My programming language is better than yours 

Realizing I prefer javascript (despite it being slow!) because it carries a "promethean fire" esthetic. It's designed to make it really easy for a beginner and then lack of a rich standard library encourages a "everybody build a piece" attitude.

This is a deep philosophical question: If we're improving every day, then Prometheus is a hero (but so is the snake), if we're degenerating (Plato, Bannon) then Promethius is a Sorcerers' Apprentice.

My programming language is better than yours 

@cjd Unfortunately, people keep building the same pieces over and over. And they build tiny pieces, stick them into NPM, then use a weak password, get phished, sell their account, or get angry and delete their package, breaking everything else.

To say nothing of the joy of dependencies that suddenly develop conflicting dependencies.

My programming language is better than yours 

@freakazoid
I get it, I personally really like libraries written in C because I know the programmer passed a minimum bar of entry... But without JavaScript the majority of js developers would not suddenly become excellent Haskell programmers, they would probably not be developers at all. So from the perspective of the whole industry (or society at large) I think more developers are better, even if they're worse πŸ˜‰

My programming language is better than yours 

@cjd @freakazoid
Only if those mediocre developers don't create negative externalities.

My programming language is better than yours 

@Wolf480pl @freakazoid
That's basically the fundamental question. Prometheus stole fire from the gods to help humans, who certainly were worse at using it than the gods.

So is Prometheus a hero or a villain ?

If Prometheus is a hero, it's hard to avoid concluding that the snake in the genesis story is also the hero.

But if Prometheus is the villain then it's hard not to reason yourself into Anarcho-Primitivism.

My programming language is better than yours 

@cjd @freakazoid
IMO, you're generalizing too much.

Each of those cases is different, and it might be quite possible that giving people fire is ok, but giving them asbestos isn't. Where does JS lie on the fire-asbestos spectrum?

My programming language is better than yours 

@cjd @freakazoid
Also, I don't understand why you equate what the snake did with what Prometheus did.

The snake gave people freedom. It pushed them out of choicelessness. Made them realize that things don't have to be the way they are, and that everything has a reason. That it makes sense to ask "why".

The snake is clearly a hero (or a tool in God's hands, whichever you prefer).

Well ok, if you are an anarcho-primitivism you may argue that choicelessness is a good thing and the snake is a villain, but otherwise, I don't see why you couldn't have a choiceless fire-using society which worships Prometheus and hates Snake, or a society in systematic mode which doesn't use fire or any higher technology.

My programming language is better than yours 

@Wolf480pl @cjd Couple of things: first, I think it's instructive to view these stories in terms of the goals the people teaching them had through the ages. It's not like people started with Prometheus and the snake and then decided how to interpret them; they had the thing they wanted to teach and then came up with (originally) or decided to use the stories to get across whatever they wanted to get across.

My programming language is better than yours 

@cjd @Wolf480pl Second, (and now I'm doing exactly the opposite of what I just said), fire (or more to the point cooking) dates back to H. erectus, and it's almost certain that H. sapiens never could have evolved without it. Any hypothetical society without fire would have had to discard it and would need to live in a pretty favorable location to be able to obtain sufficient nutrition without cooking.

My programming language is better than yours 

@Wolf480pl @cjd In other words, Prometheus pre-dates not just Snake but the Garden of Eden, if you think the Garden of Eden was populated by H. sapiens.

It's possible the hunting of big game (and thus war, since big game hunting doesn't seem otherwise beneficial) started with H. sapiens, which would point to the Garden of Eden being populated by H. erectus and Prometheus preceding it.

My programming language is better than yours 

@cjd @Wolf480pl Actually big game hunting was probably precipitated by an ice age, then continued afterward because groups that stayed good at it were better able to kill other people as well, so anyone who went back to small game as soon as they could got killed or joined the groups (potentially involuntarily) who hunted big game.

My programming language is better than yours 

@Wolf480pl @cjd Hmm, I guess that assertion obliterates anarcho-primitivism, doesn't it? If H. sapiens is defined by big game hunting and war, then there was never a time that didn't have organized violence.

Which is not to say we shouldn't abandon war, just that link between war and civilization doesn't go the direction anarcho-primitivists think it does. In fact, agriculture and civilization would have *reduced* violence.

My programming language is better than yours 

@cjd @Wolf480pl Since human history shows a long term, steady decline in death by violence in concert with the growth of agriculture, industry, urbanization, and technology generally, I'd say anarcho-primitivism has it exactly backward.

My programming language is better than yours 

@freakazoid @cjd
I wonder how Mongol Hordes fit into this picture.

My programming language is better than yours 

@Wolf480pl

Not sure about how this picture is framed.

Why does hunting big game = war

Also I dont think agricultural societies = peaceful societies.
Theres been very violent societies that practiced agriculture also hunter/gatherers that weren't aggressive. Also, as suggested, the inverse.
@freakazoid @cjd

My programming language is better than yours 

@dazinism @cjd @Wolf480pl It's just a theory I once read as to why humans have hunted big game for so long even when it was not the most efficient way to get protein that was available to them. The tools and techniques of big game hunting also work well for killing people. It could certainly be wrong, but nomadic hunter-gatherer groups that came in contact would have been competitors more than, say, nomadic herders.

My programming language is better than yours 

@Wolf480pl @cjd @dazinism And agrarians aren't nomadic, so they would only run into other agrarians if they were trying to expand their territory or had to move for whatever reason.

Of course, agriculture was a prerequisite for large scale war, but I think the scale of such wars was more than offset by the much reduced frequency. On average, of course.

My programming language is better than yours 

@dazinism @cjd @Wolf480pl Agriculture also created the surplus necessary to have a ruling class, and the dominance that came with that, of course. I just had that long monologue thread about agriculture and feudalism. But it also created the surplus necessary for trade.

My programming language is better than yours 

@freakazoid
All sounds like a rather bleak theory of the human condition, where out of group interactions are driven only by harsh utility

Is this theory based primarily on one thing you read, (do you recall what?)

I like to think that theres always been more possible reasons/options for interaction than just trade or war- certainly for me this is the case.
I think that theres evidence that this has also been the case historically
@cjd @Wolf480pl

My programming language is better than yours 

@dazinism @Wolf480pl @cjd The link between big game hunting and warfare is, but many games and sports are pretty clearly practice for warfare as well. There are numerous sources that say nomadic hunter-gatherer groups tended to kill one another when they ran into each other, too. American tribes certainly were not peaceful, at least in some areas, presumably where there was resource contention.

My programming language is better than yours 

@cjd @Wolf480pl @dazinism I don't consider steady progress toward peace to be a bleak theory at all. The notion of falling from grace and everything steadily going to shit while a small fraction of us act as Cassandras is what's bleak.

My programming language is better than yours 

@dazinism @Wolf480pl @cjd Speaking of warfare, one of the best warrior groups ever was the Mongols, who learned to hunt with bows on horseback. They never would have bothered if they were eating rabbits and squirrels and herding sheep, which would have kept them from sweeping through Europe and giving many of us their genes.

My programming language is better than yours 

@cjd @Wolf480pl @dazinism There's a chance herders were less warlike than hunters just because grass tended to be a more plentiful resource, and branding (a technology!) was a pretty good way to avoid conflict over who an animal belonged to. Theft of animals would presumably have been an issue, though.

My programming language is better than yours 

@dazinism @Wolf480pl @cjd Also, I don't think Pax Romana is just Roman propaganda. One can argue whether it was worth the cost, but I think there's pretty good evidence it was indeed more peaceful than what came before. Though what came before included both settled agricultural society and nomadic ones.

And the nomadic ones are who took it down when it started rotting from the inside out.

My programming language is better than yours 

@cjd @Wolf480pl @dazinism (I think people who believe the invasion/infiltration by nomadic groups was the root cause of the fall of the Roman Empire, rather than just the result of its decay, tend to be Trump supporters.)

My programming language is better than yours 

@dazinism @Wolf480pl @cjd OH! I guess one can conclude from this is that *organized* violence is more efficient, so you can get away with less of it.

Though it's more complicated than that. It's the careful application of violence to create some kind of rule of law.

Which, by the way, is how Triad gangs avoid killing one another. "Shows of force", which don't involve actual violence.

My programming language is better than yours 

@cjd @Wolf480pl @dazinism This also makes politics, as Heinlein said (IIRC), "The art of not killing one another."

My programming language is better than yours 

@dazinism @Wolf480pl @cjd It also makes the claim by some libertarians that government is bad because it's "backed by violence" self-contradictory. Backed by violence is clearly better than having violence as the only tool. Which is why using armed police as anything but a last resort is a super bad idea.

And, of course, figuring out how to get people to cooperate with one another on their own is even better.

My programming language is better than yours 

@freakazoid @cjd @dazinism From my limited experience, libertarians are more like "govt is bad because it has monopoly on violence, and monopoly is bad", or "if govt is allowed to hold me at gunpoint, why am I not allowed to hold govt at gunpoint?". Don't remember them claiming that "voilence is bad, and govt is backed by violence, so govt is bad".

My programming language is better than yours 

@Wolf480pl @dazinism @cjd As a former libertarian I heard (and made) this argument all the time.

Libertarians generally don't have a problem with monopoly as long as no "force" (in the narrow libertarian definition) is involved in maintaining it.

My programming language is better than yours 

@cjd @dazinism @Wolf480pl I should have said their problem isn't with violence in general but with the "initiation of force". With them deciding what constitutes force and its initiation, of course. So, not paying your taxes isn't force because you never agreed to pay them in the first place, at least not without duress, but throwing you in jail for not paying your taxes is.

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My programming language is better than yours 

@freakazoid @dazinism @cjd
at least their definition seems to be symmetric. Imagine how fun it'd be if they said that "randomly shooting a policeman on the street is not initiation of force".

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