“We are perceivers. We are an awareness; we are not objects; we have no solidity. We are boundless. The world of objects and solidity is a way of making our passage on earth convenient. It is only a description that was created to help us. We, or rather our reason, forget that the description is only a description and thus we entrap the totality of ourselves in a vicious circle from which we rarely emerge in our lifetime … So, in essence, the world that your reason wants to sustain is the world created by a description and its dogmatic and inviolable rules, which the reason learns to accept and defend … from now on you should let yourself perceive whether the description is upheld by your reason or by your will.”
Carlos Castaneda

Tales of Power

Ryan Singer on Christopher Alexander Applied in Software User Experience Design

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I have been thinking a lot about software as I’ve been reading Alexander’s work for the last year and I don’t know if the future will hold an opportunity for me to apply any of these ideas. So … it was sweet to discover that Ryan Singer made a connection between Alexander’s work and user experience design. His talk  frames software design as a reactive process to external forces (which represent activities of the world which software is supposed to support).

I feel it is a subtle and yet substantial reframing of the typical “requirements” modality which was dominant in software when I was involved in it. However I feel that Alexander’s process thinking has much more potential to affect how software is created … and that is not a part of this talk. Still, a good presentation and a pleasant presenter:

 

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Christopher Alexander – OOPSLA Keynote 1996

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Chritsopher Alexander talking to software people on the potential of software. I especially enjoyed the last part of the talk where he highlights the immense potential of software in reshaping our world AND his warning about how that potential may be compromised when software engineers become hired mercenaries and in doing placing their personal potential in the hands of others.

Transcript of this talk

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Bush / Blair / Iraq / Chilcot

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The Bush/Blair mindset that left them so confident about their right to rearrange other people’s political furniture in a country far removed from their own is a mindset that has not gone away: and it needs to. We would all be horrified if some outside power turned up in either Washington or London, set on using military force to change the entire political order. Indeed, the British celebrate their resistance to Hitler in 1940 on precisely those grounds, as do the Americans do in relation to the British themselves, on every 4th of July. It is surely time, therefore, for all of us to break decisively with the double standards that sit at the center of the imperial mindset that produced the invasion of Iraq, and seek instead a world order built on the principle of doing unto others only what you would have them do unto you.”

source via Dan Carlin

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Tribes

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“I feel surrounded and blessed by love – not only do I bask in my husband’s but in Emma’s too. Our baby son and dog also adore her.

The sad fact is, however, that I feel I can never tell you – my family and friends – about her. About how happy she makes me and the rest of my family, how she’s strengthened the bond between my husband and me and given me a new zest for life and love.

Would there be fewer affairs, divorce and broken families if it were deemed acceptable to live in happy tribes of multiple partners?

source

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Robert Pirsig on Writing

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The basic unit of that particular process is a comparison. You take two slips and you say: “Which one comes first?”. And I don’t know of any rational way in which you can pass a rule as to which one comes first but it seems like you always know. And now you get two slips and that’s the beginning of your story. Next, you take your next slip and you compare it with the first one. And you say: “Which one comes first?”. And you get an answer and if it’s behind the first one you compare it with the second one. And pretty soon you have a three-slip story. And this was the basic process.

… I learned that the most important process is: never try to sort your slips out at the same time you’re collecting them. That’s very interesting, that as soon as you try to organise your thoughts the creative process dies…

The ideas seem to come in flights. All of a sudden there’s a pile of them coming you can hardly write them down fast enough … Other times you just get complete emptiness, this void. And then I say, this is a time I better start organising. And sometimes in the process of organising all of a sudden that flight will start up again of new slips because something in the problem of organisation will get these new slips going.

You can only do one thing at a time and whatever is the top slip is the thing to do. And then having this box and having these slips I was able, at that time, to use the same structure to construct the book ZMM. It started with slips.

First there was an essay. And then I said, “Boy, I’m never going to get this in an essay, maybe I ought to write a story.” So I wrote a long story and I said: “This story is too dull, it doesn’t go anywhere. It’s just a lot of philosophy that nobody is going to read.” So I had just taken a trip with my son to California and I said: “Why don’t I put this essay inside this trip I took with my son to California?” And I did that. And then I looked at it and said “There are too many ‘I’s in this book. It’s all about me. What I need is a character called ‘he’.” So this character called Phædrus came in and he kind of got up and ran away with the book, you see? But if I’d started out with that book saying what I was going to have in the beginning it never would have occurred. It never would have occurred. It was a process of living myself, of having a static structure in the box of slips and in the outlines I kept reformulating, but ultimately say: “If I see something better, I’ll do it”.

Robert Pirsig – Source

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