A stream of Terry A. Davis & TempleOS related videos sourced from the https://archive.org/details/TerryADavis_TempleOS_Archive Terry A. Davis had schizophrenia. A severe mental disability. It was not uncommon for him to say things many would consider offensive. This stream can be very NSFW.
Ancient Egyptians seem to be the most forward-thinking in their treatment of mental illness; they recommended that those afflicted with mental pathology engage in recreational activities such as concerts, dances, and paintings in order to relieve symptoms and achieve some sense of normalcy.
All good in ancient Egypt until you realise they went in for the ol’ wandering womb theory. But it’s shocking to see how much suffering has been inflicted on people with mental illness throughout human history.
This combination of TempleOS’s amateurish approach and Terry’s unfortunate outbursts have resulted in TempleOS being often regarded as something to be mocked, ignored, or forgotten. Many people have done some or all of those things, and it’s understandable why.
I’m reminded of a movie I once saw called Lars And The Real Girl, in which a man buys a RealDoll and treats her as his real girlfriend. Rather than laughing at him, the residents of his town instead band together and treat her as if she were a real person too. When I started watching it, I expected some Will Ferrell-esque comedy where this guy would be played only for laughs. Instead, I found an incredibly compassionate story within. The writer, Nancy Oliver, got the idea after thinking:
“What if we didn’t treat our mentally ill people like animals? What if we brought kindness and compassion to the table?”
There are many bad things to be said about TempleOS, many aspects of it that seem poorly constructed or wouldn’t work in the “real world”. I’m going to ignore them here. It’s very easy to be negative, but you will never learn anything new by doing so.
Many might consider TempleOS a waste of time, compared to more fully-featured OSs such as Linux, because it will never have the same success. Plan 9, developed by Bell Labs, was a research OS designed to be a successor to Unix. Despite some big names and big ideas, it was never any kind of commercial success. Was Plan 9 therefore a waste of time? Many would argue not, as some of its ideas have since found their way into other products.
Perhaps we should instead look at TempleOS as a research operating system: what can be accomplished if you’re not locked into established thinking, backwards compatibility, and market demands.
What can we learn if we are only willing to listen?
I’ll always remember him wearing that backwards baseball cap, showing off his creation with excited eyes. “I am the smartest programmer that ever lived,” he says several times. As the video gravitates to profanity-laced chest-thumping, he demonstrates the 3D shapes he’s just coded up to spin over his command line. He calls Unix “the last war” and was critical of the Massachusetts Institute if Technology.
Davis’ work may continue, since there’s a fork of TempleOS “for heretics.” It’s called Shrine.
“The phrase, ‘tortured artist’ is thrown around a lot, but he really was a tortured artist… it’s a sad end to a life that went awry for reasons beyond his or anyone’s control.”
“He needed a lot of help, but a great hacker has passed, and we should remember him for his work.”
“I can’t begin to imagine how difficult it’s been living such a challenging life for all these years.”
“I always thought of Terry as somewhat of an anti-hero of the hacker community. Most of us know what it feels like to go down a rabbit hole building something technically impressive, yet ultimately useless, because the voices in our heads told us to.”
Over 600 people upvoted the story, offering one more testimonial to the memories Davis left behind. In the end, nearly 200 comments were added to the thread.
Building a castle is a monumental undertaking any way you look at it. But constructing an entire castle pebble by pebble, stone by stone, using only materials found while making your mail route? That’s absolutely inconceivable. Yet that is exactly what Ferdinand Cheval did, and more than 100 years later his pebble castle still stands, drawing tourists from around the world to Hauterives, France.
The entirely outlandish castle construction began when Cheval literally tripped on a bizarre-looking stone during his daily mail route. He took the stone home with him, sparking an idea that would consume him for the next three-plus decades.
When speaking of the project, Ferdinand Cheval recounted,
“I was walking very fast when my foot caught on something that sent me stumbling a few meters away, I wanted to know the cause. In a dream I had built a palace, a castle or caves, I cannot express it well… I told no one about it for fear of being ridiculed and I felt ridiculous myself. Then fifteen years later, when I had almost forgotten my dream, when I wasn’t thinking of it at all, my foot reminded me of it. My foot tripped on a stone that almost made me fall. I wanted to know what it was… It was a stone of such a strange shape that I put it in my pocket to admire it at my ease.”
Stuff like this is why I wish radio budgets allowed for foreign travel. I want to wander the halls of this place.
Writer and Lawyer Christie Tate suffered the wrath of the social media mob when her article was originally published. Sadly, most of the angry people missed the point behind the provocative headline – that in telling stories that include other people, you have to make and respect one another’s boundaries.
…my plan is to chart a middle course, where together we negotiate the boundaries of the stories I write and the images I include. This will entail hard conversations and compromises. But I prefer the hard work of charting the middle course to giving up altogether — an impulse that comes, in part, from the cultural pressure for mothers to be endlessly self-sacrificing on behalf of their children. As a mother, I’m not supposed to do anything that upsets my children or that makes them uncomfortable, certainly not for something as culturally devalued as my own creative labor.
Writer Christine Organ has described how “we seem to be creating this unrealistic image of the mother as all-giving, all-knowing, selfless, superhuman who will gladly give up the last piece of apple pie to please her lip-smacking, big-eyed child.” Surely, there’s a way to cut the pie so that I can write about motherhood in a way that takes into account my daughter’s feelings and respects her boundaries. But if I simply cordoned off motherhood as a forbidden subject for my writing, we would never know.
My daughter didn’t ask to have a writer for a mother, but that’s who I am. Amputating parts of my experience feels as abusive to our relationship as writing about her without any consideration for her feelings and privacy.
For now, we have agreed that I will not submit a picture for a publication without her permission and that she has absolute veto rights on any image of herself. As for content, I have agreed to describe to her what I’m writing about, in advance of publication, and to keep the facts that involve her to a minimum. I have not yet promised that she can edit my work, but we acknowledged that is a future possibility. She also requested that instead of using her name, I call her by her self-selected pseudonym, Roshelle…
We had Professor Sonia Livingstone on this weeks episode talking about where the right to tell your own story ends, and the privacy rights of others begin. But you should check out her article on Sharenting in full, it’s a fascinating read 🙂
This article asks whether “sharenting” (sharing representations of one’s parenting or
children online) is a form of digital self-representation. Drawing on interviews with 17
parent bloggers, we explore how parents define the borders of their digital selves and
justify what is their “story to tell.” We find that bloggers grapple with profound ethical
dilemmas, as representing their identities as parents inevitably makes public aspects of
their children’s lives, introducing risks that they are, paradoxically, responsible for
safeguarding against. Parents thus evaluate what to share by juggling multiple obligations
– to themselves, their children in the present and imagined into the future, and to their
physical and virtual communities. The digital practices of representing the relational self
are impeded more than eased by the individualistic notion of identity instantiated by
digital platforms, thereby intensifying the ambivalence of both parents and the wider
society in judging emerging genres of blogging the self.
A survey of Italian mothers who engage in ‘sharenting’ suggests they are motivated by both a desire for external validation, as well as more communitarian goals such as sharing moments with distant relatives and seeking support. But while many mothers see it as their right to engage in sharenting, what implications does this have for children’s rights and privacy?