Sunday, February 28, 2010

Deep Thoughts


At a conference I was at this week, Daniel Ellsberg recounted a time in 1969 when he explained to Henry Kissinger what would happen after he was given the dozen or so clearances above Top Secret (the existence of which is also classified, of course). What happens first is you feel like a fool. You've published books that you now discover were filled with stuff that was wrong. You have believed you understood how things worked for your entire professional life, but you now find out you were completely wrong, that the real world is entirely different from what you have been told. The books you've written, the lectures you've given are based on a false understanding of the world.

But this stage only lasts a few weeks. After you have been reading this material hitherto unavailable to you for a while, you begin to see everybody else as fools. Only the people with these top level clearances know the truth. People whom you previously regarded as experts become ignoramuses, doubly so because they don't realize that they actually know nothing.

And so your conversations with them become telling them what you want them to think.

It's a sort of Matrix-y thing that I've felt for a long time. Maybe some machine is on it's way to pluck me out of a pseudo-cocoon any moment now.

Sometimes I think the world is just hanging by a thread, but then I remember that there's thousands and thousands of years of human existence where we could do nothing more than what we've done. I can't imagine that things are different today..

unless aliens landed or something.. :)


While writing this post, I stuck the name "Daniel Ellsberg" in wikipedia to find out who he is (it's worth reading btw), because the original quote didn't explain who he is. After I hit "publish" on the post, a google add was displayed in the blogger editor, thus;

Security Clearance Jobs
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Security Clearance Lawyer
Security Clearance Appeals, NSA, DoD, CIA,NRO,FOCI, Located near BWI
Security Clearance Jobs
Cleared jobs for transitioning miltary with security clearances
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Denial & Revocation Appeals: DOHA, DoD, Military, CIA, DIA, NSA, etc.

Google must be looking at the content of my post, and creating ads related to the topic in the post to display to me. The spelling errors are in the original.

I don't know why, but I find that rather disturbing. Maybe it's because so much of my life is spent on computers.. writing software at work.. reading.. checking news.. playing games.. blogging.. and all of it is data to be collected by other people so that they can influence my buying habits.

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