Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Just how crazy is 99% of mankind?

Part of working in the IT Industry during the past five years is a requirement to emphasize all the exact same qualities that are naturally anathema to people with Asperger's Syndrome. As it happens, it is by and large people with Asperger's Syndrome who are the most effective, productive and canny of all the people in the workplace when it comes to software development.

It causes us physical pain to pretend something is true when we know it to be a lie. Medical researchers show stress hormones go through the roof in people with Asperger's Syndrome when they are put in situations that ordinary men and women flatline on. Ordinary people take lying and bullsh*tting for granted. It's an innate skill. It's part of their biology. It's like breathing, walking or having sex for them. It's a pre-existing groove in the brain from birth in normal people and all they have to do is practice the skill a bit and they do it like champions. They become marvelous liars for the simple reason that in order to be a good liar, you first must be good at lying to yourself. The neurotypical has a dedicated brain structure that helps him/her do just that. It's fully matured by the end of adolescence. Once they can put a smooth one over on themselves, doing it on others becomes as natural as blinking.

When you're in a big group meeting, talking about how great Rational Rose is and how productive it is and how it is streamlining the entire software development cycle into a methodical edjumificated process, look around you and see how relaxed everybody is. They love these social situations where they avoid actual work and just sit around reinforcing one another and trading affirmations of delusions. It's like putting Brer Fox in the briar patch. They excel in social arenas where the only real requirement is to convincingly exchange untruths with reciprocation on the part of all.

Do you know what the Asperger's sufferer is doing at that time, in back of the room trying to keep silent and just maintain a pleasant dazed stare like the other primates? The past ten years of research have informed psychologists worldwide with the hard medical data to back it up.

He's sweating. His heart is palpitating. It feels like there are ants crawling on his skin. His face is flushed and he feels like his internal organs are drying up. (They are, the blood is rushing inward and thickening from the fight-or-flight response) His scalp is crawling and he has weird tingles in his extremities. You know, the exact same sensations that neurotypical people display when they accidentally tell the truth once in a while. That's why ordinary humans go to pieces on the polygraph machine. They are trying to consciously stop lying and it is like holding their breath.

He's suffering. It hurts. The more people lie and share social baloney they know at a subconscious level is the opposite of truth, the worse it is for him. He can try really hard to make it look natural the way others do innately but the truth is he will always be a terrible liar whose face tells the whole story.

What will become of him if he follows his natural instinct and blurts out the Emperor is without clothes? It could lose him his job. He will immediately lose respect from others, although with most Asperger's people that's not far to fall anyhow. He will be alienated and rejected from the group. That's the way mankind works. It's also pathological. Over the long term, it can produce catastrophic population collapses. Those of you who believe purely in evolution should know that ours is far from complete. This "let's all believe in crap" instinct is very maladaptive in any situation that requires complex problem solving. In IT, it's a death sentence.

For ten years, I was that guy at the back of the room. Sometimes I honestly wish I had been tending a golf course during that entire decade. I have to pretend that really low IQ people who are really crazy and completely unqualified to even be working in software development are actually intellamajent and edjumificated and stuff. It's hard. I'm never convincing.

Yes, I am going somewhere with this. Here it is.

For ten years I've been hearing about multitasking. It's used frequently nowadays in corporations.

The problem is that I'm forty five years old and have never seen a person doing two things at once. I've seen people with ADD who never seem to get anything done and others who seem to be doing several things at once but in fact are not doing anything at all except moving around a lot.

I don't think multitasking exists. I think it's all bullsh*t, a huge mythological goal for mankind that has confused equal parts of real-time programming and Oprah Winfrey pop-speak with a very skewed understanding of how the human brain actually functions.

But don't mind me. You'll notice there is always a guy behind the water cooler at the office who fronts a sickly grin when you use the word and nods his head ... but he seems to have gone clammy and be sporting a sweaty brow. That's me. I'm doing my best but I just can't fake it the way the rest of you can. There' s no such thing. Doesn't that cause you pain like with me?


Anonymous said...

Don't get me started.

My credentials: a couple of years ago I put together a project that handled every piece of paper for a well-known state agency. I did it in less than 18 months start to finish with technology I had never used before. The old system required that every one of the 3 milion pieces of paper used by that agency was looked at by a person. The new system let 80-99 percent of that paper be processed by machine. It was so efficient that a lot of people lost their jobs - something which I pointed out ahead of time was bound to happen and was laughed at as everyone poo-pooed and said that it was not possible to build a system that functioned at such a high level.

Not only was my project on time, under budget and amazingly efficient, I wrote it ALL with the help of just one other programmer, a newb fresh out of college, never had a pro job before. I literally taught them the language and the SLDC process as we went along, as well as designing the framework.

Furthermore, when I was done, Microsoft came up, was so impressed with the uniqueness of the project, they asked to use it as a case study on their website - because one of the components we used was a product of theirs.

While I was writing this, I tried EVERYTHING I could think of to get people to leave me the fuck alone - I literally strung wires and signs across my cube doorway saying "GO AWAY - Leave Me Alone" and people STILL ignored them. I wore headphones like the baggage guys at the airport use to block the sound of people yakking all the time. Many days I refused to work because there were too many interruptions and it was all pointless.

The code I wrote was so good it literally debugged itself using TRY-CATCH triggers to indicate EXACTLY WHICH LINE of code caused a particular error.

I've worked in programming more than 20 years and as far as I can remember, THIS IS THE ONLY TRULY SUCCESSFUL PROJECT I HAVE EVER WORKED ON.

I.T. bullshit artists have a VESTED INTEREST in making things as complicated and obtuse as possible so that they can spread their giant (undeserved) egos around and make the 'little people' feel small. They do this because it increases their job security. If no one knows what it is that they do exactly, they can lie about everything.

All of MS operating systems are a perfect example of this, 10's of millions of lines of obtuse garabage code that no one understands and no one can ever fix.

I don't have Aspergers (or maybe I do - what the hell do I know) but I know that when I run a project, the truth gets told, even if it hurts a lot. It makes me literally sick to my stomach to work with people who insist on spewing bullshit and I refuse to tolerate it. Example : on the project above, my boss panicked and told the 'leader' that we were almost done when in fact, we had a year more of work to do. I went over her head, scheduled a direct meeting and talked to the 'leader' person at the agency, told her the truth, that we had a year of work to do and my boss had not told the truth. I did this not because I gave a shit about someone getting caught in a lie, but because a good project is built first and foremost on the truth. If I lie to the people I write code for, they will never trust me enough to tell me what it is that they REALLY want. And if I can't find that out, by very intense straightforward questioning then the project is doomed from the start. I tell the people I write for, "I can do ANYTHING you want - as long as you have enough time and money."

I'm the best of the best in my little area - not a brag, just a statement of fact. And other programmers hate me because I won't tolerate lying and I won't tolerate incompetence or shit code. The people I write for though, they think I am the best thing since sliced bread, because I never try to make them feel like shit because they don't know all that I do, and I always try to tell them the whole truth.

And it's also why I will always be a hired gun. I can only take so much crap before I have to quit and go do something else. Usually this is about 6 months to a year before I can;t stomach it any more. I literally gain 20 to 30 pounds on every such BS job from the stress.

And you are also 100,000 percent right when you say that periodically, big events happen where the liars get annhilated (literally) and the only the truthtellers and hard thinkers are left standing. I think this has happened over and over and over again throughout human history and it is what has brought human intelligence to the level it is at now.

ELE's (Extinction Level Events) happen. They happen to cleanse the earth of phonies and idiots and liars.

Too long I know - told you not to get me started :)


Anonymous said...

Amen to that!

Been there, felt that, in other field (science). 'Tis true what they say, academic politics are worst because the stakes are so low. Good luck to any of us corageous and foolish enough to point that the theory just CANNOT be reconcilied with the known facts.

Anonymous said...

By definition half the people you meet / work with will be below average intelligence, will perform at below average levels and produce work that is below average quality.

Many many people are employed in positions they just don't perform in. I work for the emergency services and many people I work with I file under "employed under equal opportunity / sheltered workshop legislation"

I think society just stumbles along from one disaster to another and somehow get's by.

Again referring to my organisation you would be horrified at how many times "things just seem to work out". Scary indeed. The worst of it is that the system is a load of BS but no-one will fix it and when it does fail some operational officer is blamed and hung out to dry