Welcome to my lair.
There's an awful lot of connection in the world. We have the power to read things from across the entire globe, to see things happening across the sea, to talk to our friends from miles away.
And yet we're lonely. Most of our lives revolve around being near massive numbers of people--handling the groceries, phones, or even the connections of hundreds of people a day. In an hour, we see more people than we could ever actually talk to.
Part of the problem, as various psychologists have pointed out, is that we tend to think that being distant and closed off is cool. And, ironically, connecting the world actually makes it easier to pretend that we've got everything, and that means we all pretend we're perfect to keep up with other people who pretend they're perfect.
All of this comes together to mean that we don't connect to each other. We hide behind emotional firewalls, and serve up cleverly-pieced-together Facebook feeds, and all the while we make sure port 22 is never, ever open. Nobody ever gets to see the real world behind that mask, which is why nobody ever feels like a real person.
It's been a while.
I'm staring at the first E-Ink advertisement in my local Kroger. It's a short animation, little more than a powerpoint about the benefits of buying a too-expensive health-food TV dinner. It's cheap and it catches attention and it works just like every other ad in the world.
In a sense, we enjoy hearing about the dystopian future because it lets us feel better about seeing it coming. When you hear about how amazing the world is now, it makes you wonder if you're insane for not seeing it.
In other news, I've done some gamedev (nothing too amazing, just a simple shmup, I'll link it later), and I've been doing some musical experiments, making a whole album from the comfort of my phone screen. I broke out of wageslave land, and now I'm sitting on the beach of Retail Island, watching the college ferry come to take me to Having A Life. I want the boat to move faster, but it can't, so I'll just have to keep typing away to distract myself until the boat runs aground.
Noticed a new bug in my pilit.sh, the script that builds this page out of text files in my ~/notes directory.
is nonequivalent to this:
>sed '/\~$/d' | sed '/\.swp/d'
And the former was matching weird, leaving only two posts on the front page.
That has been fixed now.
I need to put this thing on github, start showing it off.
Capitalism, like a lot of other things, mostly works on paper; it works realnwell when the numbers are clean and consistent, and nobody throws curveballs.
In practice, it isn't nearly that simple. People break the system, make mistakes, build additions to the system that miss the key points. They buy for brand loyalty instead of buying for quality, they pass laws that work in the favor of badly-run companies, they write union rules that appeal to the lowest common denominator.
Worst of all, the rules themselves have changed, because it's no longer about doing a good job; we've convinced ourselves that the road to success is paved, not with sweat, but with cut corners.
It's not really what capitalism was about. Capitalism, in its original form, was what we might call crowdsourcing today. It was a system in which the people were trusted to make decisions in their best interest, and in which that decision-making power was used to decide who was worthy of staying afloat, which in turn enabled the best workers to be most able to judge the work of others. It was ingenious, really.
But then the worst of us got jealous, and over time we have made success ever more dependant on a wide social game. Once upon a time, a CEO knew how his company worked; now, he only knows paperwork and manipulation, so that's what he does.
I'm gonna be moving locally, most likely; anything further and I'll lose all my support. My sister's boyfriend is only interested in moving locally, if at all, and my sister is still waffling but would probably stay with her BF.
I really, really wish I could convince them to stand up, throw away the silly things they cling to here, and follow me on a grand adventure.
But adventures are for children. The grown-ups never play, never take chances, so why should we? Never mind that the rent's cheaper and the grass is greener and the stores are closer, it's too risky, there's far too much danger involved, I'll just go celebrate my eleventy-first birthday and smoke some pipe-weed. Not a single Bilbo or Frodo left in the world, they all ran off and the Sackville-Bagginses are running the place now.
There's lots of things to do if you just look around.