“Now, in 2016, cigarette smoking in North America is indeed more common among people living in poverty. They smoke because they do not have the time or money to eat properly, because other, more respectable mind-altering drugs are not available to them, because it is something to enjoy. They do it because their jobs (when they still exist) are so boring and physically painful that they would rather die. Yet professionals in the wellness industry routinely describe their smoking social inferiors as “stupid” and “irrational” on the basis of their supposedly self-undermining lifestyle choices.
It’s by now an iron law that whenever the poor are discussed, so are their “bad life choices.” If professionals can’t do something properly or fast enough, they can readily avail themselves of a diagnosis of one or another “health problem”—even something as vague and generic as “stress” or “burnout.” These are conditions that are imagined to have stricken them randomly—as opposed to a malignant, self-inflicted malady tied to their lifestyle, upbringing, or that sketchy antidepressant they stupidly decided to take. Even though so many children of the professional class clearly have asthma due in part to the persistent bourgeois hygiene neurosis (the antibacterial hand gel all but mandated by this neurosis being a proven contributing factor), they and their germophobe parents deserve empathy, time off, and specific disability rights. By contrast, working-class smokers deserve only reproach and are asked to tiptoe around the expansive, socio-moral and self-induced sensitivities of the rich.
Once, at an Occupy Wall Street assembly, standing six feet beyond the last concentric circle in the parking lot, I lit up a cigarette. In short order, I was asked to leave. I insisted on Occupying.
Like them, we shall pursue our own desires for pleasure no matter how whimsical, and if our desire is to smoke, then offended professionals can just hold their breath for once—perhaps using this blessed interval of silence to meditate on their thieving class and its own grotesquely swollen “carbon footprint.” If state and capital are going to steal our precious energies and vast hours of our lives to line their pockets with profit, leaving us with poor sleep, insufficient rent money, and a diet of 7-Eleven specials as we provide the country’s most basic services, the very least we deserve is to enjoy our cigarettes in peace. So if anyone asks, it’s not that smoking should be permitted because cigarettes can be proved an absolute good, which they cannot, but simply because for the time being we happen to smoke them. We might call this giving professionals a taste of their own entitlement. Heaven forbid they choke on it.”
and with a feeling of sweetness I thought I was done and … well… then this:
“Thank you for that! But I do think, though, that it is mostly about being able to put in the time! I mean the talent of being stubborn and able to see things through are more important than the abilities you have to start with. If you work hard on anything, you will learn what you need and success!”
I have been following Douglas Rushkoff since his launch of the TeamHuman podcast. I recommend it very much. This talk is a good introduction to his work.
The main thing I like about him is that he builds a good bridge between two worlds that in my existence seem separate. The people in my life can be clearly divided into two camps:
One is the “mainstream people” which includes people who live a mainstream life and people who are aware that there are other avenues, but do not pursue it … so still living embedded in mainstream society. When I can and there is an interest I try to give these people a glimpse of the other alternative world I am exploring.
The other group are the “alternative people” who are partners in the exploration-into-an-unknown I find myself living in. Some of these people are also comfortably embedded in this alternative world that they are sometimes less informed about the happenings of the mainstream world.
Douglas Rushkoff, I feel, does an excellent job of bridging these worlds. He is able to describe both the mainstream world and the alternatives in a coherent, sensible and continuous narrative that makes it accessible to both of “my worlds”. With that in mind I offer this excellent talk to both of “my worlds”:
Though I have moved away from the more hard-core environment of software development I still enjoyed this talk very much. It talks about something which can look inconsequential – software versions and its effect on software creation. The subject, though technical, is framed in this talk as a matter of relationship amongst developers.
There are very few people with whom I can chat about the two worlds of Yoga and Software (because very few people that I know have / had a foot in both worlds). What shimmered for me in this talk is the quality of vata (shity and volatile energy) which I feel is so much a part of software development. It is mostly my wish to stay healthy while respecting my own energy patterns that keeps me away from writing code. This talk sheds some light on the vata nature of software.
The presenter is Rich Hickley who is the founder of a programming paradigm language called Clojure: