Category Archives: Philosophy

This Is Life

We’re born bare into this world, we are the lucky ones who already won the race. Let us not forget this truth, for it is the truth. The moments immediately before and after are of the ultimate innocence. An innocence not to last in perfection, we are stones being cast into the surf. We will be rolled and tumbled through life, crushed and ground away by peers, but always unique.

As our lives are shaped by the grind, polishing us, we might forget about our beginning. We might allow our life to define us, but that isn’t life defining us it is our environment. Life already defined us, we live. We cannot let the environment drag us into what it says we need; it doesn’t know because need is personal.

Our world says that we need to eat this, wear that, drive this, buy that, find love (as long as it is an accepted form), etc. To that I ask why? Why do we have to fall in line with what the world says is needed. The real needs were spelled out long before the world came up with their own set; why do we let ourselves forget them? We are driven by metrics and goals that don’t matter.

Life says we need air, we need to eat, we need to drink water, we need shelter, and we need to fuck at some point. These are the only necessities of the pure life we were born into, all of us free and equal in those regards. Life makes no promises, it has no need, it has already given us a blessing and now it is our turn.

Yet, many of us forget the simplicity of life, believing the world to be honest. In forgetting, we forgot ourselves, who we really are. This is not our fault, it is our nature, born of pure innocence we know not of evil or temptation. The world takes advantage, crafting us, driving us through the sieves, trying to make us fit. Wanting us to fit, for a multitude of reasons befitting the different elements we interact with.

Life requires nothing from us, except for us to follow our needs. The world has changes that as it bounds toward ever more complex systems defining what our needs should be and how we are to meet these needs. We believe the world, chasing after what it says, like a dog bounding after a rabbit on a rail, as the world watches on in much amusement at our gullibility. How is it that we give our freedom up so easily?

How? The world presents us with solutions that it says will make us happy. It bombards us with images and stories, constant advertisements for a happy life. It projects forth ideas about what we should do, what we should buy, where and how we should live, yet it does this without the personal understanding necessary. It does not care about you or I, it created the jobs, it created the wants, and it created the money that will drive both. The world continues the grinding, rolling you over.

As we progress, many lose their edges, ground down so smoothly only to find another edge if they are forced to crack. Most of these will not find their way back, never becoming free again, withering away with time until the end. Some will find and hone their edges, fighting against the world to live life; this path is hard, life makes no promise that it will pay off. You can choose your path, follow the world, living marginally happy, or take a chance with the edge and risk never being complete.

Some will fight life, or death as it is better known at that point. Life and death are one and the same, but from different perspectives. In life we slip from the darkness through to the light, then watch as the light dims. In death, looking backward, we slip from the light into the darkness and watch as the world brightens, this is nostalgia. On both paths, there are blips, or maybe extended periods of both light and dark, representing the tumultuous affairs the world presented. In the end we can only hope to go out as bare as when we had entered.

Anonymity And Stratification

Our perception and thus our lives and surroundings are driven by biases. They are internal and external. They are mental and physical. These define our world and define us.

Erosion, by wind and water, is biased in that it takes the most direct path with the least resistance. The wind and water are of coursed biased by their own factors such as temperature, gravity, or  physical displacement. Solution caverns are formed after long periods of graceful wearing by biased paths of water dripping through the stratified layers of earth and wearing limestone or another composite down. Men are similar in that we make our paths through life using biases to survive.

Our biases help us to form groups, of positive and negative responses, based on prior knowledge or instinct(biases shared from previous generations), and particularly opinion. Biases based on opinion — family, friends, religion, race, color, creed, nationality, wealth, just about way to slice society and ideals into disparate groups — create stratification within our modern societies. We take in what we see, what we hear, what we feel and our biases respond with negative or positive reaction. These reactions aren’t always rational, because they have been passed through a filter before being truly inspected.

How can we limit our biases? How do you limit the effects of stratification, being in or out of group, above or below a threshold?

I don’t think we ever can completely destroy bias, a factor being emotion, but can we limit it; I believe so. Social networks are often based around a user’s identity and relationships, and also the sharing of the user’s ideas and emotions. Each is a form of bias, but what if we can remove everything that is unnecessary, the relationships and identities. You end up with a muddled stream of anonymous content, you strip away the biases you have positive and negative that aren’t relevant to the actual content. We hear how bad anonymity is, but just because you hide the identity doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have to exist.

John Gabriel's Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory

John Gabriel's Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory

Why does anonymity have to devolve? What if you can have your anonymity along with identity, and the responsibility (most) people have when it is our identity attached. Can you impart the freedom of stratified bias, while simultaneously allowing the community to hold itself to a standard without abuse. To be honest I don’t know, but both on their own are simple, the first being the standard identity based model, the other being more akin to 4chan’s open anonymity. Maybe it should be as simple as an interface switch, that can show identity, if it is wanted, but otherwise hides it by default. Relationships shouldn’t have to be destroyed in order to have the anonymity exist.

Anonymity like the biases can’t and won’t be perfect, but there have to be some ways to limit and control them. This post was partly spawned by thinking about group stratification and realizing I had partially solved it with little app I made for myself a while back that removed all external points of identity, incidentally. It my content streams from Friendfeed, and was amazed at some of the reactions I had to things I had liked that I normally would have scoffed at.

Stay Hungry Steve

I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” ~ Steve Jobs

This question impacted me quite seriously, when I was in college. The whole commencement speech helped changed my path; I’ll not say whether negative or positive, as the choices made were by me. Steve changed me, he sent me off on a mission to create the change I wanted to see and to always, “Stay hungry. Stay Foolish.”

He helped change the world from the very early days. He helped introduce the PC to the mainstream. Even after being forced out of Apple, he helped  push change with NeXT and Pixar. He was humble enough to allow a competitor to help him recover the company he founded, and recover he did. He made digital music available in a cheap and legal manner, as well as providing an integrated portable device to store them. The defining legacy is that he continually pushed further on with what worked and promoting changes to forge new paths to take them. Our world as it is now is indebted to the leadership he has shown.

My condolences to his family  and friends.

I say this as someone who has never owned an Apple product, and aside from iPod’s and a very short tech call, I’ve never touched an Apple product. My view of Steve comes from watching him lead for the past few years, when he was able, and looking back on those moments in the past where he had shown the qualities of a true leader. I truly thank him for that commencement speech.

“Death is the destination we all share, no one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be because death is very likely the single best invention of life.” ~ Steve Jobs

Processing The End

The Emptiness…

It is a lack of fulfillment, both metaphorically and in actuality. It is the knowing that something should be done, how it could be done, but stressing out over how it will be done. It is the ever present NEVER.

Never finished.

Never shown.

Never critiqued.

Never. Never. Nev…

Many Endings…

With many starts, there also comes many endings. And while all things eventually end, there is a period in the middle that can be seen as an end, temporarily. That middle, however, doesn’t contain the finality of an ending. It could, but it often doesn’t. An end: Must be declared. Must be defined. Must include some sense of finality.

To not have those, you have many threads. These threads are silent, until ruffled. They are known, but not seen. They are ready to be wove together, to be knotted. The knot is the end, but…

…Never Seen

Process Undefined

Without a solid process, with an ending. One that can be declared complete. There will be no final solution, though there may be a solution along the way.

Fighting against an end, is natural. It is nostalgia. It is delusion. There has to be a process that demands a sacrifice of resistance. Fighting the end is futile. Fighting the resistance to the end is key.

A well defined process removes friction. It makes the end have definition. It bears the path to follow. Thought can consume a process as process removes thought.

Destroying the Habit

Forget what you know. Remember what you know. Fight. Fight for your freedom. Freedom from yourself. Freedom from your habits.

Your freedom depends on the destruction. The destruction depends on how well you fight. Your tools are the ability to think and the ability to act.

Think of a process. Act on the process. Repeat the process. Think. Act. Repeat. Process. Process.

Habitual Creation

Finality in the process.

 

The Game Can Change In A Blink

…Or how dreams go can go down the sink.

Earlier, this evening I found out that my cousin was pregnant, but she’s like a little sister, so I feel like I’m going to be an uncle. I’ve been having a hard time trying not to judge and just be happy, but it’s hard. She’s known for years what she wanted to do, and has had it all planned out, and then out of nowhere a surprise that’s going to shake her life. The unexpected turn that can derail even the best laid plans. Now I’m trying to fight myself off, I know she’ll be a great mom, but I can’t help but wish there was another way.

I’m fighting myself over being judgmental, but also fighting my own hypocrisy; when I was 16 my girlfriend got pregnant, it wasn’t mine but that didn’t matter to me. I offered to help her raise it, and be the father that the child would need, and started prepping for it. A few weeks later, after having discussed it, but without telling me until it was done, my girlfriend had an abortion. I understood the reason, fully, but it still hurt, then as it does now. My girlfriend, was trying to get rid of a bad dream for her, and open back both of our opportunities for the future.

During those few weeks, I felt invigorated, filled with more passion than anything before. During those weeks, I realized I had to fight, not for me, but for the child’s future. I’m not a fighter, when it comes to myself, I do what I do to survive, but I don’t really try harder than that. It’s unnatural to me. Tonight, that passion was revived,  this time I’m fighting for not just my ‘niece/nephew’ but also for my cousin’s future. I really don’t want to see her end up on the same path, I’ve gone down. I don’t want her dream to die.

It’s time to drop my humble approach towards life: Allow life to happen. It’s time for me to grab the bull by the horns and take this life for a run. The only thing that could happen is that I fall, and have to get back up. Infinite Upside. I’ve got nothing to lose, and so much to give.

…Or why business plans stink.

So far this post has been pretty personal, now let’s talk about business; business plans to be exact. The idea of a business plan is to provide some guidance about the market, your growth, competition, and strategy to achieve that growth. It used to be that the plans were long-term, 5-10 years. The problem with this, is that as our world becomes ever quicker to adopt new changes, your strategy can be invalidated. You very well may be stuck playing checkers, while everyone else plays chess, if you stick to the business plan.

If you want to stay alive, you have to change your strategy to fit the new rules of the game, otherwise you will lose. This means that you need to constantly be on the ball, and willing to change as you get new data, which requires that you actually acquire, analyze, and adapt to some set of data. And you need to be constantly aware, but also have some lag on decisions, so that you don’t get stuck working on a fad. Business plans have become near useless, for long-term prediction.

The important things now, aren’t the plans, per say, but that you understand your market and competition, can do what you say, and are willing to keep going with the feedback you get. You have to preempt competitive maneuvers and always be on the look out for new competition. The game is now not just about who gets there first or who does it better, but who does most of what I need, how I want

If you do everything according to plan, you will be beat, there is no doubt in my mind. You become predictable, you have to change the game that’s being played, and adapt to the new rules, when others change the game. If your plan is invalidated, don’t fight to save the plan, take that information and adapt to it. If you can’t stop there, then maybe you should go hang out with the telecom and cable giants, they’ll keep clawing to keep their duopolies on the market, but the casket will close on them if they aren’t careful. The status quo is deadly.

Be prepared to go to the brink, for what you believe.

You’ve got to take everything you’ve got and just go headlong into the fray. Life doesn’t stop because you want it to;  don’t try to stop it. Enjoy it, all of it, even hardships. What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger, after all. Make your moves with patience and diligence, but do make your moves before the clock stops.

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”