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Polemic

‘Essential’ flows

By Dave Snowden  ·  January 3, 2015  ·  Polemic

9: Against essentialism, defining potential through action

I fell in love with Philosophy as a subject through reading Plato.  That included the whole metaphor of the Cave which was seductive. The idea that there is some eternal essence from which all reality is derived gives a sense of the eternal. But such fantasies need to be abandoned along with the equally seductive idea (for the teenage male) of Philosopher Kings. These days I stand more with Heraclitus in thinking that everything flows, nothing stands still. To go as far...

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Little Boxes

By Dave Snowden  ·  January 1, 2015  ·  Polemic

7: The dangers of categorisation

The great dystopian novel  Brave New World foresees a future state in which humans are decanted into categories for a well ordered society.  Current literary criticism is starting to suggest that Huxley intended a Utopia but I leave that for the judgement of others.   The novel also includes some of the then progressive ideas of control through drugs, sleep learning and the like.

In one telling passage the pneumatic Lenina says:

Alpha children wear grey. They work much harder than we do,...

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A lick of new paint

By Dave Snowden  ·  December 31, 2014  ·  Polemic

6: Using language without meaning

I’m never sure if this particular fault is deliberate sin, simply going with the flow or simply a failure of critical intelligence but it is all too common. Some current examples include people taking the language of complexity and attaching them to old ideas and practices. There are a group of people both published and unpublished who have ideological beliefs about the nature of human interaction, the role of consultancy and the like. We also see some very naive views of the natural systems...

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Industrialisation of the craft

By Dave Snowden  ·  December 30, 2014  ·  Polemic

5: Taking something of value, but then seeking to industrialise it

While I detest cults I have more sympathy for my fifth target in this series.  There are a lot of things that start off well, but then shift from the capability of an artisan to a fully industrial model in an attempt to scale without the cost of a true apprentice scheme.  The normal approach to mastery is not a short training course, but rather an extended apprenticeship in which mistakes are made as you attempt to copy the master and the stories of those failure...

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The Popinjay

By Dave Snowden  ·  December 28, 2014  ·  Polemic

3: The old ways are evil, I bear the torch of truth and enlightenment

I remember a publisher explaining three strategies for publishing a business book.   One option was the specialist academic book likely to sell to libraries or specialists and published in low volume at high price.  The second type would be priced at a more reasonable rate for the hard back version which would be held for a bit before the paperback version.  Finally we get the short term best seller;  light on content high on popularity.  Here they would be...

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