Archive for the ‘satire and caricature’ Category
most of you don’t know me in person, but even to those who actually met me in real life I can sometimes seem a bit odd, I fear. So I am writing this as an explanation to why I act the way I do (this may come to a shock to you): I am suffering from a very rare case of synesthesia.
Synesthesia is a neurological condition that causes a “stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway to lead to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway” (Wikipedia). There are, for example, people who automatically see letters surrounded by a certain colour.
In my case it’s bit weirder: I am perceiving the days of a week as female characters. I know, I know – it’s hard to imagine how that affects your everyday life for someone, who doesn’t suffer from this condition. That’s why I made little sketch for you, to help you understand:
INT. LONDON SUBWAY, INSIDE THE TUBE. Mobile phones are ringing. People are talking about their insignificant lives, feigning interest in each others experiences. VOICE OF THE HERO, MALE Maybe I am really a shaman, a medium. Chosen to tell the lesser beings, those who are not spiritually gifted, what needs to be done in the dark days to come. Maybe I am here to protect them from themselves. SECOND VOICE OF THE HERO, FEMALE Or maybe I am just plain insane. Huhahahaha.
It goes without saying, that some programmers are having a hard time handling emotions. As far as I can tell and based on my observations in the field, one reason for this is the purely rational style of programming languages. When it comes to software development the mere word “expression” is stripped off its emotional value, being left with only a mathematical meaning.
We definitely need to change this. We need to free the emotional part and reinstate it as the equal partner of rational thinking within the realm of software development.
With an emotionally enhanced programming language developers will be twice as productive. That is, because the old reason-driven programming languages only make use of the left half of the brain, but emotionally enhanced languages are using the right as well as the left half!
A first step would be to allow the emotion most prevalent in the programming mind – anger – to be expressed easily and as naturally as possible.
For example, take a look at the following lines written in Java:
final Asshole you = new Asshole(); you.fuck(off);
And now compare this to the same code written in tourette:
Fuck off, you asshole!
All the verbose clutter of Java is gone – leaving only the pure emotional expression!
But with gesture recognition around and a webcam connected to almost every computer we shouldn’t limit the art of programming to the written word. Soon we’ll be seeing programmers gesticulate in front of their computers – and taking acting courses to improve their coding skills.
Imagine this concept applied to pair programming! It will lift development to a whole new level of emotionally enriched experiences.
And agile development with scrum will also be improved, for now the development team doesn’t produce increments any longer, but excrements!
The possibilities are endless …
Our interview partner today is Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Manfred Pain. He is CEO of the institute for applied anxiety at the German Center for Advanced Dread (GCAD), founder of the Psycho-Economic Association for Increased Profits (PEAIP) and author of the consulting bible “FearForward”.
drewing.de: Prof. Pain, usually psychologists are trying to free their clients from anxieties. How is your method different from this?
Prof. Pain: It’s a shift of perspective. Take a look at the evolutionary function of fear – it’s really beneficial. These feelings helped our species to survive.
drewing.de: But we aren’t living in Neaderthal anymore, are we? In our modern world we have a lot less of wild animals threatening our lifes. And often these psychic forces aren’t helping, but hindering people.
Prof. Pain: You are totally right. And these forces are extremely powerful. That’s why traditional psychotherapy, as we see it today, is really wasting away a tremendous amount of psychic energy.
drewing.de: … and you found a way to preserve this energy?
Prof. Pain: Better. We can redirect it. It’s a bit like judo. We call this approach “functional fear”.
drewing.de: How does this work?
Prof. Pain: First we need to screen the psyche of the individual. We are exploring its deepest fears and searching for their triggers. These are events or things to whom the anxiety is attached to. Some methods from psychoanalysis come in handy at this point.
drewing.de: So, you are using classic methods?
Prof. Pain: Where appropriate, yes. Initially it’s really listening a lot, but we also have to prove our findings to be utilizable. This is where modern technology is added to the process: we are using augmented reality tools to test our findings. First the individual is being exposed to every day situations. Then we are augmenting these scenes with anxiety triggers. Indeed we are tuning the condition in order maximize the psychological reaction, mixing the existing triggers with the desired new triggers.
drewing.de: Critics called this “artificial hallucinations”. It must be a horror for the person going through this.
Prof. Pain: It’s a neccessary evil – we need to make sure the mechanism works well. For after we have implemented the new triggers into the individuals actual living environment, it’s quite a lot of work to readjust them.
drewing.de: Can you give an example?
Prof. Pain: Yes, of course. One of our first clients was a woman suffering from adiposity. No diet really worked for her, since her willpower was lacking. But she was lucky! We found that she had a very well developed fear of spiders. So we amplifed it a bit and joined the old trigger, spiders, with the desired new triggers: sandwiches, cakes, ice cream, etc.
drewing.de: And this worked?
Prof. Pain: Do you see the billboard over there?
drewing.de: You mean the lingerie advertising with this super hot babe?
Prof. Pain: Yes – the model you see there is our client.
Prof. Pain: Fascinating, yes, but this was only a proof of concept. The full power of our method shows when applied to larger groups. Multinational companies for example.
drewing.de: You can’t really put all employees of a multinational company on the couch, can you?
Prof. Pain: No. And we don’t need to. We can work with some abstractions in this environment. Remember: we are talking about work. It’s an anxiety engineers El Dorado!
drewing.de: Could you illustrate this a bit more?
Prof. Pain: Sure. At first we need to know what our client needs. We need to identify the key behaviour, which, when implemented, leads to the desired outcome by applying our methods to the companies employees.
drewing.de: Don’t you think that this is ethically problematic?
Prof. Pain: It’s 100% legal. I like to compare it to topography – imagine a height map, where the height is the amount of fear generated by a certain situation, person or trigger. Usually the peaks are somewhere around bosses, clients and such ilk.
Employees are like water. With the proper anxiety engineering in place we simply make sure that the altitude of the surrounding area is much, much higher. Yet, to them it looks like they still can go wherever they want.
drewing.de: How would this look like being implemented?
Prof. Pain: That depends upon the situation. Controlling the media is key in any case. The people must be made to feel like they are on the brink of an economic catastrophe. Or rather an economic apocalypse which will end all civilization. But don’t be too specific or you might create doubts.
On a micro level methods can involve the design of pension plans or even marital issues. Make sure your male employees have dreadful wives and they will be longer at work.
drewing.de: With all the gloom and pressure building up, won’t you risk suicides among the employees?
Prof. Pain: This can indeed be a problem. But it mustn’t. See, if employees are cheap as dirt you simply open the door and let the next willing idiot in. Some big players in the advertising industry developed this tactic to perfection. They are telling their unpaid interns that having the name of their slaver listed in their cv is a sign of excellence. It’s really funny what people are willing to do when they are suffering from dyscalculia (laughs).
drewing.de: What if you can’t substitute employees so easily?
Prof. Pain: Just apply the same technique: If we want to restrain the employees from committing suicide we simply need to put something in place that makes suicide look worse than their living conditions. Religion can be very useful in this case. If they believe suicide will condemn them to eternal suffering, suffering only one single lifetime looks certainly better.
Or getting their families and children into the deal might work as well. Really, the possibilites are endless, even within legal bounds (laughs).
drewing.de: Prof. Pain, thank you for your time and insights.
Prof. Pain: No problem, thanks for having me here.
[Yes, this is satirical]
This is a colored drawing of a sketch I did in 2010 – I found the idea to be still valid and since I had some software-, hardware- and skillware-upgrades in the meantime, I thought it might be worth a second shot 😀
The creation of this image was a bit wild:
In the beginning there was a rather odd feeling about the experience of a lack of appreciation. I was discussing this with a friend of mine and asked him if he, too, had experienced these strange incidents, when people fail to fall on their knees and worship him when he enters a room. The exaggeration (lack of appreciation -> lack of being worshipped) was the first step towards the caricature seen above. It’s somehow like scaling the whole thing up.
At the moment I had this discussion I did not have the Intention of producing anything. I was completely free of thinking about any aim or purpose, which is another extremely important aspect of real creativity: playfulness. And indeed I was playing around with the thought and asked myself if other “gods” may have had the same problem and if they had other problems as well and how they would try to solve these problems, which lead to the scenery of a self help group sitting and discussing their problems.
This part was a straight forward thinking episode, like letting the idea evolve. That was the time I decided that the idea had the potential to join my collection of drawn nonsense on this blog.
I found that in most of my works that people (other than me) found entertaining the creative process has also had a kind of “reverse” nature.
The status of the caricature at this moment was just the self help group of gods. I hadn’t yet decided which gods. The one with the pyramid above his head was a clear pick. Odin came next – I just can’t help sympathizing with religions that end their own existence via götterdämmerung – and Ganesha seemed to be a friendly fellow, too.
But now I had to give the sharing (=speaking) god a reason to be present. This is the “reverse part”: making up a reason, sometimes telling a story.
Anyway: I wasn’t done yet – I still needed a label. Since it was a self help group the name of the first real organisation of this category that came to my mind was “alcoholics anonymous”. Since the problem with my self help group wasn’t alcohol but worshipping (or the lack of it) the labeling “worshipped anonymous” was most tempting.
That was the moment when the last missing god joined the stage: changing the category slightly from “god” to “being worshipped” made it possible for the guy on the left side to pop up as an additional group member.