To Fire 3/3/08

How are you doing? I’ve started War and Peace – so far it’s a lot more readable than I expected. I take the bus to work and it’s a long ride so I get to do a lot of library-book reading.

How is your studying going? Are you extending your computer science training or going in a different direction?

2 Responses to “To Fire 3/3/08”

  1. fire Says:

    Where are you working now? Do you enjoy it? Are you learning new things? It is important to always be learning something new. Because if we’re not moving forward as a person, we are moving backward… there is no standing in place because everything around you moves ahead.

    I am in the computer engineering department but I found a nice little niche of user interface design which may be my thesis or project area. This summer I will be teaching for the first time. It’s exciting and scary!

  2. briankoontz Says:

    I’m working at the Meijer’s in South Bend, IN. I’m learning plenty of new things, and have this to add to your commentary on learning:

    It’s not a matter of learning or not learning but of the context and structure in which such learning or not learning takes place. For example, a person in a box can learn all that he can, but he is constrained by the box. Everyone learns at a similar rate, what differs are the constraints, the context, and the structures which regulate them.

    You may find this difficult to believe, but there is very little difference in intelligence between poor people, the middle class, and rich people. I study everyone I come into contact with, and that is my analysis. The only thing that lowers the mean average intelligence of poor people is the considerably higher presence of mental retardation in that economic class. I’ve had some time to spend studying those people (mild versions) and what I see is not so much lower intelligence (ostensibly what defines them according to mainstream society) but social ostracization. That is to say, they are shunned from normal social contact (peer contact) and therefore a whole host of results follow: despair, loneliness, reduced contextual learning, and therefore in a sense reduced intelligence.

    Leaving them aside (after all, everyone else does) and moving to regular poor people, these people are just as intelligent as the middle class and a whole lot less pretentious and self-worshiping, but they are certainly far less educated. They know a lot less about the world, precisely because there is no need for them to learn about the world since they have no ability to affect it. It’s an utter tragedy that the middle class condemns the poor for “lack of education” while not recognizing that it’s not in their interests to be educated, since it’s not education that produces an elevation to the middle class but rather *accreditation* that does such, and accreditation is a matter of money and being put under a certain type of social control, both of which the poor don’t have and in the latter case, don’t want.

    Poor people are not lazy nor are they self-abusive. They aren’t workers because they like to work (relative to members of other classes) but rather because they have no choice. In fact, the poor dislike the work *they* do more than the middle class dislikes the work the middle class does, because the work the poor do is manual, repetitive, mindless, and demeaning. The vast majority of the workers at Meijer’s (90%+) could be doing far more difficult work, but those jobs are taken up by people with more accreditation and social connections. The concept that poor people work crappy jobs because that is all they are qualified for is middle class self-serving fantasy.

    Poor people love money. But there’s some things they love more, like self-respect and empathy. Poor people don’t sell themselves out to become further propagandized in order to receive higher wages.

    What I’m telling you you’ll never find in any college textbook, but you probably already know that. After all, college textbooks are never written by poor people and perhaps more importantly, they are never written FOR poor people.

    The sad thing about poor people besides their abject poverty is that they, like the rich and the middle class, are propaganda victims. I spend one hour a day while at work in the Meijer’s break room, and many of the people there watch television, and a fair amount of them enjoy the extremely demeaning “reality court TV” shows. These are the descendants of Judge Judy, a patronizing holier-than-thou speaker-from-on-high. Some recognize that these shows are abusing poor people. Others don’t. Still others understand the abuse but since many of the abused on TV are black, the white workers don’t mind.

    There is a large amount of racism among the poor. I’m really surprised by that, and it shows how viciously effective the monstrous system of capitalism is at producing classism. There are two main reasons for racism among the poor (ignorance is not one of them) – the effects of elite propaganda (minor) and the effects of poverty (major). That is to say, white workers enjoy racism since it ensures that whatever meager pay and jobs they get come easier if the blacks and latinos are put below them on the social and economic scale. Latinos, much like the mentally retarded, are social outcasts among the poor whites and blacks.

    Poor people appreciate and are fairly knowledgeable about popular culture (not compared to internet media freaks however) but are otherwise very ignorant. The sum total of the political knowledge of all workers at the South Bend Meijer’s probably equals my own. I’ve heard defenses of John McCain that made my stomach curl, not so much because John McCain is a monster but that for a poor person to support John McCain is the equivalent of political suicide.

    I can’t stress enough that it’s not a lack of some trait (intelligence, sociability, etc.) that produces poverty, but poverty that produces a lack of some traits. Poverty *produces* despair which in turn leads to all kinds of problems. Whatever other problems poor people have, they’re made ten times worse by the many outcomes of being poor – that is to say simply giving them more money will solve most of their problems. That’s why I now support a living wage (rather than a minimum wage).

    The existence of poor people within a rich society is itself a social crime – a crime of the state for which the state must be held accountable.

    Are you teaching computer engineering?

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