What is the cost of clarity? This is actually more thought on an issue I commented on some time earlier. A common guideline in programming is "Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you emit". This is good, if you want your program to be a good citizen. The opposite doesn't make sense -- it would lead to your software not accepting its own type of input. But occasionally one of the other two options is desired -- conservative in what it accepts and emits. This type of software is called validating, and it can be useful in helping you fix stuff. Most people wouldn't want to use validating software in everyday usage, as it means that it will complain and often not work with commonly used bad input. One common type of validator is for HTML -- you point one at your website and it will give you all the flaws or possibly give you an OK. There's talk in the Mozilla project to have a validating mode, in order to more easily check pages.
The point I'm making is that in order for me to get where I am mentally, I've moved significantly closer to being a validating parser for all kinds of thought than most people are. If I don't understand something, I'll tell you about it. If I think you're talking nonsense, I'll tell you about it. I don't insist that people are perfect in all their communications -- there are some words, such as "evil", that I'll input but never output outside of discussion of diction -- I consider them depreciated, and attach to them meanings that make sense in my mental framework, whenever possible moving conversations so they use those replacement meanings instead of the depreciated words. Of course, when it comes to words that reveal that someone really hasn't thought things through, doesn't follow a good system of logic, or similar, I respect them less. Why do I do this? Sloppy thought bothers me. So much of philosophy is full of morons like Kant -- people who contribute a lot of words that just ruin paper whenever printed. Stupidity comes in many forms, sometimes self-serving head-in-the-sand logic like Kant, sometimes pseudoscientific gibber like Lacan, sometimes frothing at the mouth advocacy like C.S. Lewis, and sometimes adjudgemental postmodernist crud. With good policing, society can perhaps learn to reject bad philosophy, or bad thought in general.
Will this lead to much of a convergence? Sort of. There are many things it will discard, but there still are plenty of well-designed systems, very different from each other, that will have advocates that will probably struggle with each other. This struggle will likely be bloody. But at least humanity wouldn't be struggling over different kinds of mediocracy like there are now. Pareto-optimal. It's a beautiful concept. If you don't know it, go learn about it. It crops up in Math, Statistics, Computer Science, Engineering, Political Science, and even Economics. Imagine if we could reach the pareto surface in social systems...
Anyhow, I think that part of why I never was very popular was that I tend to bristle when someone isn't sitting on a well-constructed philosophical basis. Propogandic thought is often based on a kind of arrogance that I once practiced, but now am largely turning my back on. When I still do it, I often at least call attention to its status to take away some of its power. When I don't hear that from others, I tend to think less of them. One of the conclusions I've come to is that the more enlightened two people are, the less likely they are to be able to convince each other of values-based philosophic/political stances. And so much in philosophy relies on values and their relative positions to each other in the individual.... Even truth is a value, and some people can value truth less. It's easy to sway the masses, who don't understand why they think the way they do, or hold the positions they do. Once someone understands, most of the power of rhetoric is gone against them. All that's left to do is understand where the values differ, and to argue about how facts tie into the values. If they agree about the facts, and understand how their values differ, then they're at an impasse. Any attempts to move beyond this are probably a waste of time, and likely a sign of naive optimism.
Two more thoughts before I go to bed... Firstly, I found the name of a song that I enjoy dancing to at Outland. It's called Panzer Mensch, and it's by a german group called And One. "Computer, Maschine, PAN-ZER Mensch".. It's kinda catchy. It's also a very long song. I also found a MP3 of an unreleased song by OingoBoingo called Imposter. It has spiffy music, and provoking lyrics.
Hmm. What was the other thought.Ahh, yes. Money. I wish I were making more, so I could save more. When I move to that home, if I don't get a housemate, it's going to be seriously draining on my cashflow to pay rent and bills. Loyalty. Do I have loyalty to the company? Not exactly. But I like most of the people I'm working with. My boss understands technology, and seems to be a nice guy. The rest of the people seem clued and pretty friendly. Sure, I'm working often a bit over 9 hours a day, but at least I have a generally cool schedule. What would it take to lure me away from where I'm working? I think I'd need:
- additional $10k/yr plus cost of living changes
- similar benefits with perhaps more vacation days
- located in Ohio, or alternatively someplace warmer. Someplace in Western Europe would be an attractive alternative to the U.S.
- A University job would be very cool
I guess the reader gets a bonus topic -- I just remembered something I thought of. On my last drive home from work, if anyone had seen a glimpse of my car and its contents, they would've probably gotten a good idea of who I am and what I'm about. You didn't see it, unless you work for the FBI and are spying on me, so I'll describe it. Ford Taurus 1999. Snow piled all over it, with bits of the windshield and back window cleared just enough to see out of relatively safely. A laptop in the passenger seat, open, with a wire going from it into the car's radio, so its music would play. Me, singing along to the music with a lot of energy but a kind of dour look on my face. A copy of Nietzsche's Also Sprach ... in the middle holder. An unopened RK05 box in the back seat, along with a mess of stuff never unpacked from my last move. A plastic Yoshi in the cup holder. Some philosophy papers here and there, computer cords all over. A spare pair of shoes on the floor. Yeah. That's really all for that observation.
My hair is growing back with haste. It won't be too long before I reach the stage where it'll look stupid if I put it in a ponytail (it currently would be pretty pointless -- the wrap would fall right off). I imagine in a month or so, it might be practical to start putting it in a tie. I'm so happy about it.
I'm still alone though.