Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Suits and Salamanders

"In my day-to-day life, 30% of the people wearing suits are Mormons,the rest are corporate types. Neither speaks well to character"

I made some more steps towards getting the next version of my BLOG to thebarely-functional stage. It's up to the point where once I do some of thedatabase code, it'll be able to begin to display BLOG entries. I'm stoppingfor tonight, though, because I left the piece of paper on which I designedthe database at home. I am, however, happy with how things are coming along.The code appears to be segmenting moderately cleanly into seperate files, andwhile I'm not really using objects for anything (presently), I can later goback and OO-ify the interfaces where it makes sense. I realize that I coulduse objects for everything, but I don't exactly belong to that programmingcamp. Objects are nice when they represent something self-contained enoughthat things fit together that way, but 'instantiating' light singleton objectsjust to call one of their methods is a pain that I'm not keen to pay.

I had a pleasant, but slightly pressuring conversation with a businesswoman whowalked by and saw me programming -- she apparently wanted to hire me as adeveloper of some kind, and was disappointed at how intent I am at staying inacademia. She seemed pretty nice though.

I get the feeling that ID3 tags are even more complex than I thought -- I foundout the hard way that there are at least two tag types -- version 1 andversion 2, and a given mp3 can have both, either, or none. However, having spentsome time writing scripts to retag all my mp3s on the hard drive, and usingthe java sync software I have to view them and send them over, I've come acrosstwo snafus -- first, some files have tags that the tagging software I'm callingwith my scripts cannot edit. I found another piece of software that can stripthese files of all their tags, after which I can then tag them with the firstpiece of software. However, there are also some files I have which might havea third type of tag in them that overrides both the v1 and the v2 tags, causingthem to have info on my neuros that does not corrispond with the data anysoftware I have on my computer can see. To top it off, the software that canstrip tags, which is kind of flakey to begin with, segfaults when trying to editthese files (although the first piece of software is quite happy to tweak them).This is frustrating.

Anyhow, back to my previous brief analysis of Marx..The Marxist premise that labour put into a work and its value are the sameseems rather narrow to me -- in particular, while we can see where it comesfrom -- if you have the labour to re-input, you can recreate the work, it failsto take into account that said creation may grow in value over time, and thatfurther investment may be most valuable with certain time schedules. We may,for example, imagine a person as a good created by their parents as a simpleexample of how the labour put into a system can be less than the value of thegood produced. Marx's equality there certainly has an ideological usefulness --it provides grounds for dismissing the value of investment and management invalue creation, but we must reject it. While we can see that little value isadded by the system to the value of goods, there is not no value added, andwe should be content without the absolute. Next, in an age of increased materialwealth, humanity has come to expect new types of goods that rewrite the formerlyclean lines between the working class and the bourgeois. Entertainment,news, secretaries, these compose a large portion of society, with the portionthat produces actual items increasingly small as automation continues. It seemsreasonable to me to reseat Marx's class analysis into recognizing five primaryclasses, the Investors/Capitalists, the Managers, the Workers (who focus on theprimary function of the company), the Bureaucrats (who might mirror in someways the managers and workers, except with public funds) and the Academes(who largely sit outside the normal labour relations). Said framework providesa basis for rebuilding Marxist analysis on modern society. In said reanalysis,however, we must give up certain interpretations of the predictions of hishistorical dialectic. Many of his intuitions remain valid in a nonuniversalform. There remains the question, however, do we choose to identify with theworking class? Accepting the notion that the value of a product may be, but isoften not largely, greater than the work put into it, and the increasingautomation possible, we can take one of Marx's hypotheses to an interestingconclusion -- in the final stages of Communism, as socialism and technologicaladvance produces ever greater efficiency of labour, the collective effort neededto produce the base goods needed for society will become low enough that peoplewill no longer need an external push to do their share, and the market cancome to an end. In this case, the class system will, presumably, becomeunnecessary. An alternate, dystopian future remains if population continuesto grow to meet the slack possible by social and technological advance, andso I believe population controls will be needed to prevent this. However, itremains unclear how society can transition to such a state, as well as whatsociety will do once this state of being is achieved. Further, at the risk ofbeing declared more idealist than Marx, I don't believe material wealth isthe highest pursuit of man, and while the inequalities between the classesbother me, pursuit of wealth beyond quality of life is a caustic desire, forthe individual and for society. Instead, beyond certain necessities and qualityof life standards, production of culture and science are higher goods. I wouldsuggest that the societal structure that best meets this, while providing anoncapitalist set of values to capture hearts, is the University, home ofthe academe class. An alternate path to a classless society, or as near aswe're likely to achieve, and one that provides a more clear postcapitalist setof values, is to concentrate power and organization into universities,eventually having them supplant capitalism. In the end, we should hope thatUniversities completely manage (and replace) the economy, in the productionof arts, science, and goods, and that they inspire people to focus on these endsinstead of selfish pursuit of advantage or necessary pursuit of security.It is possible that such a system may satisfy the goals of Marx, althoughof course his vision would be compromised. In light of societal changes sincethe writing of his works, however, I think his original vision has becomeblurry.

Aha! In the time I've been writing this, I appear to have found a utility thatis both a better ID3 manager than the tool I was using, and can handle all thekinds of tags that I have. Hurrah. I hope there will be no more speed bumpsin my quest to get all my music nicely categorized.

Finally, I found out that Bobby Fischer, well-known chessmaster, is apparentlyan anti-semite. Apparently this was pretty much publicknowledge. I am embarassed to have not known this, and no longer give a damnabout his problems overseas. Amusingly, if it's true that his mother is Jewish,he could apply for Israeli citizenship and possibly avoid being deported tothe United States.. Strange..

Tags: blog, philosophy

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