Thursday, March 5, 2009

Humanity, Suffering, and Software

Just finished watching Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu on Craig Ferguson's show tonight. Mr. Ferguson is a recent discovery of mine since going down to basic cable. His off the cuff style hits my funny bone just right. But tonight I was hit in a different place. For the better, I believe.

Father Tutu was questioned about the motivations behind forgiveness in the face of unspeakable humanity. His answer involved describing the inherent intertwining of our humanity, and that any practice that dehumanized an other will have a reciprocal affect on the dehumanizing agent. It was incredible to watch someone who spoke with passion, precision, and humility about the betterment of life through love and forgiveness; that aspiring to the better parts of ourselves is a noble endeavor. He left the usually talkative Craig speechless. He is a peacemaker in every sense of the word.

And after this, I read James Bach's blog entry on how quality is dead. Long live quality! I will not attempt to summarize, but James' thoughts are lucid and illuminating as usual. Please read it. Now, James would be the first to say that he can be argumentative. If he is a peacemaker, it may come about only after much heated debate.

Sometimes when my mind encounters a striking dissimilarity between two things, I seek to find their commonality. What does software quality have to do with Apartheid? And so it is late enough at night for me to entertain the relationship between these two seemingly disparate media events and their perpetrators. To explore the connection between Father Tutu's cause and James Bach's cause.

Perhaps James' observations speak to a very small kind of oppression forced upon us by a culture intoxicated by its technology (in-techno-cated?). Perhaps Father Tutu's response to a particularly nasty, high severity problem ( i.e., Evil ), and his subsequent success, is a valuable model to combat the present state of affairs.

Both ideas seem to be crying out for change that benefits everyone, but are dealing with entities reticent to change because, well, there's no incentive to change; reduced quality does not hurt the 'haves'. And these entities fervently believe that nothing is wrong, that things are actually improving.

It seems to me that restoring a proper perspective is a shared idea in both issues. It is good to see ourselves as humans again - linked to each other in inexplicable ways that technology and government cannot improve upon. To begin thinking of what the word "enough" really means. In both contexts. Bringing awareness to the greater community begins to break the cycle. It all reminds me of something my Pastor father told me one time: "Some demons are killed immediately, others are starved to death." Change comes, only the velocity varies.

I'll end my philosophical waxing here because I think it is a bit disrespectful for me to equate the plight of human suffering in Darfur/South Africa with proprietary protocol failures between Tivo and Dish Network.

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