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dullbenjamin

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I don't know -- all I can really say is that I've made a personal commitment to honesty, so I'm sort of bound by that commitment to say what I actually think. So, who knows how inconsiderate, meaningless, or harmful that statement would be to a person on a ledge... but it would be honest.

I just know that if it were me on the ledge, and someone tried to talk me down with some bullshit about how "where there's life, there's hope", I'd rather jump than continue the conversation with that person.

I get where you're coming from, I really do.

But as I've gotten older, the thing I've realized is that peace -- in one's life, and in one's mind, and in one's heart -- is an incredibly rare and precious thing. As long as the person's peace doesn't come at the expense of another person's wellbeing, coming in and fucking up their worldview just because you disagree with it seems like... well, a kind of rape of the spirit.

It's like with religion, right? I'm not a religious person, but I've got religious friends. One guy, he's part of what I would almost term a cult -- but they're harmless. They just believe weird shit that doesn't reflect any kind of reality. Misquoting religious texts, misunderstanding doctrines. That sort of thing.

The thing is, I wouldn't pick a fight with this guy about his beliefs -- even ones I know, for sure, to be untrue -- because what harm does it do? He's happy, and the world isn't harmed by it. Let him be, I say.

And I generally apply that to most people with whom I disagree, or who hold views that I find bizarre. As long as you're not standing on peoples' throats to have your happiness, have your happiness.

But yeah, when complacency leads to other peoples' misery? That's a whole different game.

    You've just described The World as one homogenously-good thing for some people, haven't you?

The good stuff I cited was just an example -- what makes a person's life feel, subjectively to them, good or bad is as variable as each person is, right? Some people enjoy solitude, and are desperate to escape family entanglements and friends, and strongly don't want children, etc. For them, The World feels good when it closely matches those desires.

For another person, family is key -- they feel miserable without a spouse and children and all the chaos that goes with it, and a community they can be a part of, and all that. For them, The World feels good when it closely matches those desires.

What I'm trying to get at is that The Good World is just a schema each person has in his or her head -- and they hold that schema up against the world they're actually living in, to see how they're doing, and how they should feel about things.

That schema is individual to each person, and is influenced by, and compared to, the circumstances of their lives -- the external things that happen to and around them.

And, for some people, the world seems homogeneously bad, because what they want and what they expect in no way match what they have and where they are.

Some people react to that fact by saying, "Well, you don't have to be stuck there. You can change things!"

And the point of my first post is -- hey, man, the fact that a person can even have the hope that change is possible is an accident of circumstance. The ability to change things, to not be stuck where you are? That's a rare privilege, when looked at on the scale of the world.

So, if you cannot change the circumstances that you find yourself in, the only other alternative is to change the schema. To change how you define a "Good World" to match what actually exists.

Because the world doesn't care. It's neither good nor bad. It just is.

    If you were to see this guy in the ledge, would you convince him to stay, knowing how terrible he perceives life to be? why? how?

Well, this right here is why I'm not a first responder for emergency situations. My response would probably be something like, "I dunno, man, jump if you want. The only reason I haven't done it already is a vague curiosity about where all this is going. Also, there's a fear of the pain. Jumping would hurt. I've thought about poison, but it's so... uncertain." And so on.

dullbenjamin  ·  1634 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Personality Insights about You Delivered by IBM's Watson

I put in 10K+ words of journal entries specifically about artistic topics.

Was told "You are unconcerned with art."

These things are rarely much more insightful than a horoscope. Vague, general statements that could apply to anyone, packaged together using the text you put in as a random seed.

I think the thing you're missing with this question is that "the world" isn't one big thing -- it's kind of a federation of different, smaller things experienced by each person.

For one person, The World may seem rather wonderful -- they have family they can rely on, friends and loved ones they can be with. They have a career they love -- or, at least, isn't draining the life out of them. They live in a place that's safe, relatively modern, and affordable for them. Their future prospects are good, and they have enough stability to plan for that future.

None of that is outlandish as a definition for a world that's good, I don't think.

But that "Good World" is not universally available to people. Where a person is born, when they're born, and to whom they're born can turn all of that pretty normal stuff into an absolute fantasy, not a possible reality that he or she can work for. Pile on top of these things poverty, disease, conflict, bad choices, and a host of other situational factors, and you can be looking at a life that ain't worth living by any stretch of the imagination.

You should count yourself lucky that you can even have the thought that your version of the world isn't such a bad place, 'cause for a lot of people, it's little different from living in a house on fire.

What you're asking is akin to "How do I convince someone who's blind that orange is the most beautiful of all colors?"

dullbenjamin  ·  1645 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: How yuppies hacked the original hacker ethos

I really wish this essay hadn't taken such an... academic tone. The whole thing comes across as a graduate thesis, which suffocates the -- quite good! -- point the author is trying to make.

I've been trying to figure out why I feel that way, though. I have a graduate degree, and I don't resent academia... but I still bristle when the tropes of academic rhetoric start showing up in online thinkpieces.

Maybe that's what it is. This guy's clearly not a researcher in the field -- so when he uses formal, academic terms, he comes across as a dilettante. Like a guy who's taken Philosophy 101 and wants to talk to you about his deep insights into the nature of reality he's developed thanks to this crazy cave metaphor he studied.

Anyway -- yes, the essay is right. Hacker culture has largely been supplanted by bro-yuppie culture. The same Patrick Bateman and Gordon Gecko types who used to go into finance in the 80s now go into tech, because that's where the money is.

dullbenjamin  ·  1646 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: AT&T Helped N.S.A. Spy on an Array of Internet Traffic

And now they're encouraging more data use. Huh. Weird.

Source: http://lifehacker.com/at-t-simplifies-its-mobile-plans-encourages-higher-dat-1724075637