Falls the Shadow

Found this an interesting introduction to one theory of how the mind forms our response to a situation. Ironically for something that talks about prior experience causing flawed assumptions, my initial disagreement was due to Feldman Barrett using certain terms differently from how I would without defining them first.

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ImmerseOrDie Might Be Too Mellow

One of the accusations levelled at ImmerseOrDie is that Jeff, Bryce, or I look for reasons to fail a book, that readers don’t judge books the way we do. I’ve never been inside Bryce’s head, but I feel a deep joy when a book makes it to the line; and we’re not alone in noticing issues.

<p style="text-align: justify;"Anne R Allen warns that minor errors at the start of the book could kill sales.

I’m a grammar freak, so a misplaced apostrophe or verb/object disagreement will stop me. I know not everybody is such a stickler. But I think all readers want to see that a book looks professional and polished. They don’t want to invest time in a book—even if it’s free—unless they feel they’re in competent hands.

While I agree that noticing these issues might seem to be limited to “grammar freaks”, IoD reports show issues that don’t cause us to put a book down still increase the chances that a subsequent issue will stand out enough to lose that sense of competence; so, for every reader whose attention catches on an issue, there are several who don’t stop at that point but are primed to judge later concerns harshly.

And for those who think the failures are still us being picky, remember that Allen (and people in her comment thread) believe that having a contents page that is boring – not ill-formatted, dysfunctional, or otherwise flawed, but just boring – damages sales.

New Year’s Revolution

It’s the start of another arbitrary division of a time dimension, so there are plenty of posts from people committing to do something or suggesting ways others might have a higher chance of succeeding at achieving that something. And plenty of people asking whether others have made any resolutions and what they are.

In the spirit of efficiency – for is not a great way to find time for a new adventure to save time in other areas – I shall endeavour to address everything in a single post.

This year, as previously, I aspire to pulling off “…a track that’ll result in everyone getting exactly the kind of world they want. Everyone including the enemy.” (King Mob to the Marquis de Sade’, Arcadia #4′, The Invisibles)

Not the brutal revolution of the Wheel of Fortune where the rich and powerful are torn down to be replaced by a new group of powerful and rich revolutionaries, but the natural revolution of time perceived emotionally as a flow between states that will come again.

And of course, because it’s inspired by post-realisation King Mob, I’ll be seeking to do it with style.

The Cost of Being Seen

While the web might have started out as excited amateurs building their little corner then sharing it with others, it’s now also home to large companies and content professionals. Which has made recouping the cost of running sites and creating the pages on them a major driver of “normal” website structure. The usual models are either pay-for-access or paid-by-advertising, but I came across a new idea today: internet user as middleperson.

Life Outside the Tank

You say we don’t understand your experience.
So we ask.
And you say that it ain’t your job to educate us.
Which is true, but doesn’t help solve the issue.
And solving the issue’s not your job either,
But that don’t mean you aren’t allowed to try if you want.

Which is why there are your stories out there.
Stories we get to read if we find them.
But they aren’t everywhere.
They aren’t common enough that we see the nuance just by breathing.
Because it’s not your job to educate or to fix.
And because of the cheap-shooting, foul-mouthed,
Logical-only-when-it-suits minority.
Those unhappy few who spew hate at anyone who dares to
Not be a bitter little pill
And who deserve

To be treated like human beings.
Because that’s how it works.
If humanity, decency, and virtue are about more than my tribe’s gonna kill yours,
Then that’s how it works.
They don’t have a right to come to your forum and talk shit about your faith.
The don’t have a right to come to your post and make jokes about your mother.
But they do have the right to be treated like a human being.

Because Kant’s idea that we make the rules
So we treat you the way we want to treated
Has problems.
But if you turn it round:
Create some rule about treating others the way you don’t want to be treated?
The clue’s in the name: Tnak.
Because, that’s not just an idea that will tank society;
It’s muddled thinking too.

Because we all share one experience:
Someone smacks you round the head, you want to smack them back.

Prior Unreasoning

There’s a famous aphorism “Do what I say, not what I do” which is often trotted out either to show one person or everyone is a hypocrite when it comes to morals. And, whichever interpretation you favour, it’s hard to deny that it’s often much easier to suggest a moral choice from the comfort of an armchair than it is to make a moral choice in the moment. The harder question is whether or not someone should be judged harshly for these deviations from higher morals.

The answer to which might begin with whether they are truly choices. As this talk by Robert Saplosky shows, the choice might have been rigged decades earlier: