Archive for category Society

This Tech Bubble Is Different

I realize I found this a little bit late, but I think this article is still worth mentioning.

I found this quite interesting:

“If instead of pointing their incredible infrastructure at making people click on ads,” he likes to ask, “they pointed it at great unsolved problems in science, how would the world be different today?”

While the algorithms involved may be applied in other areas, I think the endeavor itself contributes nothing to society. Personally, I would find it disturbing to reflect on life and to realize that I made my living on figuring out how to make people click on ads.

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I encountered some of Kierkegaard’s writings on authenticity in philosophy class (which happens to be nearing its end). It struck me as very refreshing and unique, in contrast to the typical status quo present in society. Essentially what Kierkegaard prescribes is action that is true to our personal desires — desires which, ideally, spring from very individualistic, and, as a result, noncrowd-like thinking (“the crowd is untruth”).

In his day, Kierkegaard used the example of industrial workers, stripped of their individuality, working as mere cogs in a machine, doing essentially meaningless work. I find a similar theme in much of the content on the internet — the work is stripped of creativity, with no human spirit behind it. I looked into pay-per-article writing myself, but I quickly realized that I could never stand to do that sort of work because it’s so artificial (that was the word I used at the time; I believe it is synonymous with ‘inauthentic’ in this instance).

I may write more on this subject once I’ve done more reading and research.

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Tolstoy’s Views of Truth in Religion

Tolstoy believed that the truth claims of different Christian sects were invalidated by virtue of the claims being mutually exclusive. Yet Tolstoy continued to regard religion as necessary (for life). It’s surprising that he does not take his analysis further to the scope of all religion. Different religions, not just different Christian sects, have mutually exclusive truth claims. Would that not, by Tolstoy’s own thinking, invalidate religion altogether?

It wasn’t made clear in the text (A Confession) how Tolstoy came to use such reasoning as it isn’t very effective when applied to other situations. Mutually exclusive models, theories, explanations, etc. are ever-present — the content and/or argument of each isn’t invalidated solely by its relationship to another. “Guilt by association” comes to mind.

Tolstoy later mentions that “true religion” has certain principles that are shared by all religions. However, how would he determine the truth of those against what he calls “false doctrine”? It seems that when Tolstoy searched for meaning in his life, he came to the “truth” of religion by its utility — it allowed him to continue living. However, such a method for determining truth is not effective. Suppose that, when told that praying to Chuck Norris increases life span, those who did so lived longer. Did they necessarily live longer because of the truth of the statement? No! Therefore utility does not necessitate truth.

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Prestige. A career. Pursuits.

All I see is a means to an end, and the end, ironically, is to afford to be free of the means.

If I’m to stand alone in my proclamation, so be it. If I have the courage to reveal to myself that I am what I am and not what I do, I’ll bear the pain. But telling me that I’m wrong to keep your delusions alive is cowardice; I take pleasure from my toils, for I know that from such struggle comes the courage to be myself, and from delusion comes complacency.

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Living is a choice, not a responsibility.

On internet support forums, people often mention one’s family and friends, people who would typically care about the person, when one suggests or explicitly states that they are contemplating suicide. This reasoning is rather absurd — one is told to endure their suffering so that they would not cause harm to those who care about them by ending their life. It would be one thing to have a choice whether or not to have been born, but it is thrust upon a person without choice. A comical picture is painted where people are willing to keep going through immense suffering only for the sake of others, the collective effect of which produces society as we know it — a snowball effect of a “duty of life” to others.

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Consider when one insults another using vulgarity. Often times the object of insult will be something that has to do with the birth status of the person being insulted. “Son of a bitch” is a rather common example. The insult attempts to discredit the person by asserting that they are of a sort of non-honorable birth (contrasted by the norm of the dedicated 2-parent child). Given that the social stratification of western societies is primarily based on financial status, the birth status is rather insignificant in comparison. It can be argued that typically, the financial standing of the parties involved are similar, thus, superiority in that area cannot be asserted. However, why must attacks on birth status be taken seriously? An attack on one’s financial standing would be much more credible since certain criteria may be implemented to make the argument. An attack on one’s birth status, without explicit knowledge (which is usually the case), is a blind assertion. Is the accusation alone supposed to incite anger in a person?

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