robertogreco + millsbaker   27

— some news
"The meaning-making machinery of the mind is, like life itself, grotesquely ceaseless, operating at normal speed in times of trauma. But resisting the drive to “redeem horror by transforming it into existential wisdom” —in Kundera’s words— seems appropriate, because part of mourning is refusing to accept that a loss can be redeemed. (Although I will accept that, too, eventually)."



"I spend a little while every day now on the phone with lawyers, or people at the coroner’s office, or other officials who balance their bedside manner against the need for efficient processing of such messes. Our friends have been deeply supportive, of course; everyone has, and this is very often so in periods of anguish. It’s all very moving and complicating; it changes the way the world looks and feels to be reminded intimately of the comings-and-goings of persons just like oneself, full and irreducible and now never to be understood; and all the people surrounding them, bearing grief and distracted from the rhythms of life by bereavement, fear, pain; and then all those around them, supporting them and helping, giving time and attention and so on. Anyway I know everyone knows these feelings, but right now, they partly suffuse our lives, even as our lives begin to go on and we find happiness again in the usual minutiae, are carried along like everyone else by time away from the excruciating moment."
death  mourning  millsbaker  2015  milankundera  meaningmaking  life  living  happiness  grief  bereavement  fear  pain  dying  mortality 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Meta is Murder - Mills Baker's Internet Haus of Cards
"There’s enormous and increasing pressure on humans to achieve reach in their ideas, designs, morals, and policies. Despite having evolved in small groups with small-group habits of cognition and emotion, we now live in a global group and must coordinate hugely complex societies. The problems we face are problems at scale. Thus: reach is mandatory. A taxation, software design, or criminal justice solution that cannot be deployed at scale isn’t useful to us anymore; indeed, even opinions must scale up. For personal, political, governmental, commercial, literary, expediency-oriented, and many other reasons, we must have solutions that work for more human (H) units / instances, and H is always increasing (even as every sub-member of H is determined to be respected according to her or his unpredictable inimitability, range of action, moral agency, autonomy, freedom, etc.).

This pressure often inclines people to accept induction- or correlation-based models or ideas, which are inaccurate to varyingly significant degrees, in lieu of explanatory models. That is: in many situations, we’ll accept aggregates, groups, central plans, reductions, otherings, dehumanizations, short-hand-symbols, and so on because (1) they serve our ends, sometimes without any costs or (2) we have nothing else. In order to have explanations with reach in areas where we have no models, we commit philosophical fraud: we transact with elements and dynamics we cannot predict or understand and we hope for the best (better, it seems, than admitting that “I don’t know”). How we talk about speculative models, reductive schema, and plural entities —peoples, companies, generations, professions, events even— reveals a lot about how much we care for epistemological accuracy. And not caring about it is a kind of brutality; it means we don’t care what happens to the lives inaccurately described, not captured by our model, not helped by our policies, unaided by our designs, not included in our normative plan.

In politics, design, art, philosophy, and even ordinary daily thinking, being consciously aware of this tension, and of the pressure to exchange accuracy for reach, is as important as recognizing the difference between “guessing” and “knowing.” Otherwise, one is likely to adopt ideas with reach without recognizing the increased risk of inaccuracy that comes with it. One will be tempted to ignore the risk even if one knows it, tempted by how nice it is to have tidy conceptions of good and evil, friend and foe, progress and failure.

Reach is innately personally pleasing in part because it privileges the knower, whose single thought describes thousands or millions of people, whose simple position circumscribes civilization’s evolution, the history of religion, the nature of economics, the meaning of life. Exceptions be damned! But in general, if an idea has significant reach, it must be backed by an explanatory model or it will either be too vague or too inaccurate to be useful. And if it’s a political or moral idea, the innocent exceptions will be damned along with the guilty. Hence the immorality of reduction, othering, and inaccurate ideas whose reach makes them popular."
millsbaker  internet  scale  small  2014  politics  design  technology  reach  accuracy  knowing  guessing  induction  correlation  economics  globalization  dehumanization  othering  centralization  systems  systemsthinking  autonomy  freedom  agency  inimitability  notknowing  caring  progress  epistemology  thinking 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Meta is Murder - Mills Baker's Internet Haus of Cards
"One such principle is well phrased by Marilynne Robinson in her essay “When I was a Child,” in her collection When I Was a Child I Read Books:
"It may be mere historical conditioning, but when I see a man or a woman alone, he or she looks mysterious to me, which is only to say that for a moment I see another human being clearly."

The idea that a human seen clearly is a mystery is anathema to a culture of judgment —such as ours— which rests on a simple premise: humans can be understood by means of simple schema that map their beliefs or actions to moral categories. Moreover, because there are usually relatively few of these categories, and few important issues of discernment —our range of political concerns being startlingly narrow, after all— humans can be understood and judged at high speed in large, generalized groups: Democrats, Republicans, women, men, people of color, whites, Muslims, Christians, the rich, the poor, Generation X, millennials, Baby Boomers, and so on.

It should but does not go without saying that none of those terms describes anything with sufficient precision to support the kinds of observations people flatter themselves making. Generalization is rarely sound. No serious analysis, no serious effort to understand, describe, or change anything can contain much generalization, as every aggregation of persons introduces error. One can hardly describe a person in full, let alone a family, a city, a class, a state, a race. Yet we persist in doing so, myself included."



"One of the very best things Nietzsche ever wrote:
"The will to a system is a lack of integrity."

But to systematize is our first reaction to life in a society of scale, and our first experiment as literate or educated or even just “grown-up” persons with powers of apprehension, cogitation, and rhetoric. What would a person be online if he lacked a system in which phenomena could be traced to the constellation of ideas which constituted his firmament? What is life but the daily diagnosis of this or that bit of news as “yet another example of” an overarching system of absolutely correct beliefs? To have a system is proof of one’s seriousness, it seems —our profiles so often little lists of what we “believe,” or what we “are”— and we coalesce around our systems of thought just as our parents did around their political parties, though we of course consider ourselves mere rationalists following the evidence. Not surprisingly, the evidence always leads to the conclusion that many people in the world are horrible, stupid, even evil; and we are smart, wise, and good. It should be amusing, but it is not.

I hate this because I am doing this right now. I detest generalization because when I scan Twitter I generalize about what I see: “people today,” or “our generation,” I think, even though the people of today are as all people always have been, even though they are all just like me. I resent their judgments because I feel reduced by them and feel reality is reduced, so I reduce them with my own judgments: shallow thinkers who lack, I mutter, the integrity not to systematize. And I put fingers to keys to note this system of analysis, lacking all integrity, mocking my very position.

I want to maintain my capacity to view each as a mystery, as a human in full, whose interiority I cannot know. I want not to be full of hatred, so I seek to confess that my hatred is self-hatred: shame at the state of my intellectual reactivity and decay. I worry deeply that our systematizing is inevitable because when we are online we are in public: that these fora mandate performance, and worse, the kind of performance that asserts its naturalness, like the grotesquely beautiful actor who says, "Oh, me? I just roll out of bed in the morning and wear whatever I find lying about" as he smiles a smile so practiced it could calibrate the atomic clock. Every online utterance is an angling for approval; we write in the style of speeches: exhorting an audience, haranguing enemies, lauding the choir. People “remind” no one in particular of the correct ways to think, the correct opinions to hold. When I see us speaking like op-ed columnists, I feel embarrassed: it is like watching a lunatic relative address passers-by using the “royal we,” and, I feel, it is pitifully imitative. Whom are we imitating? Those who live in public: politicians, celebrities, “personalities.”

There is no honesty without privacy, and privacy is not being forbidden so much as rendered irrelevant; privacy is an invented concept, after all, and like all inventions must contend with waves of successive technologies or be made obsolete. The basis of privacy is the idea that judgment should pertain only to public acts —acts involving other persons and society— and not the interior spaces of the self. Society has no right to judge one’s mind; society hasn’t even the right to inquire about one’s mind. The ballot is secret; one cannot be compelled to testify or even talk in our criminal justice system; there can be no penalty for being oneself, however odious we may find given selves or whole (imagined) classes of selves.

This very radical idea has an epistemological basis, not a purely moral one: the self is a mystery. Every self is a mystery. You cannot know what someone really is, what they are capable of, what transformations of belief or character they might undergo, in what their identity consists, what they’ve inherited or appropriated, what they’ll abandon or reconsider; you cannot say when a person is who she is, at what point the “real” person exists or when a person’s journey through selves has stopped. A person is not, we all know, his appearance; but do we all know that she is not her job? Or even her politics?

But totalizing rationalism is emphatic: either something is known or it is irrelevant. Thus: the mystery of the self is a myth; there is no mystery at all. A self is valid or invalid, useful or not, correct or incorrect, and if someone is sufficiently different from you, if their beliefs are sufficiently opposed to yours, their way of life alien enough, they are to be judged and detested. Everyone is a known quantity; simply look at their Twitter bio and despise.

But this is nonsense. In truth, the only intellectually defensible posture is one of humility: all beliefs are misconceptions; all knowledge is contingent, temporary, erroneous; and no self is knowable, not truly, not to another. We can perhaps sense this in ourselves —although I worry that many of us are too happy to brag about our conformity to this or that scheme or judgment, to use labels that honor us as though we’ve earned ourselves rather than chancing into them— but we forget that this is true of every single other, too. This forgetting is the first step of the so-called othering process: forget that we are bound together in irreducibility, forget that we ought to be humble in all things, and especially in our judgments of one another.

Robinson once more:
"Only lonesomeness allows one to experience this sort of radical singularity, one’s greatest dignity and privilege."

Lonesomeness is what we’re all fleeing at the greatest possible speed, what our media now concern themselves chiefly with eliminating alongside leisure. We thus forget our radical singularity, a personal tragedy, an erasure, a hollowing-out, and likewise the singularity of others, which is a tragedy more social and political in nature, and one which seems to me truly and literally horrifying. Because more than any shared “belief system” or political pose, it is the shared experience of radical singularity that unites us: the shared experience of inimitability and mortality. Anything which countermands our duty to recognize and honor the human in the other is a kind of evil, however just its original intention."
millsbaker  canon  self  reality  empathy  humility  howwethink  2014  generalizations  morality  nietzsche  integrity  marilynnerobinson  mystery  grace  privacy  categorization  pigeonholingsingularity  lonesomeness  loneliness  leisure  artleisure  leisurearts  beliefs  belief  inimitability  humanism  judgement  familiarity  understanding 
august 2014 by robertogreco
— this is probably stupid, but: given Twitter’s new...
"this is probably stupid, but: given Twitter’s new mute functionality, which follows Facebook’s addition of the same, it seems clear that

• individual user control over feed content is now more important to networks than maintaining the integrity of metaphors like “friends” and “following”; you can now follow someone without seeing anything they post, and be friends with someone whose life is never in your feed

• "following" in particular seems to have no meaning at all, indicating only that "one time I pressed ‘Follow’ but may or may not see your tweets," while being "friends" can actually include "I hate you so much that if I see your face ever again I will hate Facebook and engage with it less"

• our feelings are sensitive enough that services want to prevent, at any cost, the “bad experience” of being unfollowed or defriended, and now provide the consequences of doing those things but by a harmless proxy.

my question for the smarties out there is this: why not just make whom you follow invisible to everyone but you? if it no longer means anything, why not make it invisible? then you don’t need these additional abstraction layers to hide your effective unfollowing/defriending; it just never comes up at all.

on Quora, it’s not obvious how to tell whether someone is following you; you can’t easily tell when someone unfollows you, and they can’t tell if you do easily either. as a result, the whole “symmetrical follow” thing is way less common / important on Quora; often, someone follows you and you don’t even get a notification! this radically deemphasizes the symmetry of standard “friendly interactions” and makes etiquette less palpably a part of what happens; you tend to be more honest; you follow people whose questions and answers you like, and you don’t resent or consider heavily whether they follow you.

if every network is going to start having two layers of following/friending —the publicly declared layer and then the muting/hiding from feed layer, where the reality of it remains private— why not just abandon the phony layer entirely?

you could still see how many followers you have, how many someone else has, but seeing individual relationships could be much harder or impossible. why isn’t that done? what am I missing? does it help engagement to have the phony layer where people can be social / work out their social needs, even though it’s meaningless?"
twitter  facebook  socialmedia  muting  millsbaker  following  2014 
may 2014 by robertogreco
18. Webstock 2014 Talk Notes and References - postarchitectural
[Direct link to video: https://vimeo.com/91957759 ]
[See also: http://www.webstock.org.nz/talks/the-future-happens-so-much/ ]

"I was honored to be invited to Webstock 2014 to speak, and decided to use it as an opportunity to talk about startups and growth in general.

I prepared for this talk by collecting links, notes, and references in a flat text file, like I did for Eyeo and Visualized. These references are vaguely sorted into the structure of the talk. Roughly, I tried to talk about the future happening all around us, the startup ecosystem and the pressures for growth that got us there, and the dangerous sides of it both at an individual and a corporate level. I ended by talking about ways for us as a community to intervene in these systems of growth.

The framework of finding places to intervene comes from Leverage Points by Donella Meadows, and I was trying to apply the idea of 'monstrous thoughts' from Just Asking by David Foster Wallace. And though what I was trying to get across is much better said and felt through books like Seeing like a State, Debt, or Arctic Dreams, here's what was in my head."
shahwang  2014  webstock  donellameadows  jamescscott  seeinglikeastate  davidgraeber  debt  economics  barrylopez  trevorpaglen  google  technology  prism  robotics  robots  surveillance  systemsthinking  growth  finance  venturecapital  maciejceglowski  millsbaker  mandybrown  danhon  advertising  meritocracy  democracy  snapchat  capitalism  infrastructure  internet  web  future  irrationalexuberance  github  geopffmanaugh  corproratism  shareholders  oligopoly  oligarchy  fredscharmen  kenmcleod  ianbanks  eleanorsaitta  quinnorton  adamgreenfield  marshallbrain  politics  edwardsnowden  davidsimon  georgepacker  nicolefenton  power  responsibility  davidfosterwallace  christinaxu  money  adamcurtis  dmytrikleiner  charlieloyd  wealth  risk  sarahkendxior  markjacobson  anildash  rebeccasolnit  russellbrand  louisck  caseygollan  alexpayne  judsontrue  jamesdarling  jenlowe  wilsonminer  kierkegaard  readinglist  startups  kiev  systems  control  data  resistance  obligation  care  cynicism  snark  change  changetheory  neoliberalism  intervention  leveragepoints  engagement  nonprofit  changemaki 
april 2014 by robertogreco
Millsin' About - For those interested in 'Upstream Color'
After he saw it, my father and I discussed its possible meanings; I’d already written that I considered it likely that the movie explored ideas about religion, and specifically to our changing relationship with it. He pointed out something I cannot believe I haven’t read anywhere in analyses of the film: the story of Jesus and the demon(s) called Legion in the synoptic gospels (that is: Matthew, Mark, and Luke):
upstreamcolor  pigs  millsbaker  bible  2013 
july 2013 by robertogreco
Millsin' About
"The shame of it all is that I know that even as I whine about how awful I am, my awfulness is far, far worse for others, practically, than it is for me; I damage others, interfere with their happiness, complicate their lives. I am not “good”; it is not “good” to know me, to have me in your life. But my narcissism is such that all I think of is how hard it is to be bad, how much I hate not being good, how much I wish I were a good part of peoples’ lives. The self-centeredness of it all is nauseating, and I am nauseated, but I’ve been nauseated since Thursday: so what. For how long does one treat one’s nature as a crisis? A crisis cannot last forever."
millsbaker  psychology  dogs  animals  life  living  self  narcissism  relationships  2013  awfulness  goodness  bipolardisorder 
may 2013 by robertogreco
Meta is Murder. Writing and lesser things by Mills Baker. My mother doesn’t care for mother’s day, dislikes....
"My mother doesn’t care for mother’s day, dislikes its manufactured manipulation of sentiment; she asks us not to do anything commercial for the occasion, so this is all I’ll do: post these photos of her and note, only half-knowing what I mean, that the older I get the harder it is to think of her without falling all the way into the deepest parts of my own heart. I am not becoming her equal as I age; she constitutes the sky under which I grow, the sky whose scope exceeds the terrestrial horizons which limit my own vision, the sky beyond the mountains and above the clouds, the sky which surrounds the earth. I am thirty-two years old and I love her."
millsbaker  parenting  2013  mother'sday  perspective  love  emotions  expanse 
may 2013 by robertogreco
Meta is Murder. Writing and lesser things by Mills Baker. Look at the masterpiece, and not at the frame —....
Look at the masterpiece, and not at the frame — and not at the faces of other people looking at the frame.

"Vladimir Nabokov in his lectures on Russian literature, opposing the primary type of academic and popular criticism: what we might call the demographic-reactive type. The overwhelming majority of opinion derives less from any internal response to a work of art (or political idea or cultural trend) than from what sorts of reactions we imagine on other faces looking at the frame, as it were.

If we’re observant, we see that when we encounter something we have often hardly finished perceiving it when we begin to imagine how others might react, and how still others would react to that reaction, and only at last do we begin to react according to our own demographic allegiances or resentments. We carry our friends, but still more our enemies, with us in every judgment."
millsbaker  judgement  bias  criticism  2013  trends  self  allegiances  reactions  internet  opinions  opinion  frame  framing  selfhood  theself  performance  witoldgombrowicz  vladimirnabokov  swarming  flocking  hivemind 
march 2013 by robertogreco
The Charisma of Steve Jobs - Meta is Murder - Quora
[Cross-posted here: http://metaismurder.com/post/44155254813/the-charisma-of-leaders ]

"William James identifies the union of "conscience" and "will" in leaders as one of their defining attributes in The Varieties of Religious Experience. To say that their conscience and their will are identical is to say that their values, their morality, their meaning-systems are in harmony with their their daily volition, their constant intentionality.

For most of us, this is not so: there is a frustrating gap between them, such that we're not in accord with our own values, no matter how badly we wish to be; our moral commitments are overwhelmed routinely, and our behavior subverts, distracts, and disappoints us. Perhaps we accept a remunerative job rather than dedicating our lives to what we feel is most important; or we pursue the important, but we get sleepy and head home from the office earlier than we suspect we should; we call in sick when we're perfectly well. We are not as dedicated in friendship as we aspire to be; we grow irritated by what we know is superficial, meaningless; and so on ad nauseum. Because this is one of the defining qualities of human life, examples abound and more are likely unneeded."

"In an age in which religious values are, even by the religious, not considered sufficient for a turn from society —an age of "the cross in the ballpark," as Paul Simon says, of churches that promise "the rich life," of believers who look in disgust at the instantiation of their religions' values— the leader emerges as our most prominent solution to the problem of meaning. She is the embodiment of values and an agent of their transformative influence on the world. She has the energy of purpose, the dedication of the saint but remains within the world, and often improves it."

"The toll leaders take is fearsome, but we admire them for using us up: better to be used, after all, than useless. This is why those who worked for Jobs so often cannot even begin to justify how he reduced so-and-so to tears, how he stole this or that bit of credit, how he crushed a former friend whom in his paranoia he suspected of disloyalty, and they scarcely care. What we admire about saints and leaders is not solely the values they exemplify but the totality with which they exemplify them, a totality alien to all of us whose lives are balanced between poles of conformity and dedication, commitment and restlessness."
georgebernardshaw  stevejobs  millsbaker  2013  paulsimon  vision  values  purpose  williamjames  will  work  conformity  dedication  commitment  restlessness 
january 2013 by robertogreco
Millsin' About [On Ricky Gervais's "Dear Religion… Yours, Science" tweet.]
"“Religion” isn’t a person; “Science” isn’t a person, and it especially isn’t a snarky person who believes in a specious, facile, tit-for-tat reckoning of evils and goods, since —after all— it is science which gives us the laser-guided missile, the atomic bomb, the crematoria gases, the bombers. It was indeed science’s race for ways to kill that gave us NASA —far more important than Neil deGrasse Tyson or even Neil Armstrong is Werner Braun— but the point is that this is not a methodologically sound analysis."

"But here’s the shit of it: the real basis of most of the mass violence in human history is something even more ubiquitous than religion. It is political-categorical thinking: the subsuming of humans into groups, the stripping from these groups of their “humanity,” the development of oppositional and “othering” rhetoric, etc. etc."
humor  antagonism  belief  thisandthat  rhetoric  humanism  rationalism  materialists  violence  neilarmstrong  neildegrassetyson  generalization  generalizations  grouping  snark  science  religion  rickygervais  2012  millsbaker 
october 2012 by robertogreco
Millsin' About - Why do we pay attention to political campaigns?
"Has anyone with real political sensibilities ever been affected by a campaign or its media wake? Are you going to change your vote? If not, why are you reading about the campaign?… To see what “other Americans” are seeing? To make sure that if something untoward is said, you will be ready with appropriate indignation on behalf of your team? Do you worry that if you don’t pay attention to your candidate, he will vanish? Why do we fill our minds, lives with the chatter of these distant soap stars, these feuding celebrities, these mediated heroes and villains? Why do we give ourselves to all this, when we all know whom we support, all know whom we want to win, all know which policies we think are best?

The compromise between committed action & unattached awareness is agitated, inconsequential attention. Imagine how many minds are filled with thoughts of Mitt Romney & Barack Obama & the imaginary values they seem to represent, while all that is actually important in life fades."
energy  attention  time  life  wastedtime  wastedenergy  mindchanging  mindchanges  campaigns  politicalcampaigns  2012  politics  millsbaker  from delicious
september 2012 by robertogreco
Meta is Murder. Writing and lesser things by Mills Baker. Gombrowicz on Art and Artificiality.
“This is not the first time that the face of art has irritated me by extinguishing the faces of the living.”

“I demand of art not only that it be good art, but also that it be well rooted in life.”

"He says: I admire. I say: You are trying to admire. A slight difference, yet on this slight difference is built a mountain of devout lies. It is in this deceitful school that style is formed. Not just artistic style, but the style of thinking and feeling of the elite which comes here in order to perfect its sensitivity and achieve a sureness of form."

[More from Mills Baker on Gombrowicz:

http://nomore.metaismurder.com/post/28636852893/witold-rita-and-their-dog-listen-everyone-im

http://nomore.metaismurder.com/post/28637151593/should-be-more-widely-read-than-pretty-much-all

http://metaismurder.com/tagged/Witold-Gombrowicz ]
artificiality  stupidity  thinking  spectatorship  appreciation  glvo  millsbaker  witoldgombrowicz  galleries  museums  elitism  leisurearts  art  artleisure  from delicious
august 2012 by robertogreco
Millsin' About - Judgement and Understanding
"I have been engaged in a relentless and imbecilic campaign of judgement for weeks or months, despising so much, holding so much in contempt. But why? I am not a pessimist; I see irrefutable evidence that things —all things— are improving, and that the persistent improvement of the human experience (and more) is the result not of criticism and detestation but of their opposites.

Moreover: happiness does not come from indignation —the most fruitless of all feelings— but from understanding. Happiness and progress alike come from love, so to speak —although I find that word hard to bear, sometimes, for the same reasons as everyone else— and all this contempt and whatnot is only wounding me, making me ignorant, making me stupid and cruel and miserable.

…the opposite of understanding is not ignorance, which is merely an open field, receptive to rain and sun alike; the opposite of understanding is judgment, which precludes understanding, deludes us into thinking we do understand…"
wisdom  life  living  contempt  detestation  criticism  humanexperience  humans  improvement  well-being  happiness  indignation  2012  cv  judgement  understanding  millsbaker  from delicious
july 2012 by robertogreco
Millsin' About
"Using the Internet a great deal gives me, over time, the sense that I am rarely or never focusing my eyes in the real world: I am either looking at a screen, or my eyes are just a bit defocused, inattentive. I do not notice textures, colors, details in my environment; I take things in categorically, rather than as they are: jacket (not the details of the jacket); table (not what’s on it).

It is especially notable in its effect on memory: my memories seem more schematic than ever, more like summaries than records of perception. This seems like the habituated result of lots of textual Internet living. I note what happens, but as a tag or a description, not as actual sensory data. I mean: I’m not seeing, not looking. My eyes aren’t targeting anything; my life is in my mind, and it’s blurry and unmemorable."
attention  color  texture  brain  mind  sensorydeprivation  sensory  text  mechanization  internet  online  senses  2012  millsbaker  memory 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Millsin' About
"A senior editor and columnist for the BBC Music Magazine disliked his experiences with religion and religious people as a youth, as many an English boy has done. He became and remained an atheist. And he always found little to like in Bruckner.

Then one day, listening to one of the late symphonies performed in concert, to his surprise he found himself transported. He could not associate the emotion with anything but religious belief and wrote that he began to wonder if he had not ever really understood religion.

This is an anecdote.

— Dad."
sensemaking  emotions  bruckner  2012  atheism  anecdote  belief  anecdotes  religion  millsbaker 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Millsin' About
[on Evening Edition http://evening-edition.com/ ]

"In other words: stay at your “hyper-connected pieces of glass” (awful, stupid phrase) for long enough to entertain this dick’s attempt to fix journalism with a fucking newsletter on the web (and then to follow him on TWITTER, FAST WEB STYLE), but then step away and go get some artisanal whatever in your cool shirt, you jerk.

What kind of myopia could make this seem interesting? What I hate most about this tech scene: the cronyism. If Yahoo launched this, it would be LOL City, but because it’s a twat Gruber likes (part of the Twat x Twat network of Twatcasting or whatever), we have to pretend this is real?"
twatcasting  cronyism  yahoo  design  muledesign  daringfireball  johngruber  2012  millsbaker  eveningedition  from delicious
july 2012 by robertogreco
Aporia. Writing and lesser things by Mills Baker. Friendship.
"1. Before real friendship comes lucid self-awareness…

2. But we do not deserve the consolations of friendship if they are based on misrepresented or misunderstood expressions of selfhood…[or] secret needs…

3. Know yourself or know none, know nothing, disappear…high school as I remember it was mostly the exchange of blinded and unarticulated selves for approximations of friendship…

4. …it is necessary to be mercilessly ‘objective,’…with oneself: do not admit into evidence subjectively sympathetic excuses, do not contextualize one’s own actions with justificatory narratives…be endlessly ‘subjective,’ again so to speak, with others: imagine anything and everything one can to excuse them, explain them, understand and love them…

5. When I have been lonely, I have thought of myself subjectively and others objectively. This is the only real means to the self-pity which defines loneliness: to think of oneself as the world…

6. Friendship is something one exercises, like compassion; it is a solitary choice, requiring the approval or affection of no one at all. Every desire which seeks a psychological state as its result should be suspected of superficiality at least, but in the case of those who seek friendship as an antidote to loneliness, it is not merely a vice but a countermanding of what’s sought. One is not a friend, of course, when one’s friends are means to an end: means to escape solitude, tools rather than accomplices.

(To consider: “Friendship should be a gratuitous joy like those afforded by art or life.” What sort of joys are those? What does it mean that they’re gratuitous?)."
listening  understanding  grace  simoneweil  2012  wisdom  happiness  relationships  selflessness  love  highschool  loneliness  friendship  millsbaker  from delicious
june 2012 by robertogreco
Aporia. Writing and lesser things by Mills Baker. Objectivity and Art.
"This process is progressive: science gets better and better, even though it is purely the creation of “subjective” human conjecture —imagination— tested against reality for utility…

All of which is to say: artists are natural technologists. Historically, they’ve pursued the newest and best techniques, materials, and forms. When the methodology for achieving perspective became clear, few resisted it on the basis of a calcified iconographic style considered to be “high art,” or if some did they’ve been suitably forgotten. And had new inks, better canvases, or some unimaginable invention given superior means to the impressionists to capture washes of light and mood —like, say, film— they’d have used whatever was available. The purpose of painting isn’t paint, after all; nor is the purpose of writing a book…

Perhaps we are transitioning from artists-as-depictors and artists-as-catalyzers to artists-as-world-makers…"
théodoregéricault  alberteinstein  daviddeutsch  isaacnewton  designasart  meaningmaking  meaning  universality  hildegardofbingen  michelangelo  abbotsuger  erwinschrödinger  qualia  cilewis  temporality  virtualization  control  reality  chauvetcave  epistemology  knowledge  misconceptions  objectivity  karlpopper  philosophy  experience  huamns  human  humanexperience  progress  catalysis  making  writing  2012  worldcreating  worldbuilding  worldmaking  highart  technology  design  humans  subjectivity  glvo  perception  color  science  millsbaker  from delicious
may 2012 by robertogreco
Aporia. Writing and lesser things by Mills Baker. Capitalism has been the first to show what man’s....
"Of course, one errs if one denies that she might also develop any number of manifestly necessary, vital, life-saving and life-improving ideas; even Marx could not deny that it was, after all, this system which has at last shown “what man’s activity can bring about.” It is only a matter of considering the basis of our youth culture: it is not any axiom or principle we’ve discerned through the millennia, nor any scientific theory which supports the infantilization of culture and the empowerment of youth. It is capitalism’s constant revolutions which empower the young, separate them from their forbears, given them their unearned sense of historical apotheosis, and relegate tradition- or elder-based phenomena like “wisdom” to the margins of culture."
politicaldiscourse  policy  politics  change  culture  youthculture  johnlancaster  humanity  progress  ageism  aging  youth  kakistocracy  society  innovation  2012  generations  revolution  capitalism  karlmarx  millsbaker  from delicious
april 2012 by robertogreco
The Aporeticus - by Mills Baker · I have often thought that the nature of science...
"I have often thought that the nature of science would be better understood if we called theories “misconceptions” from the outset, instead of only after we have discovered their successors. Thus we could say that Einstein’s Misconception of Gravity was an improvement on Newton’s Misconception, which was an improvement on Kepler’s. The neo-Darwinian Misconception of Evolution is an improvement on Darwin’s Misconception, and his on Lamarck’s… Science claims neither infallibility nor finality."

David Deutsch…in The Beginning of Infinity…demonstrates that although we will, barring extinction, continue to refine & improve our knowledge infinitely, we will also never stop being able to improve it. Thus we will always live w/ fallible scientific understanding (& fallible moral theories, fallible aesthetic ideas, fallible philosophical notions, etc.); it is the nature of the relationship between knowledge, mind, & universe.

But it remains odd to say: everything I know is a misconception."
sensemaking  understanding  scientificunderstanding  fallibility  universe  mind  2012  millsbaker  philosophy  karlpopper  darwin  chalresdarwin  alberteinstein  theories  knowledge  whatweknow  misconception  science  daviddeutsch  philosopy  charlesdarwin 
february 2012 by robertogreco
Twitter / @millsbaker: Information is ineffectual ...
"Information is ineffectual; news of all sorts is noise. Focus, attention, discretion: these are radical."
2012  discretion  distraction  millsbaker  attention  focus  noise  news  information  from delicious
february 2012 by robertogreco
The Aporeticus - by Mills Baker · Design & Compromise [So much more within, read the whole thing and the comments too.]
"…why does compromise have its “undeservedly high reputation”?…b/c we are discomfited by philosophical implications of fact that some ideas are objectively better. We exempt science from our contemporary anxieties because its benefits are too explicit to deny, but in most creative fields we are no longer capable of accepting the superiority of some solutions to others; unable to sustain confidence in soundness of artistic problem-solving process, we will not provoke interpersonal/organizational conflict for sake of mere ideas.

This sad, mistaken epistemological cowardice turns competing hypotheses into groundless, subjective opinions, & reasonable course of action when managing conflicting, groundless opinions…is to compromise, because there is no better answer.

But the creative arts are not so subjective as we tend to think, which is why a talented, dictatorial auteur will produce better work than polls, fcus groups, or hundreds of compromising committees."
creativecontrol  dictatorship  dictators  dictatorialcreativity  violence  stevejobs  wateringdown  choice  debate  persuasion  2011  waste  stagnation  innovation  creativity  madetofail  setupforfailure  problemsolving  hypotheses  brokenbydesignprocess  democracy  control  procedure  process  inferiority  superiority  average  averages  means  politics  policy  howwework  meetings  committees  mediocrity  epistemology  philosophy  authoritarianism  cowardice  ideas  science  art  design  millsbaker  compromise 
january 2012 by robertogreco
The Aporeticus - by Mills Baker · [We have forgotten] leisure as “non-activity” —an...
"And as networks extend their influence, it is ever-harder to experience real repose, the deep communion with reality that produces authentic meaning and enduring culture. We live in a de-cultured culture, subsumed beneath an avalanche of transitory, ephemeral, temporary meanings, soon to be buried by new posts, new photographs, new digital artifacts of those acquisitive, performative “leisure activities” which are now the primary source of meaning in our lives…

Even if one prefers the dynamic, competitive, addictive, temporary cultures of portrayal and enactment that prevail now, it is hard to imagine life without even the possibility of repose. Yet it is harder still to imagine how such repose could ever be possible without the sort of radical disconnection from the expanding technopoly which, perversely, is considered a turning-away from the world, rather than a return to it."
markets  technology  online  media  consumption  content  happiness  joy  interiority  understanding  stillness  non-activity  josefpieper  utilitarianism  materialsm  theessential  ephemeral  philosophy  living  life  purpose  meaning  marxism  technolopoly  neilpostman  competition  society  web  internet  mediation  culture  selfhood  boredom  idleness  productivity  leisure  leisurearts  2011  millsbaker  ephemerality  artleisure  from delicious
january 2012 by robertogreco
The Aporeticus - by Mills Baker · How to Listen to Jazz
"…part of life is finding new things to love and new ways to love things more deeply, and understanding the creative arts —their scope, history, contemporary contexts, intentionality— opens them up for ever-deeper appreciation. But the most obvious way to learn an art is to become a practitioner of that art, a time-consuming and difficult task, and one impossible to pursue across all fields.

Fields that make such demands have a high barrier to audience entry.

…when I talk to people who find jazz musically intimidating, or unintelligible in its refusal to be as repetitive as popular music, I sometimes tell them to try to hear in the solos little musical structures, any one of which could be a song in itself, but each of which is built, explored, and discarded with breakneck speed. Popular music relies on the ecstasy of trance: repetition of what resonates. Jazz relies more on restless exploration."
millsbaker  jazz  music  appreciation  listening  learning  understanding  audience  2011  exploration  trance  repetition  craft  intentionality  from delicious
december 2011 by robertogreco
The Aporeticus - by Mills Baker · A Problem with Path
"Path believes that it can make performative, broadcast behavior intimate.

That is: by limiting the number of connections, but shaping their nature, by imbuing the entirety of their product with a substantiality and a quality that emphasizes real human engagement, they can create an intimate network.

But there can be no such thing; real intimacy can never, ever be broadcast. It must be either one-to-one or one-off."

"…rather than email our wedding invitations, we make use of ludicrously anachronistic methods in obedience not solely to tradition, but to this principle: efficiency is the enemy of intimacy.

Path is an incredibly easy way to efficiently share life’s moments with your closest friends and family in a centralized way, and for that reason it subverts its own premise, which always makes me sad; it’s beautiful work in service to a flawed idea. Any broadcast is inauthentic; a general audience kills intimacy; there is no such thing as a static social network of quality."
path  intimacy  audiencesofone  millsbaker  communication  relationships  sharing  gifts  giftgiving  2011  audience  cv  from delicious
december 2011 by robertogreco
The Aporeticus - by Mills Baker · It is along this line that your life passes: all...
"Nostalgia is the admixture of sentiment and sorrow that we feel as we begin to see how a memory fades; it is provoked by the sudden awareness of the rate of decay of a memory, and is as bittersweet as the last encounter with someone dying."

"If so, you might express the situation thusly: a memory induces nostalgia when it is X% decayed. You might then note that for different people, or for people at different stages of their lives, this number X varies; it might reflect not a static number but a relative proportion of time elapsed in one’s life to time elapsed since the memory in question; given their personal habits of memory, people might fall into separate categories, categories about which the field of existential mathematics would presumably have much to assert."

[See the comments too.]

[via: http://bettyann.tumblr.com/post/10254412739 ]
memory  nostalgia  saudade  millsbaker  memories  2011  experience  forgetting  from delicious
september 2011 by robertogreco

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