The Collective Illusion Of Commuting

Dr Stuart Woolley
CodeX
Published in
7 min readNov 4, 2023

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Realisations really do strike home when the familiar actions cease.

“Image generated using OpenAI’s DALL·E.”

Armchair psychology is something that comes up a lot in the Grand Game of Software Engineering as the moves played on the game board of your engineering life are motivated by a surprisingly small number of guiding principles.

We not only require to be paid sufficiently for our knowledge and experience but also would quite like to be treated more like functioning human beings and not resource cogs in the corporate machine or errant schoolchildren in a dated public school.

With those tenets in mind it’s also important to look at the psychology that pervades the modern workplace¹ for, on suitably close examination, it really does look like that many of the facets of modern corporate “culture”, HR doctrine, and general dysfunction haven’t come into existence entirely by accident.

Rules, like the principles of “agile” software development, build up exponentially over time, become unnecessarily complex and therefore incredibly obfuscated, and like much process just really get in the way of actually getting something done.

Employee rulebooks become tomes instead of pamphlets such that every minor interaction, every keystroke, every word uttered in the physical, and increasingly non-physical, work period becomes monitored, recorded, and examined in due course.

Trust becomes a thing of the past when dictatorial tyranny replaces it as it’s just easier to lay down 100 rules and enforce compliance through surveillance and the stick rather than to trust the adults employed to be normal functioning humans and do what it says on their contract.

Such is the work environment we suffer today.

I’m almost as interested in psychology², with regard to the modern workplace, than in the philosophy of why we do things at all and something really struck me while I was watching the video below, a few days ago.

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Dr Stuart Woolley
CodeX

Worries about the future. Way too involved with software. Likes coffee, maths, and . Would prefer to be in academia. SpaceX, Twitter, and Overwatch fan.