The Fear of White Noise
"Neurosis is the inability to tolerate ambiguity."
-- Sigmund Freud, appearing to me in a dream
I'm a member of that half of the human race which is inclined to divide the human race into two kinds of people. My dividing line runs between the people who crave certainty and the people who trust chance.
You can draw this one a number of ways, of course, like Control vs. Serendipity, Order vs. Chaos, Hard answers vs. Silly questions, or Newton, Descartes & Aquinas vs. Heisenberg, Mandelbrot & the Dalai Lama. Etc.
Large organizations and their drones huddle on one end of my scale, busily trying to impose predictable homogeneity on messy circumstance. On the other end, free-lancers and ne'er-do-wells cavort about, getting by on luck if they get by at all.
However you cast these poles, it comes down to the difference between those who see life as a struggle against cosmic peril and human infamy and those who believe, without any hard evidence, that the universe is actually on our side. Fear vs. Faith.
I am of the latter group. Along with Gandhi and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, I believe that other human beings will quite consistently merit my trust if I'm not doing something which scares them or makes them feel bad about themselves. In other words, the best defense is a good way to get hurt.
[ . . . . ]
Presented with such a terrifying amalgam of raw youth and apparent power, we fluttered like a flock of indignant Babbitts around the Status Quo, defending it heartily. One former hacker howled to the Harper's editor in charge of the forum, "Do you or do you not have names and addresses for these criminals?" Though they had committed no obvious crimes, he was ready to call the police.
They finally got to me with:
Acid: Whoever said they'd leave the door open to their house... where do you live? (the address) Leave it to me in mail if you like.
I had never encountered anyone so apparently unworthy of my trust as these little nihilists. They had me questioning a basic tenet, namely that the greatest security lies in vulnerability. I decided it was time to put that principal to the test...
Barlow: Acid. My house is at 372 North Franklin Street in Pinedale, Wyoming. If you're heading north on Franklin, you go about two blocks off the main drag before you run into hay meadow on the left. I've got the last house before the field. The computer is always on...
One wonders: Do the advocates of SoftSecurity found on various Wiki sites have the same faith in their philosophy as Barlow showed? Or, perhaps more intriguingly, would Barlow himself still expose his underbelly online to the same extent now, on a publically-readable web site, instead of to the still-quite-readily-cloistered environement that was TheWell of the late 1980s?
My RealAddress? - if of my work rather than my home - is on my FrontLawn here and elsewhere. It's been useful in a few cases. No bad effects in the years this has been the case. This would no doubt change if I became a high value target.