Roman Lisp

You’ve met the Steam Lisp.  Now meet vitrium flexile, the Roman Lisp:

“… there was an artificer once who made a glass goblet that would not break. So he was admitted to Caesar’s presence to offer him his invention; then, on receiving the cup back from Caesar’s hands, he dashed it down on the floor. Who so startled as Caesar?  but the man quietly picked up the goblet again, which was dinted as a vessel of bronze might be. Then taking a little hammer from his pocket, he easily and neatly knocked the goblet into shape again. This done, the fellow thought he was as good as in heaven already, especially when Caesar said to him, ‘Does anybody else besides yourself understand the manufacture of this glass?’ But lo! on his replying in the negative, Caesar ordered him to be beheaded, because if once the secret became known, we should think no more of gold than of so much dirt.”

The question of whether or not vitrium flexile might have actually existed is beside the point.  The real question ought to be: what keeps a legend like this alive for thousands of years?  What makes the reaction of Tiberius Caesar so believable? Could it be the fact that, then as now, a great many people are unable to distinguish work from production?

Most people might laugh at the idea of rewarding a house painter for using a toothbrush in place of a paint brush.  And yet there are many who eagerly take on the role of this painter when they call for “job creation” and praise “job creating technologies.”

A “job creating” technology is a loss, not a win.

It is a field of wheat burning, a book burning, a glass breaking, again and again and again.  Forever.  Or until the madness stops.

It is a faucet out of which drips death, in little man-hour-sized drops.

Every minute which you spend babysitting a process which could have been automated, you could have been reading a book, writing a symphony, proving a theorem, playing with your children, listening to birdsong.  Being alive.

And if this isn’t true under the economic system you believe in, throw it in the trash where it belongs and forget it like a bad dream. Go find another which isn’t toxic to human life.

This entry was written by Stanislav , posted on Tuesday November 22 2011 , filed under Books, Hot Air, Lisp, NonLoper, Philosophy, SoftwareSucks . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

4 Responses to “Roman Lisp”

  • Korath_3 says:

    I used to think this way, that technology reducing the amount of work having to be done could be a good thing if society responded with reduced working hours instead of increased unemployment. But back then I failed to realize that automation doesn’t just mean less work to be done, it also means more specialized work – less specialized jobs are both more feasible to automate and give larger savings for doing so. How do you avoid screwing over people who don’t have a talent that’s still in high demand?

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