“You don’t have to think very hard to realize that our dread of both relationships and loneliness … has to do with angst about death, the recognition that I’m going to die, and die very much alone, and the rest of the world is going to go merrily on without me.”—David Foster Wallace, who died on this day in 2008, on writing, death, and redemption. (via explore-blog)
“The final symptom is dread. Dread as a physical sensation—like the onset of a sneeze or a vomit. Dread as a certainty that tomorrow will be worse than today. That there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Or rather, that the end of the tunnel is actually behind me—I remember feeling happy in the past, although I cannot imagine it in the future.”—
This is the worst part: the conviction that every day of all the days left will be full of nothing but pain and despair.
One individual day can be lived through, but the mind can’t help calculating: fourteen hours to live though every day, 140 days left in the year. 365.25 days every year after that. How many years left? How many hours does that add up to? You’re going to have to live through every second of it. Tick. Tick. Tick.
If you listen to that part of your mind, it’ll kill you. And the hardest part is, knowing that doesn’t always help.
“We are being taught right now that this hypermilitarized police response to citizens exercising their Constitutional rights is a new normal…When police order reporters to turn off cameras and go home, one can safely assume it’s not because there is no more news to report.”—Xeni Jardin, journalist in Ferguson. (via mysharona1987)
“Even at age twelve I could tell that Jimmy Carter was an honest man trying to address complicated issues and Ronald Reagan was a brilcreemed salesman telling people what they wanted to hear. I secretly wept on the stairs the night he was elected President, because I understood that the kind of shitheads I had to listen to in the cafeteria grew up to become voters, and won. I spent the eight years he was in office living in one of those science-fiction movies where everyone is taken over by aliens—I was appalled by how stupid and mean-spirited and repulsive the world was becoming while everyone else in America seemed to agree that things were finally exactly as they should be. The Washington Press corps was so enamored of his down-to-earth charm that they never checked his facts, but if you watched his face when it was at rest, when he wasn’t performing for anyone, you could see him for what he really was—a black-eyed, slit-mouthed, lizard-faced old son-of-a-bitch. He was a bad actor, an informer for McCarthy, and a hired front man for a gang of Texas oilmen, fundamentalist dingbats, and right-wing psychotics out of Dr. Strangelove. He put a genial face on chauvanism, callousness, and greed, and made people feel good about being bigots again. He likened Central American death squads to our founding fathers and called the Taliban “freedom fighters.” His legacy includes the dismantling of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, the final dirty win of Management over Labor, the outsourcing of America’s manufacturing base, the embezzlement of almost all the country’s wealth by 1% of its citizens, the scapegoating of the poor and black, the War on Drugs, the eviction of schizophrenics into the streets, AIDS, acid rain, Iran-Contra, and, let’s not forget, the corpses of two hundred forty United States Marines. He moved the center of political discourse in this country to somewhere in between Richard Nixon and Augusto Pinochet. He believed in astrology and Armageddon and didn’t know the difference between history and movies; his stories were lies and his jokes were scripted. He was the triumph of image over truth, paving the way for even more vapid spokesmodels like George W. Bush. He was, as everyone agrees, exactly what he appeared to be—nothing. He made me ashamed to be an American. If there was any justice in this world his Presidential Library would contain nothing but boys’ adventure books and bad cowboy movies, and the only things named after him would be shopping malls and Potter’s Fields. Let the earth where he is buried be seeded with salt.”—The Pain (via azspot)
“After all, you are just not the person they’re comfortable with. You are your own person. Tell me, what the hell is wrong with that? They fuck with your head and it’s true. You fuck with your head as well but that’s another story. You have every right to do so. They don’t. They are terrified of their own insufficiency and would gladly take it out on anyone around them. Why should you be concerned with that? You will now, quite predictably, sit down and overthink it. God damn it, just don’t. Be perceptive. Know what your heart is about. Mind your own business. Let them go drown in plain stupidity. But do your thing. You can handle this.”—Albert Camus, Notebooks (via whyallcaps)
“Phones can only work when they know where they are and are telling the phone company that. It’s not surveillance, it’s how radio waves work. This is the first reason for the network to work the way it does. The second? Billing. In fact, most of the surveillance networks in the world weren’t built to surveil at all, but to make things work at a fundamental level, and to bill people. Surveillance and intrusion are opportunistically inserted into good infrastructure.”—Seeing Like a Network — The Message — Medium (via iamdanw)
“He asserts that, increasingly, effective design means engaging with the messy politics – the “dark matter” – taking place above the designer’s head. And that may mean redesigning the organisation that hires you.”—
“We didn’t get the William Gibson future where you can live like a stainless steel rat in the walls between the corporate enclaves, tearing at the system from within with your anarchy and your superior knowledge of Unix command lines. Now it’s just pissed off teenagers who blame you because their lives are going to suck a cock and billionaire thugs trying to sell you headphones and handbags, all to a soundtrack of some waterhead muttering “Bubble butt, bubble bubble bubble butt” over and over while a shite beat thumps in the background.”—Everyone I know is brokenhearted (via azspot)
“By our view we DO NOT have to wait until we learn how the human mental processes work, we DO NOT have to wait until we learn how to make computers more intelligent or bigger or faster, we CAN begin developing powerful and economically feasible augmentation systems on the basis of what we now know and have.
Pursuit of further basic knowledge and improved machines will continue into the unlimited future, and will want to be integrated into the “art” and its improved augmentation systems — but getting started NOW will provide not only orientation and stimulation for these pursuits, but will give us improved problem-solving effectiveness with which to carry out the pursuits.”—
Douglas C. Englebart — 1962 From conclusion #2 — “Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework”
“Because today we live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, by governments, by big corporations, by religious groups, political groups… So I ask, in my writing, What is real? Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo-realities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic mechanisms. I do not distrust their motives; I distrust their power. They have a lot of it. And it is an astonishing power: that of creating whole universes, universes of the mind. I ought to know. I do the same thing.”—Philip K. Dick (via theministryoftruth)
“Whereas the typical UX Designer is a one-trick pony who can only improve the user experience, the UX Torturer specializes in degrading the user experience to maximize profit.”—The Rise of the UX Torturer — Medium
“This paradox between our affluence as consumers and our precariousness as workers poses economic, political, and moral conundrums. If we can produce more with less, and workers become redundant, who will buy the goods? A robot can make a mobile phone but it cannot purchase one. Workers are also consumers. Fire your workers, your profits will rise until the day no one can afford to buy your product. Henry Ford was a visionary for paying his workers enough so they could buy his cars. Ultimately, our production possibilities frontier and so our societal wealth is determined by our level of technology. That keeps expanding. Thus every year we should be richer. Each generation should be better off than its parents. That we are not is a problem of distribution.”—The Central Paradox of the 21st Century (via azspot)
“This sort of thing threw a lot of people in positions of power into a kind of moral panic. There were think-tanks set up to examine what to do—basically, how to maintain social control—in a society where more and more traditional forms of labor would soon be obsolete. A lot of the complaints you see in Alvin Toffler and similar figures in the early ‘70s—that rapid technological advance was throwing the social order into chaos—had to do with those anxieties: too much leisure had created the counter-culture and youth movements, what was going to happen when things got even more relaxed? It’s probably no coincidence that it was around that time that things began to turn around, both in the direction of technological research, away from automation and into information, medical, and military technologies (basically, technologies of social control), and also in the direction of market reforms that would send us back towards less secure employment, longer hours, greater work discipline.”—David Graeber (via azspot)
We interviewed construction workers building museums on Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island. In the richest city in the world, the workers we spoke to were little more than indentured servants. For between $150 and $300 a month, they worked 13 hours a day, six days a week. Their bosses kept their passports. They landed in the UAE owing more than a year’s salary to recruiters back home. They could be deported for striking.
In Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, and Nepal, they had families dependent on their wages. However brutal it was, the Gulf dream was their one shot out of poverty. They could not fuck this up.
“Westerners misrepresent Dubai as tacky. This is wounded pride. Dubai is Versailles, not Vegas. It is frozen money. At night, when even the palms twinkle, the city has a heart-soaring grandeur. It looks like the sound of Daisy Buchanan’s voice.”—I Confronted Donald Trump in Dubai | VICE United States
“When those in power intend to abuse that power, they look to an outside enemy in order to trick their people into pressing the means to their own abuse into the hands of the abusers. If an enemy does not exist, it will be manufactured, and all manner of horrors attributed to it, so that anyone who demands truth and accountability is set upon as being unpatriotic. And so that, when someone said to be an enemy is found, there will be few questions asked about guilt or innocence, and many faces averted when they are taken away.”—Mercedes Lackey (in Alta, the second of four Dragon Jouster books)