I’m jealous. So jealous I’m too ashamed to write out all my a’s. Who needs a’s anyway when you’re feeling a straight b? Flat, no capitals. Jealous of Gass, jealous of not letting the bile get out. I self-labeled myself the eternal cultural optimist and one must live up to one’s label nowadays or find no place in society’s shelves; shelf or be shelved, although that sounds better than it means. Such is the story of my life that I have self-censored what probably is my only real aptitude in it: a mild inclination to sarcasm, well-founded in an all-out hatred for ‘the way things are’. I am a self-made man in being the bottle for my own bile – only releasing some of its steam at moments of social stress such as dinner parties or occasions where I’m forced to listen (to dumb people, I wanted to add but one only ever listens to dumb people because only dumb people have a tendency to speak on public occasions).
So, as a matter of self-preservation, I need to find a way to reconcile both bile and optimism, so as to avoid bliss-less eternity too. Here goes the argument. Its form is to neutralize -1 and +1 to leave just N.
If you’re not working in a big organization you might not know, but the rest of us are being managed by objectives. The people so managing us are convinced they are being SMART about it. The fact is that they are smarter than we are, as is clear from the fact that we have been stupid enough to put up with it for so long. They sell it to us like diet pills are sold to those addicted to sugar: as a replacement addiction. Suddenly we should feel liberated from micro-management when the only ones liberated are those managing us: liberated from caring about the actual human beings that do the actual day-by-day work.
If you are working in a big organization (and you’re a bit of an a***hole) you may find this amusing: the rest of them are being targeted as well. As politicians increasingly see themselves as entrepreneurs (mostly forgetting the adjective ‘failed’), they want in on the magic. This means they want all of the control and none of the taking-an-interest. They want to be liberal and eat our cake too. Above all they want us to feel different from the others who haven’t achieved independence. Divide …
Let me use my newly found independence to say something about managing for performance: it’s inhuman because it sets out to eliminate the specifically human uncertainties from the process. That is enough to stop doing it. More than enough to start questioning it. Forget about it not working. Forget about the appeal to intuition (diet pill ads appeal to your intuition as well). It is anti-human and we should not put up with it. Out of principle. Full stop.
I’m not the first to say this, see Geert Hofstede (1978):
In other words: the sole reason for reducing us to targets is Continue reading
The unit of human capital writing this blog post is planned to be scrapped. End of June. This is partly because of a basic design error of almost all of the known units of human capital better know as free will. Most capitalists know free will to be a bitch to be kept at bay in production and to be abused only from the point of view of consumption. In my case I couldn’t handle being ‘owned’ anymore to continue something we started, dreaming to improve the world of education, in order to fuel some organization’s desire to make money on pushing more Theon taming (known originally as training).
I won’t put in my LinkedIn profile that my will to consume is as weak as my will to create is strong. I wonder whether there is a maximum of will meaning a stronger will to create weakens the will to consume, and vice versa. If so it might explain why the wealthy are so concerned to ensure our will to consume is stimulated. The wealthy are só smart (how else would they have become wealthy?): they most probably have enough will to create amongst their happy few to count for all of us. Anyway they have the money so we will just have to consume what they create with what little money they leave.
We can take some comfort in the ideas of Thomas Piketty: as the wealthy will appropriate more and more wealth, there will be less and less for us, leading to a system break-down. At that point most of us will either be death or die quickly in the service of one of the factions of the wealthy, but at least the happy few will become unhappier and fewer for the briefest of moments. It’s not much but we’ll take what we get.
I’m just being bitter, of course. On top of not making any sense. Bottom-line is: I didn’t get it my way. Continue reading
Apparently there is an interest in what exactly happened in the 17 or so picoseconds after The Big Bang. I never bought The Big Bang. It is not because you are in a wheel chair and super intelligent that you are right about everything. Filtering down this sentence to its essence: it is not because you are super intelligent that you are right about anything outside of your own mathematical model. I’m not one of those who believe the search for the Higgs boson is a black hole for government funds. I believe it is a great show of civilization that we allow thousands of clever people to perfect our grasp of physics. In fact, they should be with tens of thousands and millions more to perfect our grasp of linguistics, literature and so many other fine, and at first sight futile, fields of knowledge.
I do hate however that many of these bright men and women take their mathematical models and then romanticize their variables into waves of partying particles and dens of densities. Nothing they can do can beat Gene Roddenberry. All this vulgarizing are nothing else than rotten berries for those easily inclined to mistake the cosmos for an alternative to some self made critical thinking. As if dividing by zero can be meaningful to anybody else than a zero.
I also hate the real black hole of government funding of science, to wit: Continue reading
It was hard work. With flat tires it is as if you are constantly riding into a headwind. Joe also cursed the moment he decided to put on his winter coat. When it’s rainy in October, it isn’t necessarily cold as well. That much he knew now – but now it was too late. He was stuck in his coat. It was raining. Even if it hadn’t rained the coat was too thick to be put away in something; the sleeves were also too thick to allow tying the coat around his waist. So he wasn’t even half way when he noticed that he didn’t just have a flat tire but that he was beginning to sweat profusely. He thought it was pathetic that – well into his 40’s – he had not managed to learn how to properly inflate his tires.
His awkwardness was however not his main concern. He knew that, beyond the next crossroads, his left flank would be at the mercy of wind and rain, because, once there, on his left there would only be the park. After the traffic lights, the sadly impersonal six- and seven-storey buildings for the wealthier public of modern perfectionism would only be to his right. The gusts of wind would come from his left. Joe thought they were strong gusts but that could as well have been a feeling caused by all too flat tires. It was worse than he expected. He felt like he wasn’t making any progress whatsoever. In front of him he saw how a sheer endless piece of sidewalk – clumsily painted in red – tried to make him feel like he was on a real red cycling track.
He had hated parks as long as he could remember. Continue reading
I hate it when people feel the need to first condemn the violence before they feel free to discuss the origins of said violence. I hate that in cases of disasters there is pressure to first underline that disasters are by definition unintentional before coming to the analysis of why this or that disaster makes more victims.
I hate disclaimers. Disclaimers protect against challenges from people who cannot disclaim their impropriety because it’s so apparent that it would be laughable to disclaim anything. As such the amount of disclaimers is a direct measure of the stupidity level in certain discussion. Or worse: of the interest in covering up the real causes of some effects.
I hate being tired. I hate dreaming dreams wherein everything goes wrong for me. I don’t know whether these dreams are the cause or the effect of my tiredness. I would appreciate opinions on this matter. I tend to believe it is the effect for, in these dreams, I try and I try and I try but I not only know what could happen but I also know that it will happen and I feel the pain that the others will feel merging with the pain of trying to avoid it knowing it’ll be unavoidable (even it is, strictly speaking, not unavoidable because why else would I be trying to avoid it?). If I only knew what wreck is coming my way, I would be able to try for real to avoid it in real life. But I don’t, all’s well even if I feel that it won’t end well. At all.
I saw this in a museum and I didn’t hate it. It is without disclaimers.
I hate that this picture will cause discomfort to some readers. I hate I can do nothing about it. I use the verb ‘can’ here in a very personal sense.
I hate getting into arguments. I further hate that I get into arguments regularly. Last week I got into 2 on-line arguments. In the first one I was posing under a female pseudonym. I was being called hysterical. In the second I passed under a male pseudonym. I got charged with being insensitive. The latter was in English. The former was in Dutch. In both arguments, ultimately, it were my language skills that were called into question. I hate that. It saddens me deeply, mostly on account of it being true. I have no time to review what I write, I tell myself, but I know the truth is that mostly I can’t be bothered. I rely on charity and that is, I hate to admit, a most uncharitable thing to do.
I hate people wanting to have the last word in arguments. I hate even more those people who offer others to have the last word in an argument. At least I didn’t take either of these options. I hate to say that I think I must finally be growing up.
But never mind on-line arguments with people I don’t know, today I got into an argument with somebody I do know. That, dear readers, I do hate more than anything else. It gets under my skin, up my nose and makes me want to punish myself with things worse than death (for instance: not being able to go for euthanasia when I would finally get Alzheimer’s disease or become incontinent or some such thing). Insensitive I am not. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it.
I hate it so much that I hate to admit that the great plans I had for last week’s Friday’s Confessional that I wanted to recycle for the present Tuesday Hatred seem as pointless as they always were.
I vaguely remember that they had to do with the fact that this week and the next I will be fully focused on watching 200 or so human medical experiments take one of the most indirect bicycle routes possible from one part of France to Paris. I hate that this argument (the last one) prevents me from feeling the sweet taste of my childhood memories of re-enacting the Tour de France with figurines and marbles on the beach (sand sculpted so as to approximate that day’s stage). So, I’m just going to say for the record that in said re-enactment I was playing the role of:
[Ah, those innocent times when world champions could be walking tobacco adverts!]
I hate that I am not a child anymore. If I were I would be him:
[Ah, so innocent are our times that Belgian champions can still be cycling adverts for gambling!]
I hate that I’ll miss most of the third week of said bicycle race because I’ll be on holidays with limited access to television.
I hate that I did not call my friend before replying to his somewhat one-sided e-mail with a completely one-sided e-mail. This helps somewhat, but not enough. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. I know I said that already but it’s true. I hate it. He does too. This makes me hate it even more. Two days ruined for no other reason than the failure to try to understand him (well, and the knee-jerk reaction of protecting the actions of somebody else).
I guess I owe you an explanation of the title. I hate that I half forgot and don’t really care much anymore about the other half. That said, I hate to leave loose ends so: it had to do with me being on holiday for a couple of weeks within a couple of weeks (you might have figured the latter out already) and needing to figure out whether I would quit smoking forever or quit the internet for that couple of weeks. I’ll go with the former meaning that there is no need to work out a schedule for my absence but this is an insight that came after choosing the title (and I’ll be damned if I’m going to make another one up). Mostly my deciding to stop is followed by a decision never to try stopping anymore. There is no harm in trying, I guess.
I hate to say that I don’t have the energy anymore to explain the word ‘Greek’ in the title. I’m seeking to avoid controversy. I have had enough arguments.
I leave you with a demonstration of my opinion on language skills.
You know what’s fun in late January after sending out like twenty job applications in the fall? Needing to send out more job applications! Seriously, those bankers and their crazy derivatives are throwing a major monkey wrench into my academic career — along with everyone else’s. Rumor has it that a variety of hiring freezes and job search suspensions are hitting even the Ivy League at this point, including the (blessedly) former president’s alma mater.
If any Chicago-based readers have the “suction” necessary to get me some adjunct teaching, or else indexing, proofreading, or other research work, let me know, because it may well come to that. (Readers with the “suction” necessary to get me into a fast food or retail management career should hold off for a few months.)