1. I definitely identify with the feeling of wanting to defy unhealthy and destructive norms and rules. I’ve found that conforming to expected behaviour/thoughts/beliefs in order to be accepted is probably one of the greatest sources of evil.

    I think that my passion for gay rights, my pro-atheism, and my criticism of religion all stem from the feeling that I need to do anything I can to change our social norms into a more free, non-judgemental society. One where we don’t harms others just to make ourselves feel less insecure about our own imperfections and doubts.

    As for the problems resulting from our ruthless application of capitalism, I’m not sure exactly what to do about that. Personally I’m a quite strong advocate of European-style socialism and don’t believe that “free-trade” is a good thing, and that the very strange, and rather uniquely American ideal of doing everything yourself and not being helped or helping others is one of the major causes of these problems, and one of the worst cultural exports the US has made/is making. It seems at odds with the basic nature of humans as communal animals who need interconnectivity and interdependency to survive.

  2. Dammit, I just wrote a long response and I think it got deleted.

    Well, basically, I said that I identify with the feeling of not being content with the norms forced upon us, and feeling a need to fight against the most destructive and harmful ones. I think a lot the reason I’m so vocal in advocating equal rights, and the benefits of atheism, etc., is because I just feel really uncomfortable with the idea of not doing anything to change the paradigm we’ve been given – a paradigm where people seem to prefer to harm others (often from a distance, so it’s less objectionable) rather than come grips with their own insecurities and imperfections.

  3. G

    well said.
    (just had to leave a comment, even tho I can’t think of a single brilliant thing to add to what you said; but because I want to see what brilliant things other will say)

  4. When I hear someone say, yet again, the words ‘with every fibre of my being” or “beyond a shadow of a doubt’ I like to imagine that’s a glitch in the matrix. 🙂

  5. I think what I said in our convo the other day stands as regards to my thoughts on the subject:

    John: what’s a social hacker?
    xJane: I’m guess it’s like life hacker…but for social relationships
    xJane: like a social butterfly or a wedding crasher?
    John: hehe
    John: what if “social” could include social systems, or society?
    xJane: s/w btwn “punk/anarchist” and …
    xJane: something else…
    xJane: like, instead of buying something, you make it or grow it
    xJane: that would be a economic hacker, neh?
    xJane: subverting the dominant/accepted systems for one’s own purposes
    xJane: so…first define “social”
    xJane: “society” makes me think of theater/museum goers
    John: k, just wondering about impressions
    John: i have a trend throughout life of always thinking meta, outside of systems
    xJane: yeah, I like the term “lifehacker”
    John: religion, nationalism, school, work, global economy, patriarchy/gender definitions,
    John: even law
    John: i like lifehacker too,
    xJane: a new podcast I’m loving always ends with, “…and until then, don’t forget to hack your world.”
    John: but it’s also the trademark of an immensely popular blog…
    John: ooh, which one?
    xJane: it makes me feel like I’m in control, rather than being swept along within a tide of Life or Society
    John: yes!
    xJane: well, right, but “lifehacker” can be a word independent of “Lifehacker”
    John: i’m thinking of my playing up the mother in heaven lingo in the Mo church
    xJane: ummm Command Line is the name of the podcast, you’d prolly really like it 🙂
    John: to hack the patriarchy
    John: i’ll check it out!
    xJane: *nodding*
    xJane: how do you hack school?
    xJane: my sisters homeschool, I guess I consider that schoolhacking…
    John: the best poets know the language rules well enough to break them
    John: and break them in just the right way
    xJane: I suppose I never cared much for “rules” at my old schools & routinely subverted them, just to see what would happen
    John: hehe
    John: i did that in high school
    xJane: right—I wrote my sis-in-law about that (in terms of school)
    xJane: essentially, you have to learn the game first, then you can fuck with it
    John: broke the rules but still graduated near the top of my class
    John: well, knew which rules to break
    John: and how to break them
    xJane: right
    John: most people go through life w/o questioning their systems
    John: they take them completely for granted
    xJane: *nodding*
    John: i think this is something that makes us different
    John: maybe most of hte folks at MoF
    John: certainly anyone that I’m close to
    xJane: I think of a society hacker as s/o who more actively opposes the dominant paradigm
    xJane: rather than someone who merely lives outside of it (as i consider you to do)
    John: yah
    John: anyhow, posted on the topic 😛

    And yes, this is how I actually IM—never finishing one thought in one line and at the same time carrying on multiple thoughts at once. I’m sure this is how everyone IMs, but it makes me feel self-conscious to put it up here…

    I edited asides that had nothing to do with the topic at hand and added a link to the podcast.

    I’ve thought some more about it & retract my prior statement—a hacker lives inside and outside the dominant paradigm, changing what is around him or her into a better paradigm while at the same time confronting drones still living within it with the shock of a different system.

    The puck rocker/anarchist you meet on the street lives outside the current social mores and is open about it, confronting you with a choice: think less of the punk because you’re entrenched or think about the paradigm from the perspective of one outside it. Whether or not you choose to break out of the paradigm, the punk has accomplished the stated goal: to hack your social system.

    There may even be a more subversive social hacker: the one who wears designer clothes every day and seems just like all the other drones until you learn that those clothes are homemade, upcycled, or the like. This person is hacking, too, and in a way that’s “acceptable” within the dominant paradigm (not upsetting the order, merely ignoring it).

    I honestly can’t say which I think is better—the former takes more courage (as the hacker) and may affect more change. The latter may never be noticed by any drones as hacking but need never explain to another the validity of his or her non-dominant paradigm. Or, the former’s attempts at shock will simply be ignored, since he or she is so obviously outside the paradigm while the latter may be able to get slow converts who never know that they’re hacking.

    Blogging itself is, by its very nature, a social hack: it’s subverting the privacy of a diary and the physical publication of a magazine (or whatever example of something “published” that you would like to insert) and creating a new form. Something that’s not quite private and not quite public.

  6. John


    Or, the former’s attempts at shock will simply be ignored, since he or she is so obviously outside the paradigm while the latter may be able to get slow converts who never know that they’re hacking.

    This is one of the things I struggle with–not the need to hack the system, so much as how overt to go about it.

  7. John

    xJane, btw, I love our chat style. It works really well in RT, just less so when revisited in archive format. 😛

  8. John @6: yeah, I was thinking of cleaning it up a bit, putting questions & responses together…and making it sound less as though I only think in five words at a time…

  9. Oh whatever, we all think in 5 words at a time about 3 different subjects when we IM. Of course, I do it in real-life convos too.

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