A Queer Kind of Hope
Occasionally I’m struck by the idea that if I was more optimistic about the future of humanity I would be focusing on building different technology than I currently am.
I originally wrote this mini-essay as a tweet thread in 2018 and recently came across it. I think it deserves a more permanent home
I fundamentally believe that humans are, for the most part, well-intentioned. I also believe we have created systems and structures that have bound us to certain outcomes.
I’m not sure how we slow the train, yet alone reverse it. It seems pretty clear we are heading full steam ahead into a prolonged crisis.
Our resources are finite.
The goals of our systems, not so much.
I’ve often said that I’m not a utopian. I believe that the fight for liberty, expression, association, privacy and dignity will be a fight for a long time to come.
I advocate for decentralization of pretty much everything because I believe that is the only way we can ever hope to protect and uphold those principles for the largest number of people in the near to short term future.
It takes a toll on a psyche to constantly think of preventing, almost inevitable, future harms rather than imagining hopeful futures.
I’m not sure I will ever again believe that we have the luxuries of imagining better worlds, certainly not in the context of an absolute. It’s both a weird, and grounding, feeling.
And yet, it is only the constructions of those imaginary worlds that drive anything. The idea that things can be better, that there is something on the horizon that is worth struggling for. Something better than this and certainly better than what follows from this.
Hope only comes from the hopeless.
It’s a queer kind of hope that extends itself to a time beyond the predictions of war, genocide, famine and death.
On many occasions I have said that I focus on building privacy tech so that the marginalized communities in the next generation have a chance of escaping the holocausts of the future.
That is still true.
I want to extend that by saying that I build privacy tech to ensure that those who survive are in a position to build a better world. A world based on liberty, consent, community and conservation.
In the meantime, the moral of the starfish parable comes to mind; It’s better to do something good, no matter how small the impact.And in a world where so many are harmed by the systems at play, pushing back is a worthwhile act, even if you can never stop the train.