The Magician’s last trick

For the first trick he’ll concieve,
first one Adam, then one Eve;
He’s the father they believe


Building with divine precission,
temples, statues, edifices,
made of sweat, blood and sacrifices;
To summon sheep into submision,
in the name of gods and their religion;


He controls, through lies and terror,
in the name of the cross bearer,
or some other holly master….
He’s the pastor of disaster;


Fear of what we are, of what we do,
has got me scared too…


We created a machine,
which swallows everything that’s green,
And dig deep wholes into the earth,
to take riches that are not worth,
not even the dirt that we unearth;


Oh the vanity,
we wear it with pride, such insanity,
We celebrate profanity,
and condemn humanity,
to die young of self-made calamity


But there’s one last trick up his sleeve,
we do not see, we’re so naive,
so easy to deceive…
The last act which he’ll concieve,
he’ll take the riches and then he’ll leave,
leaving us empty and in grieve.

 

 

Originality

Originality doesn’t really exist. Every piece of original work is a derivative of something else. Art, design, engineering, most of the products we love today are a novel reinterpretation of something that was already made. If everything would be recorded you could always trace it back to source.

It’s in our nature to copy. Babies mimic their parents and as they grow they find role models and learn by copying them. We copy what we admire. 

But there’s always a stigma around plagiarism and copying others. We like to point the finger at copycats. We’re always striving to be original until we realise we’re not.

Steve and Bill were inspired by the operating system developed by Xerox which had a graphical user interface. They went on and built improved versions of it adding their personal touch. Some people to this day still think that Bill stole Steve’s idea.

The first modern tablet was running Windows. Later Apple developed a better version which became a huge success. Some people think that Apple invented the tablet, others give Microsoft credit for it. In reality, the first tablet ever made was the Styalator which was released in the ’50s. Technology just needed time to catch up. It doesn’t always pay off to be the first, timing is essential. Same thing is true for the smartphone.

If we reflect on this we can argue that originality is about taking credit for a body of work. People want to reap the benefits. That’s why we have copyright laws and intellectual property is being licensed. This cognitive breakthrough empowers the original creator at the cost of restraining other derivative works.

In many cases, there’s a thin line separating a copy or a derivative work from the original. But every now and then, a copy slips as original when plagiarism remains undetected.

On good craftsmanship and engineering

The other day I was chatting with a friend who just upgraded his phone. I’ve asked him why did he buy a new phone if the other was still good enough. He said that the new one has a better camera, but he just wanted to have the newest model. I hear that a lot, from friends, acquaintances or just people in my network.

The increase in offering of electronic products has converted most consumers in superficial buyers. Most people don’t understand the technical specs of the products they buy, but somehow seem compelled to keep with the lates technologies. There’s a lot of marketing black magic going on which is very effective in bewitching people to think they need a faster CPU, but I feel people lost their sense of pragmatism. What was once essential for survival has now become the most docile of the senses.

I also feel that most of this superficial consumerism if fuelled by a declining appreciation for craftsmanship and engineering. People seem to think that all products are made by a machine and assembled automatically with the press of a button. As such they are more careless with their belongings, when they can always get a new one around the corner. 

Just because automation exists doesn’t mean that there is less passion and work invested in building a product. Even if it’s built by machines, there are armies of very intelligent people who put together everything from building the assembly robots, to sourcing the right materials, to building the components, to coming up with the best designs, …. (go for a walk) …. to writing the software running on it, just so we can do something as trivial as reading the news or watching funny cat videos on the toilet seat in the morning.

While most products are built with planned obsolesce in mind, I think giving more appreciation to the work invested in building your laptop or phone etc. would extend the lifespan of electronics by a significant margin. Taking a moment to perceive the different levels of work put into your devices would make your experience with it even more meaningful.

We used to take pride in quality products which can last a lifetime. What happened to that? Now it seems that some of us feel ashamed if our phone is one or two releases behind.

The most sustainable product is the one you already own.

P.S.: I’m writing this article on a 2013 MacBook Pro. I even use it for coding, and guess what? It works just fine. Getting a newer model won’t make me a better blogger or developer. 

Melancholy of a space traveler

With the progression of years I sometimes find myself in melancholic reflection of the good old days. The irony being that I never knew I was living the good old days until many suns have set upon them. 

Isn’t this the irony of the human condition? Always stuck in the past, endlessly thinking of a better future. What about now? Plenty of things going on at the moment. Maybe it’s too much and we want to escape, or maybe we think it’s not enough and we want more. Finding balance feels like an illusion. There is no balance. There is no gravity. We’re just floating in space. Dark. Cold. Silent. Void. 

But even floating in space can be a thing to live for. A source of joy, a source of life. The important thing is that we don’t stand still. Where there is movement there is life, any experienced space traveler knows that. That’s rule number one. Rule number two, never travel alone.

After some reflection, I steady myself as I’m drifting along and set a course for the next star I shall conquer. I can only hope that in a few years I’ll find myself longing for this period of my life as much as I do now for the good old days.