You can’t become good until you were evil. Not just were, but acknowledged it and atoned for it. Here’s a rant.
No one learns from the mistakes of others. Ever. https://twitter.com/round/status/1109760674538897408
I think the myth about it perpetuated by fear and cowardice. Because hey, in order to learn from your own mistakes, you need to, well, OWN them. And owning your shit is hard.
People are afraid of it because learning from your mistakes means truly acknowledging them, admitting to them, being deeply ashamed for them, crying over them and losing sleep, then confessing to them, atoning for them, and then — maybe! — finally learning.
We’ve invented this “learn from others’ mistakes” thing because it absolves us from having to learn from our own. It’s convenient.
Also, it’s about our egos. “Bad judgment” implies you’re already good (deep on the inside, maybe) and you’ve just made a misstep. One misstep. I don’t think you can truly atone and learn if you believe you’re already good. I think you gotta be evil. https://twitter.com/jmspool/status/1109652902392549378
I was asking myself for some time, why is it so hard for some people to care about ethics in tech. Like, REALLY care. As in fight for it, talk others into it on a daily basis, possibly at the risk of losing the job, or actually quit jobs over it.
I thought it’s just ignorance — like, someone should “open their eyes”. Nope. Turns out, people don’t start believing in stuff just by virtue of hearing it from someone.
Ok, so I thought it’s lack of conviction. If we’d just believe in good stuff more, we’d act on it more. Nope. Good people work for Twitter and Facebook. They believe in plenty of good stuff. They probably even know when they made a bad design decision. A bad judgment. But hey, because they believe they’re good people already, they’re no real incentive for them to evolve.
I think you have to really acknowledge you’re evil in order to evolve into something good. You need to believe you’re it. Possibly even be proud of it. Then you’ll have a chance.
Former assholes and womanizers make the best feminists. Thieves make the best detectives. Addicts make the best priests. Soldiers make the best healers. You get the idea. It’s all about repentance and atonement. That good ol’ redemption arc.
Repentance is the best motivator. Atonement is the best teacher.
This is what every religion preaches, because hey, it works. Just in case: I don’t believe in Jesus or any of that stuff, I believe in becoming a better person through learning and evolving. I do hope though this is what most religions are really about.
And if you think there’s nothing to repent from, oh brother. There’s plenty. Everyone has plenty of sins. You’re just afraid to face them. Maybe you don’t have any design sins — I sure hope so!
Except for that one time when you’ve tweaked a research quote to sell your idea better. Or that other time when you thought this super-pretty gray on dark gray is ALMOST 4.5:1. Or that whole last job where you allowed Nazis on your platform for the sake of free speech?
You can’t change for the better when you believe you’re already good. There’s nothing to change into.
You need to cut that “bad judgment” safety line. That little voice in your head justifying everything for you? The one saying “you’re still a good person.”
The one buzzing “it’s not you, it’s them.” “My boss made me do it.” “It’s just capitalism, man.” Shut it the fuck up. Face your shit and admit you’re not a good person.
Admit you don’t care. Admit your “user empathy” is just a convenient way to gossip about other people’s lives without having to face your own. Admit you’re in it just for the ego and money.
And when you do — let yourself be ashamed for it. Cry a little and lose some sleep. Then confess. Talk about it. How? Ask veterans. Ask recovering alcoholics. Ask priests. They all know about it, because hey, it works.
And only after you repent and atone, only after you’ve been evil you can learn and become good. It’s enough to become a better person. But if you’d also become a better designer while you’re at it, that’d be just awesome.