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The Technology (2014) (paulbuchheit.blogspot.com)
58 points by vinnyglennon on Dec 8, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 14 comments

His advice to ignore dogmas reminds me of the best advice I received as a writer: learn the rules, then break them. There is a strange kind of dogma that says, “question everything, break all the rules, convention is always bad.” But this isn’t what Paul is saying. He says to shut out the voices. Avoid rejecting or accepting. Avoid being reactionary, whether in agreeing or disagreeing.

This is good advice in any realm. Take in all data. Remove all bias. Generate meaningful truth. Follow that truth with an eye to fueling passion. And take every obstacle as merely an additional data point — an opportunity to fine-tune truth and enhance our passion for it.

I’m also reminded of a question YC asked (or used to ask?): what is something you know that your competitors don’t?

I’d love to see a list of answers to that question, because it defines a startup more clearly than “what’s your vision” type of questions.

Yes. Doing all according to a dogma is not freedom. Doing all against the dogma is not freedom either.

Doing what you choose, be it against a dogma or in agreement with it, is more of a freedom.

Anyone know what book he's referring to that made him rethink exercise & physical fitness?

Edit: Maybe this? https://www.amazon.com/Born-Run-Hidden-Superathletes-Greates...

> Dogma and ideology are even worse. They provide us with the answers, and put boundaries around our thinking. Ignoring the dogma invites ridicule, or even punishment. I suspect that's why more ideological societies are less innovative.

Is it still permissible to say this? (asking as an earnest question) This was once a core tenet of silicon valley but somehow the opposite has happened and I’m not sure you can even say this anymore

Paul doesn’t seem to have gotten in any trouble for saying it. What makes you think that someone else would? The problem only comes up when you start trying to label other people’s beliefs as dogma.

This is about examining your own beliefs to root out dogma, and avoiding pushing your dogmas into others. Not about being a self-perceived victim of some other group oppressing you.

To explain: Assuming causality is a cognitive bias. Assuming causality in other people’s outcomes can be .. another kind of bias. Dogma comes in when only certain assumptions are permissible.

I don’t mean to drag the discussion through all this, I was just asking a question (above) and answering yours (here)

You don't get in trouble for denouncing dogma in general. You have to denounce a specific one.

Permissible is relative to the person :) You can say plenty of "impermissible" things if your skin isn't thin, and you don't have an employer who will fire you because of it.

> Escaping dogma is hard. From the inside, it simply looks like truth and reality. Watch out for any belief that limits the range of your thinking and exploration.

It's not just SV (obviously).

What an amazing piece of text to read. Almost teared up. I am so excited about the future of humanity.

When I hear about ideology and discarding ideology and moving beyond ideology, I can't, for better or worse, help but think of Slavoj Zizek:

The contemporary era constantly proclaims itself as post-ideological, but this denial of ideology only provides the ultimate proof that we are more than ever embedded in ideology. Ideology is always a field of struggle - among other things, the struggle for appropriating past traditions.


‘An ideological identification exerts a true hold on us precisely when we maintain an awareness that we are not fully identical to it, that there is a rich human person beneath it: “not all is ideology, beneath the ideological mask I am also a human person” is the very form if ideology, of its “practical efficiency”’


‘The form of consciousness that fits late-capitalist “post-ideological” society – the cynical, “sober” attitude that advocates liberal “openness” in the matter of “opinions” (everybody is free to believe whatever she or he wants; this concerns only his or her privacy), disregards pathetic ideological phrases, and follows only utilitarian and/or hedonistic motivations – stricto sensu remains an ideological attitude: it involves a series of ideological presuppositions (on the relationship between “values” and “real life”, on personal freedom, etc.) that are necessary for the reproduction of existing social relations’


‘A gesture which draws the line of separation between “real problems” and “ideological chimeras” is, from Plato onwards, the very founding gesture of ideology: ideology is by definition self-referential – that is, it establishes itself by assuming a distance towards (what it denounces as) “mere ideology”’


‘The function of ideology is not to offer us a point of escape from our reality but to offer us the social reality itself as an escape’


‘The fundamental level of ideology is not of an illusion masking the real state of things but that of an (unconscious) fantasy structuring our social reality itself. And at this level, we are of course far from being a post-ideological society. Cynical distance is just one way – one of many ways – to blind ourselves to the structuring power of ideological fantasy: even if we do not take things seriously, even if we keep an ironic distance, we are still doing them’


‘The highest form of ideology lies not in getting caught in ideological spectrality, forgetting about its foundations in real people and their relations, but precisely in overlooking this Real of spectrality, and pretending to address directly “real people with their real worries”. Visitors to the London Stock Exchange are given a free leaflet which explains to them that the stock market is not about some mysterious fluctuations, but about real people and their products – this is ideology at its purest’


The contemporary era constantly proclaims itself as post-ideological, but this denial of ideology only provides the ultimate proof that we are more than ever embedded in ideology. Ideology is always a field of struggle - among other things, the struggle for appropriating past traditions.


“In a traditional German toilet, the hole into which shit disappears after we flush is right at the front, so that shit is first laid out for us to sniff and inspect for traces of illness. In the typical French toilet, on the contrary, the hole is at the back, i.e. shit is supposed to disappear as quickly as possible. Finally, the American (Anglo-Saxon) toilet presents a synthesis, a mediation between these opposites: the toilet basin is full of water, so that the shit floats in it, visible, but not to be inspected. [...] It is clear that none of these versions can be accounted for in purely utilitarian terms: each involves a certain ideological perception of how the subject should relate to excrement. Hegel was among the first to see in the geographical triad of Germany, France and England an expression of three different existential attitudes: reflective thoroughness (German), revolutionary hastiness (French), utilitarian pragmatism (English). In political terms, this triad can be read as German conservatism, French revolutionary radicalism and English liberalism. [...] The point about toilets is that they enable us not only to discern this triad in the most intimate domain, but also to identify its underlying mechanism in the three different attitudes towards excremental excess: an ambiguous contemplative fascination; a wish to get rid of it as fast as possible; a pragmatic decision to treat it as ordinary and dispose of it in an appropriate way. It is easy for an academic at a round table to claim that we live in a post-ideological universe, but the moment he visits the lavatory after the heated discussion, he is again knee-deep in ideology.”

These are fascinating viewpoints, especially this triadic juxtaposition. Thank you for sharing!

Man its been almost a decade since I've seen this Zizek critique. High school policy debate, good times.

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