I’m surfing a rather strange mood right now. I got home from gaming 20 minutes ago, feeling strangely bemused and disappointed with the world, largely for broad social and political reasons than for anything one particular thing.
I’ve been grappling a little of late with the troublesome conflict between ideas of social fairness and communal action versus libertarian ideas of avoiding coercion and maximizing freedom. Both sides offer attractions, but both have drawbacks – freedom and self-determination are desirable, but do they trump the Rawlsian desire for fairness and equality? Always? Never? Sometimes? Where do you draw the line?
Obviously, compromise between the extremes of these positions is necessary, and I know thinkers out there have formulated amalgamations that seem to offer a way forward. My concern is that society at large doesn’t seem able to follow sophisticated hybrid policies, and tends to leap to extremes – we’re either ignoring a problem, or flooding it with ill-considered, wasteful solutions. While the barely competent rule of the fickle crowd is perhaps measured and appropriate for some issues, it seems foolishly slow and indecisive for others.
However, this isn’t all that’s bugging me. Rather, it’s a contributing and compounding factor in a mangled mass of disappointing trends I discern – the tragedy of the commons wrought large on global resources. What happens next?
It seems my attitude towards the future ranges from measured optimism to resigned pessimism. I guess this to be expected – we live in truly interesting times, and I really can’t tell if that’s good or bad.
Maybe I just shouldn’t listen to essays about existential risk when I’m tired..
Finally, it is time to rest.
Last Wednesday, I randomly wandered in to visit Seth‘s office, where he’d just discovered a design competition for applications using Google’s new programmming environment for smart phones, Android. He had an idea of sorts which turned out to be similar to something else I’d been working on, and was keen to enter if he could find people to help write it. It sounded like fun, and I figured it would be nice to learn a bit about the toolkit. Details of our effort are in his blog.
Long story short – after about 70 hours of coding across four days, we submitted our entry this evening. If, through some miracle, we’re in the top 50, we get US$25,000. If not, well, I now know a great deal more about Google Android than I did before I started.
That wasn’t the end of the madness, though – after finishing work on it at about 5pm today, I raced off to the new and improved Christchurch Game Developer’s get together that I had organized with the help of Jeff Nusz from Zodal. Turnout was awesome (20+ people for an event I expected 5-10 at), and the response was great. I led a design discussion talking about Aquaria(review) and ran a panel of sorts talking about the games industry in Christchurch, the ways in which events like that could inspire people and grow a community, and then a bit about how we could eventually start to market the group and lobby government for industry development support. There were several volunteers to host the next one, so hopefully the ball will keep on rolling.
Now, though, I’m going to sit down, watch a few episodes of Yes, Minister, and decompress. Tomorrow’s another busy day, so rest sounds pretty good right now.