Saturday, October 23, 2010

Objectivism

I like being curious. A number of great things come from it. I constantly come across interesting ideas and have my own ideas challenged. Today, on a whim (a prompting? likely...), I asked a guy from the RIT Objectivist society to describe objectivism for me. It's a good idea, and comes the nearest I've seen to creating a sound moral system without reference to an intentional lawgiver. Basically, objectivism takes rationality, and specifically rational pursuit of what is rationally good for oneself, as good. It fails, mainly on two counts:

It's circular. It insists that rationality is the highest good because it leads to altruism, fairness, liberty, and justice, which "we can all agree" are good. But this being philosophy, we have to demonstrate that they are good, upon which the objectivist insists they are rational, therefore they are good. This demonstrates objectivism's failure as a philosophy.

People aren't rational. This should be obvious to anyone whose interaction extends beyond people they agree with. Very few debates are ever kept rational, and interacting with the average person on the street will show you just how little people care about logic. This isn't to say rationality isn't a good or the good, simply that it's unattainable on the whole and thus objectivism is unrealistic as a societal system.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Focus, Procrastination, and Overdesign

So tonight/this morning I finally accomplished a major task that has needed to be done since this summer, and had an absolute deadline of tomorrow evening. This, my friends, is procrastination at it's finest. Not that I'm proud of that, but I think I know why it happens.

With a deadline far off, I overthink and overdesign things, and then get frustrated. When I get frustrated, I lose focus and look for the first distraction. Being up against a deadline somehow eliminates overdesigning. I can't design anymore, I just do. My code flows out of my mind into the computer, I find bugs quickly, and solve problems on a dime. Suddenly I'm a model of efficiency.

Now if I could replicate that focus when I'm not up against a deadline, it would be great. Tricky, yes, but now that I have this realization and know what to look for, maybe I can find a way to focus well before deadlines.