Saturday, December 17, 2005

What you get is what you create

I think that as pressure to ease our consumist tendencies increase, the overall quality of whatever pacifier we choose decreases.

Evidently, the pacifier companies want to sell more than they want to be helpful. This is because their own pacifier is money. Since we cannot do with a single pacifier for more than a relatively short period of time, then the quality of pacifiers past that critical time window is pointless. Consumers, addicted to pacifier-like substances, will buy another pacifier anyway.

Therefore, in general it seems that we have the expectation that we will stop using things rather sooner than later. Our possessions become our toilet paper. When manufacturers figure that out, they cut costs further by not designing their products to last. And therefore if someone comes along and actually demands quality, fine: sell them a multi-year extended warranty (which now looks like a repair warrant). Other than that, consumers will just go and get another one because they just can't help themselves, so quality does not matter.

I remember disgusting instances of this behavior that goes largely unpunished. Among my favorite examples, there is the Ford Focus 1999, which in its first year was recalled 11 times. One of those recalls addressed the issue of the car bursting into flames for no reason whatsoever.

I also believe that we consume much more than just things. In our lack of education, unable to think for ourselves, we also consume our own inner peace in terms of statements that we desperately want to believe in spite of any and all evidence against them, such as:

  • This rather ancient book says the world was created out of thin air less than 10 thousand years ago. Since I like the book even when it does not provide any proof for its assertions, thousands of years of scientific investigation must be made illegal because I do not like their conclusions. I know Truth, I am Truth, and therefore anybody that I disagree with must be wrong.
  • Clearly I am not going to hell, and therefore I have the moral right, privilege and obligation to persecute gay people because clearly they are going to hell. I have the power to force people to conform to my own image.
  • Poor people are poor because they want to, and as such they do not deserve assistance. I have the power to decide who is valuable and who is not. I help pruning the worthless people off the face of Earth.
  • I feel threatened, therefore I shoot. I have the power to decide who lives and who does not.
If someone came over talking like the italicized text, how long would it take for you to evaluate the individual as a psychopath?

I think that, in part, this kind of stuff happens because of our so-called education and cultural context. One way or another, we end up so deeply addicted to things that come from our environment that we completely dismiss the idea of creating something on our own. We want to live in the Matrix. We do not evaluate things like self in our mind, and we become a long procedural mess, full of inconsistencies, bugs and atrocities we tenaciously refuse to debug*.

This state of mind prevents us from realizing how valuable our own lives can be in terms of what we can create for ourselves. Thus, we do not give a rat's ass about anybody or anything either.

We suck.

*Note how closely this mimicks the situation of most software projects.

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