Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Beta Machine

Because I'm working from the road right now, I've got my laptop in a coffee shop. There's nothing wrong with this from time to time. In fact, I'm quite enjoying the peace of sitting here, sipping a cup of quite good coffee, listening to my "Little People" Pandora station. Definitely something to keep to small doses though.

As I've been sitting here I've noticed my posture getting more and more hunched. It's very difficult to keep open, commanding body language when you are hunched over a laptop. Right now, for instance, I am sitting back in my chair, with my legs wide open. But my shoulders are still tight, for the simple reason that in order for both my hands to reach the little keyboard, I have to tuck my elbows in to my sides.

Why are coffee-shop laptop warriors such silly beta dweebs? I think it's a bit of a chicken-and-egg dilemma. Are they spindly little dweebs because they spend all day with earbuds in their ears, the only illumination on their faces coming from an Apple laptop? Or are do they choose lives that keep them in that position because they are betas at heart? My guess is, a little from column A, a little from column B.

Just a reminder to folks if you find yourself doing too much of that coffee shop laptop crap in your life. There are trees that need chopping out there, animals that need butchering, roads that need building, whiskey that needs drinking, and pussy that needs deep-dicking.

The alternative is letting your identity getting wrapped up inside a little flimsy piece of humming plastic. If you find yourself frustrated a lot, open your horizons. The endgame if you don't?

19 comments:

  1. I just thought it would be apt to point out I'm writing this hunched over a laptop in a coffee shop. Studying Crito no less.

    ReplyDelete
  2. "As I've been sitting here I've noticed my posture getting more and more hunched. It's very difficult to keep open, commanding body language when you are hunched over a laptop. Right now, for instance, I am sitting back in my chair, with my legs wide open. But my shoulders are still tight, for the simple reason that in order for both my hands to reach the little keyboard, I have to tuck my elbows in to my sides."

    That's part of the reason why I don't use laptops.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Studying Crito no less.

    Crito Crito, or Crito Plato?

    That's part of the reason why I don't use laptops.

    Yeah, they are damned convenient, and that's why I own one. But to the degree any convenience impinges on your manhood, it's a bad thing.

    Convenience is a feature, not an excuse. Other convenient things include snuggies, Oreo snack packs, and adult diapers. One must draw the line somewhere.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Good post. I have a bad habit of doing this. The laptop also serves as a barrier between you and other people. It's like a great big "do not disturb" sign. Much worse than ear buds even.

    I need to get in the habit of reading actual books again, at least when I'm at the coffee shop.

    ReplyDelete

  5. I need to get in the habit of reading actual books again, at least when I'm at the coffee shop.


    An elderly woman took me warmly by the hand the other day when I was reading a book in a coffee shop and said, "No one reads books anymore!" and smiled and held up her own book. Four or five people around me, including a couple of young women, looked at us and smiled and then, hemming and hawing as if nothing had happened, went back to their laptops. I winked at the old woman.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Plato's Crito; I had to read it in conjunction with Euthyphro and Apologia.

    Re: drawing the line at convenience.

    Modernity is a funny thing. There's necessary reaction to it, and an instinctive and safe clinging to what we're familiar with. We always tend to romanticize the "old way", which we commonly confuse with the more virtuous way. It's kind of terrifying when we examine technology in a real sense because there doesn't seem to be much reaction to it as there should be, especially amongst my demographic (Gen Y).

    For example: books are wonderful. But Kindle? Is there a material difference between a physical text and Kindle?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Uh, I omitted a section of my last comment that should be there:

    Why is there a general villification of advancement though? Anti-modernity is just as silly as blanket liberalism.

    ReplyDelete
  8. At the risk of overcommenting, I need to revise my thought:

    Modernity is necessarily relativist. However, there can be practical overlay amongst objective categories, or categories universally thought of as good. I suggest a Platonic dialogue to outline the boundaries of laziness and efficiency. Where is the semantic distinction?

    Laptops are convienent. I think the point where it takes more work/cost to avoid doing something easily achieved via a simpler method demarcates laziness. Snuggies are ridiculous contraptions not better solved by a blanket. Desktop computers can no way compare in size, portability, or the mazimization of general utility.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Sofia:

    Good points, and I think I agree for the most part. But you may be slipping up a tiny bit when you use the Amount of Work Required as the metric for embracing/refusing convenience. My whole "manliness" metric is based on the idea that sometimes (very, very often) hard work is salutary. We have entire industries devoted now to simulating hard work for the precise reason that so many people feel it achingly absent in their lives (nature hiking as a recreative endeavor that for some reason now requires 200 dollar aluminum poles would have been unthinkable 100 years ago). Weight lifting is not necessary if you have to lift lots of heavy things in your job.

    Of course, I don't want to overstate the case. I indulge in myriad conveniences every day, including, lest we lose sight, the aforementioned laptop. My point is, for me, the dividing line has less to do with "Does it Actually Save Me Time?" (which is a useful metric, as you point out), but rather more to do with "Does it Actually Enrich My Life?" with the unstated assumption that my own particular Dogenical life is really, really fucking important and precious and anything that cheapens it, aesthetically or morally or economically, had better damn well repay me FULLY in another department. Otherwise, fuck it, I'm chucking the Duraflames and off to chop wood.

    Thanks for commenting. Interesting points.

    PS: It probably goes without saying, given the subject matter of this blog, but my favorite dialogue would have to be the Symposium [sic on the "dia"logue].

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm sorry: The Republic is the best dialogue/text ever written - taking blog subject matter into consideration and all.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Spoken like a true aristocrat. God bless you.

    ReplyDelete
  12. At further risk of polluting your comments section: do you have a philosophy degree or is it just a well-cultivated hobby for you?

    ReplyDelete
  13. Dogen - what do you do?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Something on the West Coast apparently since it's 830 in Connecticut, not 530

    ReplyDelete
  15. I am surprised nobody has commented on the video yet. It's fucking amazing.

    Great post, Master Dogen.

    ReplyDelete
  16. do you have a philosophy degree or is it just a well-cultivated hobby for you?

    Just a poorly-cultivated hobby.

    Dogen - what do you do? ... Something on the West Coast

    I am an entrepreneur and a consultant for a little niche industry. I'm on the West Coast right now, but that's cause I am traveling.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I couldn't watch the entire video because the resolution sucked ass.

    What is this, 2003?

    ReplyDelete
  18. yeah this is coming from a guy who writes a gay little "internet blog." lol douche!

    ReplyDelete