Wednesday, May 25, 2005

When I get into the subway in the morning I walk into a crowd, often bunched near the doorways, leaving space in the middle of the train. A scientific study of group behavior might be used to develop train designs that limit this behavior, but it would also help if people were taught to be more observant and aware of each other. Science, or rather the Chicago school of socioeconomic behavioral studies, reduces everyone to the level of mass idiocy in the name of democracy and freedom.  This fosters a sort of hard superiority of the rational mind: all subjectivity being equal, what's left is rationality as defined in very limited terms and its opposite. For various reasons I prefer the soft superiority of the sympathetic imagination, the imagination of curiosity, that knows there are others in the room, maybe even superior to you.

Steve Levitt has the voice in his writing of enthusiastic and emotionally immature adolescence. His cutesy tone is cringe inducing. He exhibits the sort of imagination that argues the superiority of technical knowledge, the only sort he has, over the description of sense. It's the sort of imagination that ignores, represses, the speaking subject in favor of the spoken, the sort of that's unaware of or blitely indifferent to its own biases

Laurence Lessig is the same, but now I have a better idea where it came from. Lessig, like Levitt, is interested only in the mechanics of communication, not in the thing communicated. I wouldn't care if it weren't for the fact that he passes off one as the other.
Childhood trauma does strange things. It deadens you.

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