficiality; it would be as though the whole dimension of depth, without which human thought, even on the mere level of technical invention, could not exist, would simply disappear. This leveling down would be much more radical than the leveling to the lowest common denominator; it would ultimately arrive at a denominator of which we have hardly any notion today.
As long as one conceives of truth as separate and distinct from its expression, as something which by itself is uncommunicative and neither communicates itself to reason nor appeals to "existential" experience, it is almost impossible not to believe that this destructive process will inevitably be triggered off by the sheer automatism of technology which made the world one and, in a sense, united mankind. It looks as though the historical pasts of the-nations, in their utter diversity and disparity, in their confusing variety and bewildering strangeness for each other, are nothing but obstacles on the road to a horridly shallow unity. This, of course, is a delusion; if the dimension of depth out of which modern science and technology have developed ever were destroyed, the probability is that the new unity of mankind could not even technically survive. Everything then seems to depend upon the possibility of bringing the national pasts, in their original disparateness, into communication with each other as the only way to catch up with the global system of communication which covers the surface of the earth."Men in Dark Times"
The conclusion to be drawn from [the Bank of England’s executive director for Financial Stability Andy] Haldane's work is that an out-of-control financial sector is eating out the modern market economy from inside, just as the larva of the spider wasp eats out the host in which it has been laid.
Journalists should ask a specific question: since these programs began operation shortly after September 11th, how many terrorist attacks were prevented SOLELY by information derived from this suspicionless surveillance that could not be gained via any other source? Then ask how many individual communications were ingested to acheive that, and ask yourself if it was worth it. Bathtub falls and police officers kill more Americans than terrorism, yet we've been asked to sacrifice our most sacred rights for fear of falling victim to it.
Further, it's important to bear in mind I'm being called a traitor by men like former Vice President Dick Cheney. This is a man who gave us the warrantless wiretapping scheme as a kind of atrocity warm-up on the way to deceitfully engineering a conflict that has killed over 4,400 and maimed nearly 32,000 Americans, as well as leaving over 100,000 Iraqis dead. Being called a traitor by Dick Cheney is the highest honor you can give an American, and the more panicked talk we hear from people like him, Feinstein, and King, the better off we all are. If they had taught a class on how to be the kind of citizen Dick Cheney worries about, I would have finished high school.
My life's work is not what I've made, it's who I am when I sit in front of a blank file. If I lost everything, I would have lost nothing.
"And in her ears the little Seashells, the timble radios tamped tight, and an electronic ocean of sound, of music and talk and music and talk coming in, coming on on the shore of her unsleeping mind."
So, even as she rests, Mildred is surrounded by noise, by constant entertainment, just like she is during the day with her t.v. walls. Montag's society uses these seashells for two purposes. The first is to control information, and hence, thought and potential rebellion. If they are the ones controlling what information you get, they can tell you whatever they want, giving only one perspective, and painting a rosy picture so that people are never discontented. They also use the shells to relay important information. For example, when Montag escapes at the end, they send a message through all of the seashells for everyone to look out for him, and to turn him in if they see him. They automatically have a huge civilian army at hand, through the use of the seashells. Secondly, if people are constantly "plugged in," they don't have any spare time for their minds to be on their own. If people never have silence, they never think, and so never have the kind of discontented thought that come from meditation.
Mildred stays "tuned in" so much that she really has no mind of her own. In this sense, she is a perfect citizen of her society. I hope that these thoughts helped; good luck!
An obedient population is extremely vulnerable to authority figures. The whole point of democracy is to create stability by removing that single point of failure, by involving so many people in everything that crazy or malicious individuals can not easily gain excessive power, and democracy is under no circumstances compatible with obedience: Either you think critically and vote in your own interest, or you are obedient and vote how the dictator tells you to. It's impossible to have a population that critically evaluates candidates and selects the best one and that also follows orders without regard to their own evaluation of that order.
Today we have marketing departments that say things such as “we don't need computers, we need appliances. Make me a computer that doesn't run every program, just a program that does this specialized task, like streaming audio, or routing packets, or playing Xbox games, and make sure it doesn't run programs that I haven't authorized that might undermine our profits."
On the surface, this seems like a reasonable idea: a program that does one specialized task. After all, we can put an electric motor in a blender, and we can install a motor in a dishwasher, and we don't worry if it's still possible to run a dishwashing program in a blender. But that's not what we do when we turn a computer into an appliance. We're not making a computer that runs only the “appliance" app; we're taking a computer that can run every program, then using a combination of rootkits, spyware, and code-signing to prevent the user from knowing which processes are running, from installing her own software, and from terminating processes that she doesn't want. In other words, an appliance is not a stripped-down computer—it is a fully functional computer with spyware on it out of the box.
No machine can replace the human spark: spirit, compassion, love and understanding.
The last few evenings I've coded a CMS so I can write some coding articles when the fancy strikes me.
When it’s Tunisians and Egyptians using FB and Twitter, everyone is quick to take credit and talk about the “transformative” power of social media. When it’s genocide, suddenly everyone is mumbling and looking at the ground. You can’t have every job listing include “changing the world” and then duck responsibility when you actually do change the world, just for the worse.
The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.
Modern industrial civilization has developed within a certain system of convenient myths. The driving force of modern industrial civilization has been individual material gain, which is accepted as legitimate, even praiseworthy, on the grounds that private vices yield public benefits, in the classic formulation. Now, it has long been understood, very well, that a society that is based on this principle will destroy itself in time. It can only persist, with whatever suffering and injustice that it entails, as long as it is possible to pretend that the destructive forces that humans create are limited, that the world is an infinite resource, and that the world is an infinite garbage can.
At this stage of history either one of two things is possible. Either the general population will take control of its own destiny and will concern itself with community interests, guided by values of solidarity, sympathy and concern for others, or alternatively there will be no destiny for anyone to control. As long as some specialized class is in a position of authority, it is going to set policy in the special interests that it serves. But the conditions of survival, let alone justice, require rational social planning in the interests of the community as a whole, and by now that means the global community. The question is whether privileged elite should dominate mass communication and should use this power as they tell us they must - namely to impose necessary illusions, to manipulate and deceive the stupid majority and remove them from the public arena.
The question in brief, is whether democracy and freedom are values to be preserved or threats to be avoided. In this possibly terminal phase of human existence, democracy and freedom are more than values to be treasured; they may well be essential to survival.
If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning.
I would never call the existence of bloated software a consequence of progress, but rather a sign of decadence.
You cannot hope to build a better world without improving the individuals. To that end each of us must work for his own improvement, and at the same time share a general responsibility for all humanity, our particular duty being to aid those to whom we think we can be most useful.
The trouble with Eichmann was precisely that so many were like him, and that the many were neither perverted nor sadistic, that they were, and still are, terribly and terrifyingly normal. From the viewpoint of our legal institutions and of our moral standards of judgment, this normality was much more terrifying than all the atrocities put together.