My point is not, my point has never been, that “zero indexing is bad”. My point is “believing and repeating uninterrogated stories because they sounded plausible to you” is bad, and I’m saying that because it’s really, really bad.
“We’re doing this like this because it just makes sense” is not just the general shape of made up stories I see programmers and engineers telling themselves all the goddamn time. It’s a habit that opens an attack surface on your soul. Smart people who’ve fallen in the habit of believing and retelling just-so stories about why things are the way they are, stories that are easy to digest and repeat, are incredibly easy to manipulate into building monstrosities, ignoring structural and systemic injustices, and acting in service of forces they don’t even realize exist because their little constructed reality seems to hold itself together.
Stories are weapons. I don’t know how to say this loud enough. Software is quite literally an idea that you’ve taken out of your head and turned into a machine, a set of decisions and parameters that you, as a programmer, impose on people who will have little or no say in the matter. It is ideology and bias turned into power. If you’re happy to repeat things you’ve heard without caring about whether or not they’re true, what are you?
Because this is where antivaxxers come from. This how the cryptocurrency cultists can bring themselves to believe their racist monkey cartoons are worth anything or ending fiat currency will stop war or any amount of all the other bullshit they believe while they’re destroy the planet and the lives of the people on it. This is why the world’s worst despots have buildings full of people spending all day on the far end of a VPN pretending to be Michigan soccer moms or Boston Antifa or Alberta Gun-Owners Rights advocates or any goddamn thing that helps them pour kerosene on anything that might set a democracy on fire. This is how smart, young developers can convince themselves that their work is morally and politically neutral while building the algorithms that, oops, hand a megaphone to fascists and turn explicit racism into implicit policy.
An extended quote from blarg. Emphasis in original - but read that third paragraph again and modify it to your situation. News and journalism, art, photography, videography, raising children. The things we do are based in our ideology.
There’s a certain habit of mind that assumes that thoughts aren’t real, or have no effect on the real world until they become actions. It tries to separate the world of the mind and the world into distinct realms. I get the sense that this is part of what Mike Hoye is getting at. We are products of our thoughts, as they underlay our decisions and actions. Accepting a story or a belief is an invitation to possession by that reality and its consequences.
Imagine you are told, as a young child, something untrue, something small. “Chipmunks are baby squirrels.” This will probably have a marginal effect on your life until you mention it to your first crush while walking in a park and they laugh at your naivety. This small lie has shaped your worldview on squirrels and chipmunks; maybe you wonder why you rarely see squirrels caring for chipmunks or why they seem to live apart. You might build an imaginary ecology in your mind, just a thought, of squirrels as bad parents or chipmunks as particularly capable youngsters.
Imagine another scenario where you are told that girls are bad at math or people of a certain skin color are lazy because of their melanin. Imagine how it would effect your worldview.
When we pass on stories there is an obligation to truth. I don’t know if it is worse to pass an idea that we know is false or one we don’t care of its falseness. Is Q a worse person if they believe the conspiracies or if they are just trolling or if they don’t believe and inciting for control? (maybe a bad example - they are garbage regardless).
It’s something we constantly need to remind ourselves of: stories and beliefs are an “attack surface on our soul” and a means of possession and in the end the individual is ultimately responsible for their own foundational beliefs, for our own thoughts and ideology.