Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

Contradictions.  §

I used to teach this in some of my anthropology and sociology courses—the way in which cultural knowledge and cultural canons are not actually integrative but in fact suffer from internal contradictions. Now for a moment in my life I live it. Let’s see:

  • Live in the present only, at the same time as
  • Learn from your mistakes and
  • Follow your dreams
  • Be completely honest and share yourself entirely, at the same time as
  • Pick your battles and
  • Control your impulses
  • Live with integrity, at the same time as
  • Put other people first and
  • Accept life as it is

The lesson? It’s all bullshit. Culture is designed to make us feel better, not to be objectively effective. It is a way of rationalizing our differences in the interest of collaboration, not of accomplishing greater things or actually becoming happy.

Which is what I used to teach. But it’s different to live it.

— § —

The entirety of our modern world is dependent upon flat surfaces with either 101 or 102 keys (buttons) on them to be pressed in varied sequences. The keyboard is the human-system interface that has enabled the entirety of the late modern era. Without the keyboard, we’d be absolutely a different world. No internet, no computing, no code, no Wikipedia, no email, no messages…

Despite all of the hero worship and fanfare, it’s actually Charles Krum, Howard Krum, Frank Pearne, Frederick Creed, and others that together developed the modern QWERTY keyboard that are responsible for virtually everything that we now associate with modernity.