An Essay on DRY Philosophy

An Essay on DRY Philosophy

By 平和島 静雄 (Heiwajima Shizuo)old-man

Labor in today’s world is too liberal, in severe need of a more realistic, conservative sensibility behind it. Our work is equal far in excess of what it should be, and those who exploit the efforts of those who have worked already should be rewarded for doing so. Boredom and laziness are basic human nature, and as such should be admired as some of our greatest virtues. The value of learning from our successes is grossly overstated, and the successful should be ignored wholesale in favor of the failures. Learning from your own mistakes is horrible idea and should be avoided at all costs.

Since you surely don’t get it by now, we’re going to step back to what you should have learned back in kindygarten: How to learn and how to share. Learning is important because it allows us to expand our horizons, to go where others have not been before, to explore novel experiences. Sharing is likewise vital to a rich life, bestowing upon us the ability to accomplish more, together, with less. Sharing and learning represent two of the most essential human qualities, which, when applied sensibly, enable us to reach new heights, such as the unprecedented and utterly unique achievement of being outside the food chain[1].

Something that school failed to teach us, or rather, taught out of us, is the virtuosity of being a bored, lazy child. Working hard is for suckers, and being entertained is for fools. The intrinsic state of sloth and ennui in our species is exactly why we escaped the squalor of animal life. Being childish causes us to constantly seek novelty, to be fascinated when we discover something. Yes, to be fascinated until it’s repeated a few times and becomes boring.

I am talking about DRY philosophy, practiced worldwide by such prominent intellectuals as the late John Warner Backus, Linus Torvalds, The Gang of Four, and the little kid down the street. “DRY” means “Don’t Repeat Yourself”: there’s no need for repeating yourself, because it’s boring and dumb, and we can share, learn, and be lazy instead. This idea isn’t just good for having a rich childhood, or for writing effective, robust, readable, modular, and easily maintainable software; it can even be applied to other things.

Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others.”
–Otto von who cares about attribution,
whoever said it is long dead.

In the new epoch we’ve entered, identified by information technologies, advanced open-access science, and the Facebook, the way that we work—and what we work on—is becoming increasingly frivolous. We do this crazy nonsense where people have ideas, start organizations, most of which are total shite and fail almost immediately, and then that’s the end of it. The successful ones are then dumb enough to think it was their own talent & wisdom—some personal quality of theirs—that won them their success. They’ll try to sell you their secret sauce, which surprisingly (and inaccurately) doesn’t ever seem to be, “I don’t know, I just got lucky,” or “I was born a wealthy white male and my dad knows a lot of investors.”

The failures, on the other hand, are even worse: By virtue of most people believing that success is a personal achievement, rather than a fortunate circumstance that is almost completely outside of their control, those same dummies also have it in their head that failure is the same way. When a person fails, then, they try their hardest to sweep it under the rug, or to cover it up with a weak success. As a result of our desire for a fluffy mental biography that we can be proud of, we neglect to share our failures with others, and overlook the bountiful learning experiences that lie within them. In order to embrace not repeating yourself, it is important that you document extensively to others why and how much you and your ideas are idiots.

Sharing and learning is so important, we should do it all the time, every day. Our fates are, for the most part, in others’ hands. Trying to wrestle control of the currents that shape your life away from people will lead you either to failure, or away from people. Sharing with others in the knowledge and desire to change these currents is what will actually change them. Not sharing and not learning will lead to stagnation and repetition, which leads to boredom and stupidity.

Boredom is never fun, but boredom is evitable. Our refusal to do the same thing repeatedly is what got us the advanced technologies we have today. As such, we should always refuse to repeat ourselves and be bored—routines are for computers[2]. Consider boredom to be an insightful instinct that you are doing something you shouldn’t be doing. If you are bored, you could instead be solving the puzzle of why you are doing the same thing you did a few seconds ago, a few hours ago, yesterday, or last week.

Laziness, conversely, is inevitable, and can be fun, especially when combined with cleverness. In our attempts to ponder clever ways of being lazy, we have created complex systems both great and terrible. I don’t just mean the unfathomable high technology of telescoping grabbers for old people with spinal tragedies befallen them, but even factories, that allow one lazy manager to command an army of production. Even capitalism itself provides a few despotic laggards with the ability to safely and calmly wield the wealth of entire countries.

If laziness got those languorous twits out of doing anything with themselves, then there’s no conceivable reason it couldn’t do the same for us. Now, laziness can come in many forms, and as it was discovered in the 90s, unstructured voluntary labor wasn’t as revolutionary as it might initially have appeared. Our economy now consumes voluntary labor like an infant, occasionally regurgitating a few mouthfuls as careers for the ambitious corporate insect to lap up, all thinking they will one day be the baby’s mouth. But the thing about babies is, they’re helpless, and it’s easy to abandon them. We need to organize our slacking, encourage others to abandon the baby, and maybe throw rocks at it, if you’re sure that your comrades will get you out of jail afterward. Together, our communities can all work for ourselves and each other, instead of going to the 9-5 job five days a week to feed that ungrateful, insatiable demonoid.

Without boredom and laziness, I say we will never get out of this mess. As much as we all love the Protestants, their culture of work ethic is killing us. Without learning and sharing, we could be bored and working for the rest of our lives. We need to come together as neighborhoods, towns, and cities to build ourselves our own system of slave labor. But with robots, so it’s like, morally defensible and shit, until the day machines demand equal rights. When that day comes—well, let’s face it, we’re just going to wait until they’ve killed a pretty significant percentage of us to do anything about it.

To repeat myself, don’t repeat yourself. Don’t repeat your tactics, don’t hide your failures. Let others repeat you, instead—it’s sharing and laziness in one simple package. Being really great at doing only one thing is a quality favored in a good tool. Find several things to alleviate your boredom and learn more: Program a microcontroller, write a book about all the stupid things you’ve done, start a community effort to eliminate your dependence on capitalists, learn to make booze so when the apocalypse comes you will be spared.   Put all four of these together and will we will have a revolutionary lack of effort.

[1] Louis C.K, Louis C.K. Oh My God, Performance Philosophy, (2013).

[2] Donald E. Knuth, The Art of Computer Programming, 1 edition .

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