Mar 7, 2017

Against Empathy

It is magic.
Every day at 1 pm straight Smart-S gets hit by a little click-storm. Nothing dangerous - far from a DOS attack. It actually warms my heart to know that somebody has made some code crawl this little-known dusty corner of the net to see what has been deposited there. Some empathetic robot silently weeping when things get rough in the world of the smart-ss's (does it ever?) and chuckling about the shallow jokes (are there any?). Cute.
After observing this for a few months, though, I start to wonder whether that little lump of bytes couldn't be extended a bit so it is able to leave some, umm, comments? Maybe? Hello?!
Some feedback (supportive, controversial or otherwise) would be nice for once!
What good is a silent empathetic reader, ultimately - be it a machine or humanoid?
It is like that ever-loving mother who listens to the crap you do in your childhood, the annoying stuff you call freedom while growing up, your self-pity when you fail just another relationship and run away from the n-th marriage. She stays empathetic, keeps nodding, back-patting even when your self-love explodes to become narcissism, when you sacrifice everything and everyone just to make yourself shine... empathy, 'support', hugs - an eternal flow of destructive 'yes'es. Empathy, the goodhearted, naive little sister of the hideous teenager called pity.
When I was wondering what silent empathy is good for I came across a review of Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion by Paul Bloom (here)
He goes beyond the pure semantics: While Empathy can lead to mind-blurring commiserations which essentially amplify and stabilize problems rather than attacking them, compassion wakes up the rage, it fires up dissent and outrage and strives to get up and actually change things. Empathy is for the self-pitying willing to sink ever deeper, Compassion is less cozy, more engaging and it has the potential to change the world.
So, come on, you little badly-programmed web-crawlers can you please move on?! Get your tear-stained sappy code out of here and leave this site alone.
Thanx.

Jan 28, 2017

He tore out the heart

What made America greater than this:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame
With conquering limbs astride from land to land
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

„Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!“ cries she
With silent lips. „Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

Emma Lazarus, 1883 
Statue of Liberty

Jan 2, 2017

Dead, right?

Sometimes you are alive. Sometimes you are dead.
Well, you feel like it.
Which is strange. Because, I suppose, when you are dead - how does it feel? Deadish? I thought the whole concept of being dead is that all that conscious stuff - and very much so the 'feeling'-thingy - vanishes.
Exactly what you sometimes yearn for.
When you are too destroyed to get up, for example. New-Years' morning, when you feel like you are dead. Well.
We talked about it.
So.
My blog was dead.
When I had to renew my payment-details I got trapped in some super-smart login loop, that always told me to renew my payment-details before I could log-in to go to... you got the idea.
Now I got some reanimation done and there we go again.
Life looks much better now.
Even though some things look very non-ok.
But let's not talk politics.
Or emotional, private stuff.
thanx.

Jul 12, 2016

Dave and Bea

Every now and then a memory from my early coding-years pops up in my mind.
When I had acquired my Atari 1040F (1MB RAM, 100MB external harddrive), I was of course hex-dumping the OS and as the programmers obviously never had worked with that much space before (I believe my first Apple ][ had 8kB) they just bumbled around wasting Bits - in the middle of all the tech-stuff there was the line "Dave Staugas loves Bea Habling". Just so. In the ROM.
It never got out of my brain again.
And it popped up again right now. I  believe I can only lay it at rest if I know:
... did they eventually get together? 
Can you please tell me?
(thanks)