Today’s real world of technology is characterized by the dominance of prescriptive technologies. Prescriptive technologies are not restricted to materials production. They are used in administrative and economic activities, and in many aspects of governance, and on them rests the real world of technology in which we live. While we should not forget that these prescriptive technologies are exceedingly effective and efficient, they come with an enormous social mortgage. The mortgage means that we live in a culture of compliance, that we are ever more conditioned to accept orthodoxy as normal, and to accept that there is only one way of doing “it.

Ursula M. Franklin, The Real World of Technology. (ISBN: 9780887846366) p.19

[W]hen we see free software—and we have a very long free software culture/movement—we always think of freedom of assembly freedom of speech, instead of freedom of cost, because we know that freedom is never free of cost. Our parents’ generation, our grandparent’s generation, paid dearly for it and we need to use software freedoms to keep it free.

Audrey Tang, Stories for the Future of Democracy.

Wonderful is the effect of impudent and persevering lying. The British ministry have so long hired their gazetteers to repeat and model into every form lies about our being in anarchy, that the world has at length believed them, the English nation has believed them, the ministers themselves have come to believe them, and what is more wonderful, we have believed them ourselves. Yet where does this anarchy exist? Where did it ever exist, except in the single instance of Massachusets? And can history produce an instance of a rebellion so honourably conducted? I say nothing of it’s motives. They were founded in ignorance, not wickedness. God forbid we should ever be 20. years without such a rebellion. The people can not be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty.

Thomas Jefferson, Letter to William Stephens Smith.

We can’t change the whole system overnight. But we need to know what we would put in its place, and we can take advantage of the present crisis to begin working to create new models with the teachers, principals, and parents all over the city who have given themselves permission to think differently from the powers-that-be.

Grace Lee Boggs, The Next American Revolution.

If white, as it has been historically, is the top of the racial hierarchy in America, and black, historically, is the bottom, will yellow assume the place of the racial middle? The role of the racial middle is a critical one. It can reinforce white supremacy if the middle deludes itself into thinking it can be just like white if it tries hard enough. Conversely, the middle can dismantle white supremacy if it refuses to be the middle, if it refuses to buy into racial hierarchy, and if it refuses to abandon communities of black and brown people, choosing instead to forge alliances with them.

Mari J, Matsuda, Where is Your Body? And other essays on race, gender and the law. p.150

Rarely are there public discussions about the merits or problems of adopting a particular technology.…The political systems in most of today’s real world of technology are not structured to allow public debate and pubic input at the point of planning technological enterprises of national scope. And it is public planning that is at issue here. Regardless of who might own railways or transmission lines, radio frequencies or satellites, the public sphere provides the space, the permission, the regulation, and the finances for much of the research. It is the public sphere that grants the “right of way.” It seems to be high time that we , as citizens, become concerned about the granting of such technological rights of way.

Ursula M. Franklin, The Real World of Technology. (ISBN: 9780887846366) p.64–65

Tools often redefine a problem.… …[T]echnologies are developed and used within a particular social, economic, and political context. They arise out of a social structure, they are grafted on to it, and they may reinforce it or destroy it, often in ways that are neither foreseen nor foreseeable. In this complex world neither the option that “everything is possible” nor the option that “everything is preordained” exists.

Ursula M. Franklin, The Real World of Technology. (ISBN: 9780887846366) p.50–51

As methods of materials production, prescriptive technologies have brought into the real world of technology a wealth of important products that have raised living standards and increased well-being. At the same time they have created a culture of compliance. The acculturation to compliance and conformity has, in turn, accelerated the use of prescriptive technologies in administration, government, and social services. The same development has diminished resistance to the programming of people.

Ursula M. Franklin, The Real World of Technology. (ISBN: 9780887846366) p.19

The historical process of defining a group by their agreed practice and by their tools is a powerful one. It not only reinforces geographic or ethnic distributions, it also affects the gendering of work. When certain technologies and tools are predominantly used by men, then maleness becomes part of the definition of those technologies. It is for these deep-rooted reasons that it is so very difficult for women to enter what are now called “non-traditional” jobs. If engineers are male and maleness is part of engineering, the it’s tough for men to accept women into the profession. The apparent ease with which women acquire the knowledge necessary to practise only seems to increase the perceived threat to the male practitioners. And so year after year, engineering faculties go through initiation procedures that are crude, sexist, and obscene in order to establish that the profession is male, even if some of the practitioners are not.

Ursula Franklin, The Real World of Technology. (ISBN: 9780887846366) p.7–8

Social change will not come to us like an avalanche down the mountain. Social change will come to us through seeds in well prepared soil—and it is we, like the earthworms, who prepare the soil. We realize there are no guarantees as to what will come up. Yet we do know that without the seeds and the prepared soil nothing will grow at all.

Ursula M. Franklin, The Real World of Technology. (ISBN: 9780887846366) p.123

Design is no longer about designing the thing, you design the conditions for the thing to emerge–the conversation.

Indy Johar, Democratizing Cities.

Unless we actually find a means of change to deal with the complexity we’re in…we’re stuck between the hard choice of centralist populist ideas or actually really investing in democratizing the the capacity for people to change society.…

So if we want to drive change, we’re going to have to build a new organizational model. And that requires us to build an architecture of large conversations.

Indy Johar, Democratizing Cities.

I think that we as Americans really like the idea that the world is about us as individuals. I think that it’s important to recognize that that’s a cultural value. Individualism is a cultural value. It’s not a natural way of being. But there’s something about the classroom that also involves a collective experience. We learn from one another. It isn’t simply just a matter of things being personalized or individualized to meet our needs.

Audrey Watters, Why Audrey Watters Thinks Tech Is a Trojan Horse Set to ‘Dismantle’ the Academy.

Art is always difficult, but it is especially difficult when it comes to telling other people’s stories. And it is ferociously difficult when those others are tangled up in your history and you are tangled up in theirs. What honors those we look at, those whose stories we try to tell, is work that acknowledges their complex sense of their own reality.

Teju Cole, A Too-Perfect Picture.

[W]hat we have right now isn’t equality yet. It’s nothing like equality. But it’s still enough to enrage the old guard because when you’ve been used to privilege, equality feels like prejudice.

Laurie Penny, What to do when you're not the hero any more.

We are terrified of silence, so we encounter it as seldom as possible, even if this means losing experiences we know to be good ones, like children wandering alone or unsupervised in the countryside. We say that silence is a lack of something, a negative state. We are terrified of silence and we banish it from our lives.

Sara Maitland, A Book of Silence. (ISBN: 1582436134)

[T]he principal difference between heaven and hell is the company you keep there.

Lois McMaster Bujold, A Civil Campaign. (ISBN: 0671578855)

Take care of the people you love, and try to make yourself known and understood. Dial it down, work with your hands, keep it quiet, and share what you know.

Frank Chimero, This one’s for me.

[We need to] try harder to listen. We are all doing a great job at advocating for ourselves right now. We are doing it very effectively. What we are not doing is listening to the needs of our fellow Americans.

Andrea Seabrook, Decode DC.

[T]he idea of mental energy is more than a mere metaphor. The nervous system consumes more glucose than most other parts of the body, and effortful mental activity appears to be especially expensive in the currency of glucose. When you are actively involved in difficult cognitive reasoning or engaged in a task that requires self-control, your blood glucose level drops. The effect is analogous to a runner who draws down glucose stored in her muscles during a sprint. The bold implication of this idea is that the effects of ego depletion could be undone by ingesting glucose…

Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow. (ISBN: 9780374533557) p.43

People who are cognitively busy are also more likely to make selfish choices, use sexist language, and make superficial judgements in social situations…The self-control of morning people is impaired at night; the reverse is true of night people…[S]elf-control requires attention and effort.

Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow. (ISBN: 9780374533557) p.41