13 Nov 2005 apenwarr   » (Master)

Religion and Non-compromise

Today, while wandering down the street, I accidentally learned about Falun Dafa (aka Falun Gong), a Buddhism-influenced religious movement from China.

I won't try to explain their whole story in as much detail as it was explained to me. But the part that stuck with me (probably due to selection bias, of course) was their explanation of persecution by the Chinese government. Some religions would explain it away as "There's a reason for everything", or "God is punishing us", or whatever. That view never really worked out too well for me. But my local Falun Dafa representative explains it this way: "Suffering is always wrong; there is no good reason for it. But when there must be suffering, the right thing to do is to endure it, not try to avoid it." And then, of course, you launch an international campaign involving millions of people to try to get rid of the cause of the suffering.

Why is this interesting? Because it parallels my earlier comments on stupidity: when stupidity is forced on you, as an individual you have to take the "less stupid" of your available options. But it's the core stupidity itself that is wrong; that's what forcing you to do something stupid yourself. You have to make the root cause of the stupidity go away.

What does all this have to do with programming? Uh, er, use your imagination. But it all fits together in the end.

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