tetchy tech (or a story of asshole nihilism)

Where I started, where I ended … #chester to #liverpool (and where I belong …)

A post shared by Miljenko Williams (@miljenko_williams) on


I’ve had quite a few downsides and run-ins with tech over the past few weeks, impacting really negatively on my ability to work on my MA.

I know they tell us we should take ownership of our reactions.  But this is a way of saying what we feel is ours to own, and we have no right to own anything else that happens.  Instead, maybe resigning ourselves to its reality is about as far as we can go.

The whole world an asshole as the man said?  (It was almost certainly a man …)  I don’t know.  What’s clear is that a lack of oversight on processes end-to-end is crapping the life out of us.

One fairly recent example.  The housing trust maisonette where we live is on the first floor.  It shares a fairly new downstairs door (at the foot of equally shared stairs) with our lovely neighbours across the way.  They are, by the way, the best neighbours you could ever hope for.  The best.

The fairly new door was a replacement for the previous fairly shabby door.  However, the functionality of the shabby cousin was far greater than that of its replacement.  Let me explain.  The latter has very nice frosted windows, is made (I think) of white PVC, and has a letterbox.  All to the superficial good.  And therein its true idiocy.

To all intents and purposes the door now looks like it leads to a house, not a shared flight of stairs and on to two dwellings on the first floor.  A cursory examination of postal legislation would have revealed that where there is a letterbox, even if shared (the two flat numbers are clearly present, by the way – something I neglected to mention above), postal services have no obligation to go any further.  No one in the housing trust who sanctioned the now fairly new door ever thought to look at end-to-end process, it is clear.  Over the past two years or so our shared experience (ie that of our lovely neighbours and ourselves) with the wretched “first point of delivery” in question has been dreadful: multiple lost deliveries from couriers various as packages got left in full view of the street; muddy and damp letters and post when they do arrive; untold numbers of re-deliveries required as the delivery people knock at the bottom, get no immediate reply, and scurry off; and multiple unfulfilled assurances from Royal Mail to not do what the next shift of postal officers always ends up doing.

Overall a much worse service – and intractably so! – than when we had the old and shabby original.

And all due to the fact that someone, somewhere, in a procurement department miles away from the issues, thought that a brand new door with letterbox and two numbers would be a vast improvement for the security and safety of everyone and everything concerned.

End-to-end process analysis is rapidly becoming a lost art: lost to the ever-increasing specialisations of our world, where we are strongly, systemically, encouraged to dip our heads into ever-decreasing circles of knowledge, and thus find ourselves failing altogether to see the wider connections.

And that is what brings me back to the world and its asshole.  So maybe such extreme nihilism is unwarranted, and maybe such vigorous resignation is unhelpful, and maybe we do need to take ownership for our own reactions above and beyond what happens to us on a daily basis.  But even so, and even when said, and even when accepted, there remains this reality: good people are doing shit things because shit systems and lines of command and control and overarching strategies and perhaps, simply, a general lack of interest in or understanding of what is going on is more the rule than the exception.

Write the beautiful new door with its shiny letterbox and flat numbers to a broader audience of work, leisure, consumerism, business and political activity and it begins to become so much easier to understand why asshole nihilism is becoming the default position of so many citizens.

‘Question is: how do we work out together a way of shrugging off the vicious circles which are currently embracing us in no congenial way at all?  How do we move on from simply having to own asshole nihilism on this dreadful daily basis – and dealing with our tragic and broader bereavement from intelligent behaviours – to actually making environments and worlds where our first response doesn’t need to be one of wiping up spilt milk but rather, much more handsomely, drinking its sexy and freshly churned warmth with an intellectual joy that befits the 21st century?


#urban #flash #liverpool

A post shared by Miljenko Williams (@miljenko_williams) on

red top

It’s frustrating to live in a world where people don’t take their responsibilities seriously, nor care to anticipate the impact their carelessness has on other people: both the latter’s personal confidence as well as simply their livelihoods.

But worse than carelessness is a deliberation to trample on others without appearing to do so.

The red top of violent undermining which overarches the lives of so many of the defenceless is wrong.

And experiencing this is unjust.  It is also unjustifiable, unjustified … and plain abusive.

Robbing a human being of their dignity is bad enough.  Robbing them of their connection with reality – and their right and capacity to share this connection – is, however, tantamount to robbing a life in its entirety: boxing it up and wrapping it round and tying it down and – ultimately – breaking the will of the person to be an individual.

And once as a society we lose our ability to value the individual above the common, then does indeed the common become very common.

And those who benefit from such a step stumble not at all in the hubris they engineer.

But those who become the stones on which the hubris-engineers stride as they build and grow their empires of casual hate never achieve their potential.

To be not a stepping-stone of the engineers but a brook of the beloving.

I would this be, if I could.  But I have to accept your challenge.  I offered peace.  You hunger for conflict.  Your desire for conflict is ultimately stronger than my capacity for love.

And the failure, in this, entirely is now mine.

Even as it remains forever and always in your power to engineer for the good – and forget your awful awful thirst for hubris.

And even as I shall never give up on the desire you may one day rediscover from an innocence of childhood long  neglected.

The red top of naked openness versus the men and women who know only how to hide away the truth.  

So which do you choose, my friend?  Which do you choose?  What kind of friend do you want to be?  What kind of friend do you think I want?  Do you even know how to be a friend any more?

I do, for sure.  But I now seriously doubt even your wish, never mind your ability.

You have lost my trust.

And more than hubris, you now need to engineer bridges.  If, that is, you still care to remember how.

If, that is, you even remember why.

a political unlife in a fisheye lens

"We would love your feedback", Caffè Nero, Chester, UK (me, playing about with some new toys!)

A post shared by Miljenko Williams (@miljenko_williams) on


I was always fascinated by politics, but never untrusting enough to be able to deal with the distrust others had in me.

What I mean by this is that I expected people in politics to rub along well with me – sincerely I mean, not faking it.  If I had untrusted more, maybe I wouldn’t have got so confused.  I’d have mostly accepted the inevitable any potential politician needs to accept from the outset: politics is dirty, and nice people lose.

Or maybe not.  Maybe nice people learn to separate the inevitable nastiness of any working life from the way they lead their lives outside of political activity.

Today, my Political Compass post from late 2014 was read by some curious soul who weirdly alighted on its content.  In this post I describe how I was a religious soul who hadn’t discovered his religion.  These are the results which I got in 2009 or earlier versus 2014.  (You can try it for yourself here.)


Political Compass test - 2014 vs 2009


Not much changed for me in the intervening years, as you can see – despite the terrible upheaval in financial sectors which was probably due, or at least we might imagine, to the large-scale unfettering of pertinent regulation.

So I had a quick read over the post, bit TL;DR, but not so much compared to other stuff I have written over the years.  And then I decided to take the test again.  And interestingly, now, things have changed a tad.  Here are the results.




As far as Social Libertarian versus Social Authoritarian is concerned, I’m still quite the former, and though things have changed I’m definitely in the same camp.

Economic Left versus Economic Right is a different matter, though.  I really have moved quite a bit towards the centre ground – at least the centre ground as defined by Political Compass’s methodology.  I find this interesting.  I posted the below on Facebook a few minutes ago, in particular (I think) in relation to my recent post on emerging from eleven years of a depression I was unaware of being afflicted by:

Just did the test again. I’m just as libertarian (so is that good or bad?), but now much closer to the centre between left and right … I think my life changes have played a part in this – or maybe my change of political attitude has allowed me to change my life?

Can how we feel about life make us more left-wing or right-wing?  It hardly seems counter-intuitive.

And I mean from an emotional point of view, not necessarily intellectual.  I mean in the sense that being riven with resentment about one thing or another – which translated into terms we can empathise with means feeling powerless – is bound to make you want to side with the underdog.  And siding with the underdog is – conversely – a momentarily empowering choice.  It aligns us with many others, whose badges of courage we begin to attach to ourselves.  We stop thinking from scratch, but this happens on either side too.

And when I say either side, I mean to say that a left-wing dictatorship has as many underdogs as a right-wing junta.  Underdogs – and their proliferation – are not the preserve of left- or right-wing environments.

So if we are to resolve the issue of the disengagement – the real unlife – of so many people from the levers of power, we first have to address the purpose of politics: and in so doing we must decide whether it is actually its main goal to grab levers of power out of the hands of the majority in order to impose the will of a substantive minority.  The results of many elections in Western nations of late certainly describe this pattern.  It would seem logical to say that this has become the rationale and objective of most Western politicians: keep the others out, then grab the votes and run.

But what if the purpose of politics was to facilitate access to the levers of power – share it around, I mean – instead of diminishing it?  Is that such a strange idea?  Couldn’t the very adoption of moderately left-wing libertarianisms – carefully framed by clear touchpoints of interventionist government on certain key social matters such as education, health, crime and national security – help devolve the power, and maximise the levers everyone could grasp, without slowing down the processes of democratic consultation or process?

Allow people to participate without participation becoming a chore, I mean.  Systemically create an enabling environment where choice was reduced judiciously so the process of choosing was no longer onerous.

In a sense, identify what could safely be done by us all with limited requirements for upskilling – and move on from there.

I dunno.

I don’t half feel it might be a good idea, though.


IMG_2073 (Edited)