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Re: Aaron is dead.

From: adasal <adam.saltiel@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 13 Jan 2013 02:28:23 +0000
Message-ID: <CANJ1O4oHuOCfZfrDKiVs9jZCXTjCc2tCngDFCtYrTbFJ6S4O4g@mail.gmail.com>
To: Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>
Cc: Tim Berners-Lee <timbl@w3.org>, SW-forum Web <semantic-web@w3.org>, TAG List <www-tag@w3.org>
Just read through referenced Cory Doctorow obit plus all comments and then
watched the video.
Aaron Swartz was extremely bright, very charismatic and also very funny.
I believe that much of what he says and how he says it confirms my thoughts
about this.
Some of which are in a comment I reproduce below:-

> Yes, very sad to say, suicide is an act aimed at ending pain.
> There are a few other steps on the way here that should be mentioned.
> Alienation - numbness or not feeling anything.
> Unfortunately absorption in the abstract technical domain of the internet
> can seem to be the thing to lift a person out of their depression, but it
> isn't in itself sentient. It can act as an avenue for escape from feeling,
> from painful feeling, as much as a receptacle perceived as full of hope.
> I imagine this is what Aaron Swartz was doing: alternately escaping into
> 'internet space' to escape pain and then imbuing it with all his human hope
> for some satisfying (ideal) form of contact.
> There is much to say about this.
> The internet is an new medium, it is a new form by which people may may
> contact, and it may take part in new or innovative ways in which people
> organise themselves. Look at Cory's quote from Aaron Swartz above.
> But the internet is also a vehicle through which people are exploited and
> manipulated (more, less, different) as other media.
> And it is highly conformist - working with technology demands conformity
> at many different levels.
> This is an important point because people such as Aaron Swartz who have a
> passion to create something different on a social level are really just
> using the internet as a facilitating tool. That tool is very demanding, but
> such people (not to single him out, but as an example as I am on his blog,
> I would think Cory Doctorow is one such) need
> help through some form of reinforcement not to lose sight of the human
> social aspect their endeavor. In few words, the internet can overwhelm the
> human dimension and the human dimension in a person's life should be
> available to them irrespective of the internet domain.
> And, where we are talking about depression there is the difficulty of
> admitting that emotional pain has a lot to do with a denial of feeling,
> which is a fight against oneself and one's own vulnerabilities. It is about
> many other things too. The many details are personal to everyone.
> There is much else that can be said here, too.
> An aspect that I am interested in is the difference between scientific and
> technical endeavor and our own personal endeavor which can also be thought
> of scientifically, but a science of human compassion, not of experiment and
> metrics. Of gain, but not of profit.

Further thoughts are in the direction of understanding his comments about
the tyrant, the internet and the people - who prevail against the tyrant.
The problem is how can the people prevail if there are no people?
To understand what I mean you have to read Cory's quote of Aaron, who
devices a way of gaining voter participation, or is it a way of
manipulating voters into a form of participation?
Aaron, while taling about SOAPA was talking about his own problem (in code
as it were). He wanted to defend the 'freedom to connect', 'people's
freedom to connect'.
But people are not free to connect if they are manipulated.
They maybe manipulated in the direction of the tyrant, or they maybe
manipulated against the tyrant - but the manipulation is still, in its
self, tyrannical.

The internet and technology is not the right place to look for solutions to
these issues.
What is deceptive is that, due to its complexity, its use of (mainly) the
written word between people like this email, and its dealing with knowledge
and the human consumption of such, it seems like it should be.
I am going to push this a bit.
The internet seems like a place where everyone may unite and find peaceable
common cause.
I will not toy with nor trivialise this ideal, but I draw it to your
attention as it exists as much here in this context, as it has in so many
other historical and, of course, spiritual, contexts of disparate people.
Our, non trivial and human, task is to attempt to understand the meaning
and status of those ideals.


On 12 January 2013 23:32, Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org> wrote:

> On 12 January 2013 17:06, Tim Berners-Lee <timbl@w3.org> wrote:
> > Aaron is dead.
> >
> > Wanderers in this crazy world,
> > we have lost a mentor, a wise elder.
> >
> > Hackers for right, we are one down,
> > we have lost one of our own.
> >
> > Nurtures, careers, listeners, feeders,
> > parents all,
> > we have lost a child.
> >
> > Let us all weep.
> >
> >
> > timbl
> "Hello everyone, I'm Aaron. I'm not _that_ much of a coder, (and I
> don't know much Perl) but I do think what you're doing is pretty cool,
> so I thought I'd hang out here and follow along (and probably pester a
> bit)."
> --http://lists.foaf-project.org/pipermail/foaf-dev/2000-August/004214.html
Received on Sunday, 13 January 2013 02:28:51 UTC

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