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Philip K. Howard

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The utopian urge that prompted us in recent decades to write the world's thickest instruction manual, naming it the law of the land, has led us to invent a device that, like detailed rules, also avoids the untidiness of human judgment. It goes by an ancient name, process, but its purpose is new. It once existed to help humans make responsible decisions. Process now has become an end in itself.
The Death of Common Sense, ISBN 0-679-42994-8, p. 60.

Philip K. Howard

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When a device as simple as a door has to come with an instruction manual—even a one-word manual—then it is a failure, poorly designed.

Donald Norman

They, economics and evolution, are both examples of a larger process, which has been at work in this part of the universe for a very long time. This is the process of the development of structures of increasing complexity and improbability. The evolutionary process always operates through mutation and selection and has involved some distinction between the genotype which mutates and the phenotype which is selected. The process by which the genotype constructs the phenotype may be described as "organization". Economic development manifesto itself largely in the production of commodities, that is, goods and services. It originates, however, in ideas, plans, and attitudes in the human mind. These are the genotypes in economic development. This whole process indeed can be described as a process in the growth of knowledge. What the economist calls "capital" is nothing more than human knowledge imposed on the material world. Knowledge and the growth of knowledge, therefore, is the essential key to economic development. Investment, financial systems and economic organizations and institutions are in a sense only the machinery by which a knowledge process is created and expressed.

Kenneth Boulding

Although we revolutionary socialists are always accused of being Utopian, nothing strikes me as more Utopian than the reformist belief that with a bit of tinkering and some good faith, we can systematically improve the world. You have to ask how many decades of broken promises and failed schemes it will take to disprove that hope. Marxism isn’t about saying you’ll get a perfect world: it’s about saying we can get a better world than this one, and it’s hard to imagine, no matter how many mistakes we make, that it could be much worse than the mass starvation, war, oppression, and exploitation we have now. In a world where 30,000 to 40,000 children die of malnutrition daily while grain ships are designed to dump food into the sea if the price dips too low, it’s worth the risk.

China Mieville

The problem is, eternity is barred to humans, and so humans, all too painfully aware of that and entertaining little hope of appealing against that verdict of fate, seek to stifle and deafen their tragic wisdom in a hubbub of frail and fleeting pleasures. This admittedly being a false calculation—for the same reason which prompted it (that tragic wisdom can never be chased or conjured away for good)—they condemn themselves, whatever their material wealth, to perpetual spiritual poverty: to continuous unhappiness (‘A man is as unhappy as he has convinced himself to be’). Instead of seeking the way to happiness within the limits of their predicament, they take a long detour, hoping that somewhere along the route their odious and repulsive destiny may be escaped or fooled—only to land back in the despair that prompted them to start on their voyage of (dearly wished for, yet unattainable) discovery. The only discovery humans can possibly make on that voyage is that the route they have taken was but a detour that sooner or later will bring them back to the starting line.

Zygmunt Bauman

The process by means of which human beings can arbitrarily make certan things stand for other things may be called the symbolic process. Whenever two or more human beings can communicate with each other, they can, by agreement, make anything stand for anything. For example, here are two symbols:
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We can agree to let X stand for buttons and Y for bows; then we can freely change our agreement and let X stand for [...] North Korea, and Y for South Korea. We are, as human beings, uniquely free to manufacture and manipulate and assign values to our symbols as we please. Indeed, we can go further by making symbols that stand for symbols. [...] This freedom to create symbols of any assigned value and to create symbols that stand for symbols is essential to what we call the symbolic process.

S. I. Hayakawa
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