Tech Intolerance (Part 1)

on November 7, 2013
Reading Time: 5 minutes

There’s something I don’t understand… there is this thing that people do – a lot of people – that I just do not understand and I will likely never understand…it’s been going on for years, almost a decade now, and it just doesn’t make a lick of sense… It didn’t back then… It doesn’t now:

Why do people buy Apple products? (((A)t the end of the day, I just don’t get it… there are droves and droves of otherwise really intelligent and competent human beings out there that will line up for a tablet with a half-eaten fruit on the back… There is no amount of smoothness nor simplicity that is worth opening my wallet twice as wide… This has been called the “Apple tax” for as long as I can remember… It’s absolutely mind-blowing to me that anyone on this Earth and in this economy would buy an iPad mini and pay the Apple tax simply because it’s Apple…At the end of the day, I can’t stop folks from burning money.

If you think the opinions expressed in this article are an aberration, feel free to read the 255-plus comments.))

This is but one example of intolerance. It could easily be reversed and applied to the Apple fan who disparaged Android or to any one of an infinite number of intolerant assertions.

The Twisted Path Of Intolerance

In literature as in love, we are astonished at what is chosen by others.” ~ Andre Maurois

In tech, too, we are astonished at what is chosen by others.

PREMISE: It doesn’t make sense (to me);
THEREFORE: If doesn’t make sense (for anyone).

PREMISE: There is no reason (apparent to me);
THEREFORE: There can be no possible reason.

PREMISE: You are not using (the) reason (I would use);
THEREFORE: You are unreasonable.

PREMISE: Any intelligent person would think and act the way I do;
FACT: You are not thinking and acting the way I do;
THEREFORE: You are not intelligent.

There are two types of people. People like me. And people who want to be like me. ~ The Intolerant Credo

CHECK YOUR PREMISES

Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong. ~ Ayn Rand

  1. Just because we don’t know, doesn’t mean it can’t be known.
  2. Just because we don’t understand, doesn’t mean that it can’t be understood.
  3. Just because we don’t have proof of its existence, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.
  4. Just because we can’t see it, doesn’t mean that it can’t be seen.
  5. Just because we can’t fathom it, does not mean that it is unfathomable.
  6. Just because we don’t get it, doesn’t mean that it can’t be got.
  7. Just because it’s not right for us, doesn’t mean that it’s not right for anyone else.

Frantic orthodoxy is never rooted in faith but in doubt. It is when we are unsure that we are doubly sure. ~ Reinhold Niebuhr

LOCUS

The fundamental contradiction contained in intolerance is one of locus. We don’t understand others. But we can’t be at fault because we are smart. So we employ a form of mental Jujitsu. If we can’t understand you and if we are smart then you must be dumb.

To arrive at a contradiction is to confess an error in one’s thinking; to maintain a contradiction is to abdicate one’s mind and to evict oneself from the realm of reality. ~ Ayn Rand

We do not hear a persuasive argument; we cannot articulate a reason that explains the actions of others; we don’t see sufficient proof to overcome our convictions, so we conclude that OTHERS, not ourselves, are deaf, dumb and blind.

get-a-brain-moransIt is the equivalent of concluding that if we do not understand the theory of relativity, that Einstein must have been a moron. Oh, pardon me — I mean, a ‘moran’.

Money demands that you sell, not your weakness to men’s stupidity, but your talent to their reason. ~ Ayn Rand

THEIR reason, not OUR reason.

INTOLERANCE

For my grandfather, there were two kinds of people in the world:  Those who agreed with him, and those who hadn’t yet agreed with him.” ~ B. Spira

It’s the usual thing of tech obsessives mistaking their tastes for that of wider public. ~ Charles Arthur (@charlesarthur)

Whenever something gets easier for the masses, there will always be a neckbeard there to complain about it. ~ H.C. Marks (@HCMarks)

Intolerance is not about living as we wish to live. It is about asking others to live as we wish to live. ((Inspired by Oscar Wilde))

Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~ Voltaire

The intolerant refuse to grant others the right to think and decide for themselves. And perhaps more importantly, the intolerant refuse to grant others the right to be mistaken.

Freedom is not worth having if it does not connote freedom to err. It passes my comprehension how human beings, be they ever so experienced and able, can delight in depriving other human beings of that precious right. ~ Mohandas Gandhi

The intolerant ask the wrong questions. They ask: “What is right and what is wrong.” But when it comes to personal taste, there is no one single answer to those questions. There are as many answers as there are individuals residing on the planet. It’s not a question of what’s right, it’s a question of what’s right for us.

There are no right answers to wrong questions. ~ Ursula K. Le Guin

— The intolerant place the onus on others.
— The tolerant place the onus on themselves.

— The intolerant ask: Why do you not understand?
— The tolerant ask: Why do I not understand you?

When I don’t understand, I have an unbearable itch to know why. – Robert Heinlein

CHANGE

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.
You can lead a man to knowledge, but you can’t make him think.

You cannot overcome ignorance with knowledge.

The voice of reason is inaudible to irrational people. ~ Dr. Mardy’s Aphorisms

It has been my experience that the less we know, the more certain we become.

The truth is not for all men, but only for those who seek it. ~ Ayn Rand

It’s hard enough to acquire knowledge when we’re actively seeking it. It’s all but impossible to acquire knowledge when we’re actively resisting it.

There is nothing you can’t prove if your outlook is only sufficiently limited.” ~ Dorothy Sayers

Our ability to learn and change is, perhaps, only surpassed by our refusal to do either.

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so. ~ Douglas Adams

SO WHY BOTHER?

Men will always be mad, and those who think they can cure them are the maddest of all. ~ Voltaire

Why bother to counter the Trolls if we know that they are impervious to reason?

I can think of at least two reasons, one noble, one practical. First the noble.

The phrases that men hear or repeat continually, end by becoming convictions and ossify the organs of intelligence. ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

It may sound overdramatic, but I truly do fear the memes of this world. There is reality and perception and in the world of nature, reality is the only thing that matters and perception is merely its shadow. But in the minds of men (and women), the laws of nature can be reversed: the shadow can engulf the substance, and perception can become reality.

It is therefore, in my opinion, crucial that we contest nonsense and falsehoods lest they be perceived as truths merely because they are repeated over and over again.

Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past. ~ George Orwell

Falsehoods must not be sanctioned either in word or in deed, but most insidiously, by one’s silence.

Evil requires the sanction of the victim. ~ Ayn Rand

Next Week

Next week I shift the focus to how we treat our customers — how our intolerance for the very people we are supposed to be serving undermines their satisfaction and sabotages our success. Further, I will attempt to introduce a time-tested method used to counter our all-too-human tendency to disparage our customers.