This is a values/philosophy post from a private blog for a product I'm a part of
My girlfriend often speaks about a film theory concept of the Male Gaze. It’s exactly as it sounds, basically the majority of the western cinema canon is inspired, ideated, and implemented (wrote/shot/edited) from the perspective of the western male.
Gaze implies visual perspective, so like the angle of the camera, or the selected focal point. But I think it goes much deeper. The gaze is not simply the visual gaze itself, but the underlying framework of how a fictional world — and consequently the real one — works. A really palpable example would be a quiet guy enters a cafe and there’s an attractive but less economically powerful — but artistic of course — barista. We already know what’s going to happen. A lot of this is because of the Male Gaze’s inherent nature in not only cinema, but art in general.
But I’d like to go further and say art is just a manifestation of life. And so the male gaze is seeded in all perspectives. Even though it feels less relevant due to uprisings of other perspectives, those other perspectives were built ontop of the original gaze. OG haha.
All modern software is built on top of a language called C. Even this blog post you’re reading, is a HTML page… but it was generated by a language called PHP which is built on top of C. And the computer hosting that PHP is running software that allows your computer/phone to request this blog post, and all of that liasoning software is also built with C… and the computers — your laptop and your phone — all underlaid somewhere, beneath the beautiful slick facade…. all is C.
Anyways, I wanted to outline all that because there’s a trope in how somebody learns software. They begin building things with the developer’s gaze. This usually implies increasing efficiency, increasing speed, increasing real-time, increasing data. I fell for this too. I’ve spent many days trying to increase efficiency on something that ended up not mattering at all.
So the reason why I chose to align philosophically with the idea of people bringing their own communication is because Communication with a capital C is great. There’s no problem with communication. And ever since the explosion of the web, developers with our developers’ gaze have promised to improve communication. But this usually meant more efficient communication. Have message arrives instantaneously, notify when a person’s read a message, light up the screen and ping sounds at you to let you know an instantaneous message has just arrived. All of this is great for certain kinds of communication in certain domains. But not for the majority of people and the majority of life.
That’s why right now we should focus on improving how people communicate rather than techno-optimistically improving communication itself. Honestly, the best technologies I’ve relied on for great communications are, porcelain mugs, high quality coffee or tea, and a capitalistic system that provides the incentives to sustain a supply-chain of farmers, baristas, and cafe owners.
Trying to develop a better communication software by improving communication itself is I think not a good purpose at this point in time. What I think we’d be better fit doing is, improving the logistics and behind-the-scenes-work that go into setting up the moments for communication… whether that’s a candid phone call, or thoughtful text/email, or better-yet plans of meeting in person…. but one thing I know for now is I’d rather let people bring their own communication to the party.