Archive for August, 2014|Monthly archive page

I used to be a mathematician, and played in made-up worlds in my head. I still think it was useful but it takes me too long to explain why. It definitely wasn’t sustainable.

Now I’m a computer programmer. It’s far more sustainable, for me anyway. I still spend most of my time in made-up worlds. They’re less interesting than the other worlds.

What’s unfortunate is that I’m only now beginning to suspect that there are other, far more important worlds that I’ve never been a part of. Worlds that aren’t made up.

I’m too old to be a revolutionary.


What happens to other people, happens to me

One other thing as long as I’m feeling loquacious.

A month or two ago I saw a social media post by a coworker lamenting the amount of politics she saw online. She wanted to separate the personal from the political, and off the cuff defined political as stuff that happens to other people.

I realized at the time how backwards I thought that was. There is no division between the personal and the political. What happens to other people, happens to me. That’s the basis of empathy and I feel, strongly, that we’re all going to have to learn this if we’re going to survive the next century as a species.

The only thing George Orwell got wrong…

…is that he made his dystopia a socialist dystopia.

I’ve been reading 1984 again, and it’s eerie and sad. Except for that one nagging detail, he pretty much predicted twenty-first century western civilization. War is peace: we have always been at war with Terror. Freedom is slavery: for your freedom, do everything the authorities tell you. Ignorance is strength: don’t question the system, you’re either with us or you’re with the enemy. Constant surveillance, constant demagoguery against the other. It’s just that instead of socialism and Party uniforms, we have Wired and GQ.

It turns out IngSoc wasn’t necessary because we all had a price.

I figure one of three things is true: I’m having a rare insight, I’m having a common insight that goes generally unacknowledged, or I’m having some kind of breakdown. Which is more depressing, so you think?