Last night, I was working with a comrade on implementing a discussion forum. Looking at its functionality, fixing its breakages and ensuring it had access to all it needed to function correctly – and test with more people in due course. He was looking at administrative functionality, I was trying to ensure that it wasn’t going to fall over after being loaded to the party server.
We both had similar computers, laptops of similar calibre. But he gawked as I was reading error logs, fixing the errors and tying together disparate pieces of software and doing what I can to ensure that it cannot be owned. To me, this is what I do. I’ve learned how some of this works through half a lifetime of prodding and poking computers and their software to see how they work. It’s not a mystery – it is just study, experimentation and knowledge. And I am deeply average compared to many of my peers. Which is fine – you should never stop learning.
The comrade in question, Hugh Cullen, has recently completed a university degree – and his final year project was on the banking collapse. High capitalism and finance has never been a strong suit of mine – I can watch documentaries on the subject like Inside Job (2010), comedies like The Big Short (2015) – and more or less grok that the working class majority were robbed blind by the masters of the universe – bankers and billionaires – and the structural means by which they did so remain more or less intact. I can seethe in injustice, but I don’t understand the mechanism.
I could tell you stories of other people who have multifaceted and superior domain specific knowledge and understanding – I rely on a lot of people to make me whole. My dad, who I don’t quite spend enough time with – teaching me in all his infinite patience about being a better person. My mum – who’s the best organiser of children I’ve ever met. My friends and comrades – each of whom are flawed, imperfect and to whom I am fiercely loyal – they are all wise, brilliant and have their own blind spots.
I’m a grumpy fucker – I have no patience, and I get anxious for no reason. That’s my weakness. It is through our interactions, our friends, our loves and communicating our experiences – shared or unique – that we become whole.