Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Start your day a little bit better...

I'll be giving a workshop this fall on "Playing in the Digital Darkroom," so as we wandered around the countryside this weekend I found myself, not just taking pictures, but imagining fun ways to alter the images.

This one is an old chevy I caught at a car show in Port Gamble; mostly I've just played with the warp command to bring out the parts of the image I like and de-emphasize the less dramatic ones.

Which is also how I dressed this morning, given that our daughter showed up after midnight last night with some extra house guests: instead of wandering around in my bathrobe I'm in jeans and a baggy shirt, looking a little younger and more approachable than I usually do at this time of day ...

I'm thinking this is also how we look at truth, history -- any experiences or facts we have feelings about: we always tend to emphasize the parts we like, the parts that look good, and downplay the less appealing bits...

What I like about the folks in the world who are NOT all that great at social thinking -- I'm thinking of people like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg, men who have made astounding changes in the way we think about and look at the world -- is that they tend to be less interested in this sort of manipulation.  I'm thinking particularly of a sentence I read this morning in a letter Mark Zuckerberg sent to his investors:

"Hacker culture is also extremely open and meritocratic. Hackers believe that the best idea and implementation should always win — not the person who is best at lobbying for an idea or the person who manages the most people."

We tend to think of hackers as bad guys, but (since I'm sort of married to one; he just hacks FOR companies rather than AGAINST them) I have to say that, for the most part, I appreciate this clarity of motive.  We do have a family story, however, that illustrates the downside of all that honesty: While at a family gathering, my brother-in-law complimented his daughter on her clothing, and I said, "Wow, a Walker who can exchange compliments!"

"What, your husband doesn't compliment you?" his socially gifted brother asked.

"Um, not really," I replied.

"Oh," he said, "That's because he's an engineer.  Engineers can't lie."


So maybe this habit humans have of dressing up the truth a little is not a totally bad thing.  The question -- as always -- is this: where do we draw the line?

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