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Addressing the inner lives of others - Is it possible to "talk past" the surface level of dialogue people have, where all their defenses lie, to address the root cause of a self-denial? I'm not sure. One of the big dangers in trying to do so is when one is wrong about what's really going on in their head, either because of wish-fulfillment or because one doesn't know them well enough. Example: those who paint atheism as rebellion and hope to sidestep the lengthy discussion/argument over facts to score a single win blow. Thing is, if they assume it is rebellion, perhaps they can score against people for whom it actually is, and so it makes sense to try. In a recent argument on Youtube with a conspiracy theorist (Alex Jones fan type), I made an attempt to jab at what I believe to be the usual causes of people being into conspiracy theories. As always, when one tries to address someone else's inner life, one doesn't expect to win the argument, just to inject a heavy payload of doubt. The fact that when people start to argue normally their pride is at stake means that I probably will never know if I did anything useful at all.

I guess it's like most things in life - I've always hoped to expose people to interesting ideas and different ways to think about things, introduce them to people they should know, encourage their hobbies (from music to crafts) when I think it'd be good for them, etc. Striving for some notion of a good without having much in the way of metrics to see if/how these things have taken root is not a very satisfying task at times, but I suppose a big part of striving for a good is that we're usually trying to do it for its own sake. Maybe if I were less neurotic and had friendships with more of the people I'd be able to judge these things better. Oh well.

Spent most of friday and saturday doing things for work. In general, the takehome lesson is that when you have local patches to a very complex (and undocumented and difficult-to-debug multiple-computer) system that you haven't sent upstream yet, upgrading the system and reintegrating patches in one go can be fiendishly hard. I reckon that there are very few jobs that require more ranks in 「Systems Geek」 than this. When my last tweak gave me a system that finally passed all my tests last night at 3am, it was a nice relief - no need for a sheepish rollback like last weekend. When I get these patches submitted and accepted, it'll be even nicer. By comparison, my taxes (which I'll have to do today or tomorrow, I think) will feel dead simple.

Té Café reopened yesterday under new ownership - the new owner isn't who everyone expected - instead it's to be run by a family that runs Sun Penang (fusion Asian place in SqHill). There's something interesting to me about families owning such places in common. Initially they're just adding Spring Rolls to the menu, eventually they might have a bit of sushi and other things. Also strange to see the newly-renamed busses in action today, and maybe I'm a bit grumbly that the christians have shut everything down for their holiday.

Recently heard of 「Ashley Madison」. There are few things more despicable, and I think they're playing with fire. Suffice it to say that while condemn entirely the Iranian fatwa for the death of Salman Rushdie, I don't think I'd frown very much on one for Noel Biderman. This touches on the ugly ground between "what should be illegal" and "what is unethical and merits shunning and utter rudeness". Likewise, it wades into that ground of infidelity, where I think it should probably not be illegal but I would forgive entirely someone who killed because of it - an indiscretion where personal morality and societal morality don't have a clean meeting. The discretion of a monarch would ban businesses like this, but I'm not sure how cleanly one might handle it in a system that prefers to be general rather than situational. In the meantime, I would expect every decent person to shun and/or interpersonally work against everyone involved the Ashley Madison enterprise - whether they would want to do direct action or just attempt to work to make the shunning universal and/or dig up and reveal every bit of dirt on the past of those involved in order to make them social pariahs would be their choice.

To reiterate the relevant judgement,When people make a go at a standard monogamous relationship, the primary responsibilities are held by the two people involved, as they are the ones who have the formal commitment. However, our society should expect others to respect those relationships and not lead people to violate their formal terms - standard monogamous relationships can be terminated (divorce, breakup), but they should not be violated (through cheating). Encouraging others to terminate their relationship is not necessarily problematic (particularly when it is not done out of personal interest in dating one of the people) and even when it is it mostly amounts to a "being a jerk" level of behaviour. Encouraging actual violation of the relationship (cheating) merits condemnation by society, not as much as those who actually do cheat, but still strong condemnation.

I also hold that should one discover that someone else's standard monogamous relationship is being violated, should one know the injured party, it is obligatory to shed light on the situation. One might do so through an ultimatum to the cheater to attempt to make them do it, or one might do so directly (informing the injured) or indirectly (manipulating circumstance to create surprise discovery, or manipulating other parties to force the situation to come into light). I note however that failing this obligation, while important, should not be considered deeply damning provided that one is not somehow helping the person cheat.

This explicitly does not cover nonstandard romantic relationships (that is, those that are not monogamous in the normal sense). People should generally assume, should they know that a relationship exists, that it is a standard romantic relationship unless they know otherwise.

So yeah, I'm not sure why anyone would likely want to listen to my value codes; I'm not exactly a Mujtahid-equivalent of some existing tradition. Maybe it's interesting anyhow?

I think one of the big challenges of working out my political philosophy is dealing with the tensions between traditional orthodox Marxism (which I've come to understand to be a radically optimist populist movement based on some very bad philosophy), enlightenment-era intellectual liberalism, libertene tendencies versus post-Nietzschean ideas of virtue, and particularly the populist-technocratic dichotomy. Addressing all of these tendencies adequately is difficult, but I think nothing less would make a good society. I am amused that the biggest problem with Orthodox Marxism - overreliance on the dialectic, is specifically about synthesising good things out of such tensions. To be amused this way is maybe a bit dishonest though - I wouldn't be applying the dialectic in a natural historical-progress sense. Alas, to be amused requires us to keep bending ideas.

Whether it's better to try to start a school of thought by infusing liberal technocracy with socialist values or by taking moderate socialism and replacing the populist element with a technocratic and education-centric focus is an open question, if one were to try to sway existing groups towards a new centre of gravity.

I am not shedding any tears over the death of Eugene Terreblanche. Like Rehavam Ze'evi, he was well outside the pale and grossly harmful for the public good.

I sometimes wonder about the singularity - is the fact that we don't have this type of positive feedback (at least not at a grossly accellerated pace) between programming power and programming tools a potential reason to doubt the eventuality of the event?

Anyhow, I guess I'll head home and go for a walk or jog in the woods.