-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- Hash: SHA512by Javantea
Feb 4, 2015
Before you write a letter accusing me of class warfare and petty bourgeoisie anti-intellectual navel-gazing, read on. The title is misleading. No, I'm not going to make the opposite case either. Let's talk for a moment about happiness and money. A windfall of a small amount can make a poor person unimaginably happy. Gifts that make it easier for you to buy something you need or want are a big deal. A gamer who wins a challenging game becomes elated and euphoric. Some have called it the "epic" emotion. A gamer needs extra money to buy games and so without money they are usually unable to play very many games. For many gamers, their happiness subsides over time playing the same game. This is known as replayability and is very important for MMORPGs, online games, and even single player games. But the epic emotion is just one tiny sliver of happiness.
Happiness is the emotion that accompanies goodness. But does goodness equal happiness? In my opinion, no. I have for years attempted to argue that hedonism is a bankrupt philosophy and that doing something because it makes you happy is not the same as only doing things because they make you happy. Purpose comes not from happiness in my opinion, the reverse is not exactly true either. Purpose is often thought of as an old puritanical value that doesn't fit in with post-modern philosophy of life. But wait, why do we care about post-modernism? Because life matters. It takes almost no effort on the part of a philosopher to come to the conclusion that nihilism is incorrect despite the important lessons it teaches us. But post-modern philosophy goes much further than nihilism. Existentialism is a much more complex philosophy that post-modernism uses to deal with the major questions of life. Its opposition to positivism and rationalism in my opinion makes it unable to explain purpose that is ingrained into our soul, but I can understand how they would come to their conclusions. So how does this fit in with happiness? It is my belief that happiness comes from more than one thing. This makes it elusive. When you chase it, you lose it. When you have it you don't know that you have it, you just are. But that doesn't mean that you have to just be happy with your lot and not strive to make yourself happier. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Strive, knock, ask and don't stop until you look back and say that you were happy. Don't worry that you aren't currently happy, as Winston Churchill said, "If you're going through hell, keep going." What makes this so important is that you don't really know if you're happy now if you are happy. So you have to try to figure out what will make yourself happy and do that. But like I said before, happiness isn't everything.
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I thought I'd just write a few thoughts down and see where it goes. I'm having trouble writing down my thoughts. Apologies if I go too fast. I'm not in the mood to be patient.
First things first. I write a lot. My mother is a bibliophile. I am a scriptophile, I love to write. But I don't publish most of what I write. My graphic novel Javantea's Fate ground to a halt not long after it started, so I started a blog called "Making of JF" hoping to gain readership by writing keywords and drawing interesting things a few days per week. Years later very few pages of Javantea's Fate were finished, but 378 pages of Making of JF were done. That's a huge amount of writing. It was a very tough part of my life, so I'm glad that I have that corpus of writing to show what my mind was thinking. But I didn't post everything I wrote. The House MD episode "Private Lives" discussed a person who wrote down everything she was going through. I didn't do that back in 2001, but I was spending a few hours three days a week on it. I can't do that now because I signed a confidentiality contract with my previous employer and one of our clients. They went to bat for me and I owe them my current happy status but I also think that the past four years of not quite radio silence (comparatively) has warped my mind. Of course my mind was warped before I went to work in infosec, but the secrets I've kept have gnawed at me. It's the whole issue of doublethink straight from 1984. I am holding two contradicting truths to be true at the same time. Operational security is incredibly important, information should be made free. But information is power and with great power comes great responsibility. I am an irresponsible person. I don't believe in control.
Let's talk about control. There are more than a few theories on the human mind that talk about control and I'm not going to do them any justice explaining them right now. Let's say that my friend, let's call him Descartes for now says that human beings are incapable of moving. He's wrong, but let's say I'm so furious that I want to prove to him that human beings are capable of moving. So I tell him, if I am able to walk from my current position to one foot in front of you, then I can move and your statement is false. He replies, but how do you know you're moving and not changing my mind about what's going on? Occam's razor? Nope. Descartes isn't having it. So I think again. I am unable to reach out and touch you right now. If I am able to reach out and touch you, I must be able to move therefore your theory is wrong. Descartes is too smart for that. You can change my mind, so how do I know if you're actually touching me?
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This is a quick message to those who communicate with me over PGP or who verify my signatures, I am now using a new key and I am retiring (but not yet revoking) the old 1954fed2 key. Many things I have written are still signed with the old key and many software packages I wrote are signed by that key so it will remain secret hopefully for a year or two. The reason I'm changing keys is because the 1954fed2 key is 1024-bit El-Gamal and is 9 years old. How many keys are 9 years old? The longevity of my key probably has to do with my trust in El-Gamal and my distrust of RSA. Over the past few months I have factored a handful of weak RSA keys and I have done a little bit of cryptanalysis. There are many weaknesses in cryptographic keys and many weaknesses in the computer systems that protect them. We hope that we will avoid these and that our random number generators are strong enough to keep the NSA from reading our personal and business conversations that we choose to encrypt with PGP. We also hope that the NSA isn't able to sign malicious software with our keys or the keys of people we rely upon to provide us with software. But in all, we can only do so much and if RSA is broken or SHA-2 is broken, then we just have to deal with the consequences. Until we know better, we have to use the best judgement we have.
So now for the key. It's been signed by 1954fed2. The key id is CBA783EF. As always, only trust fingerprints or keys signed by keys you have checked the fingerprints for.
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For those who are interested in the OpenPGP format. Here is a parsing of the above public key: