One of the problems with hackathons is that they place too much focus on speed and novelty, leading to a hacker culture which expects us to build something quickly, then move on to the next new thing. The maker culture isn’t that much different: makers build something based on a new idea, just to try it out. In many cases, this is a good thing: innovation thrives when we push the boundaries of what we know. But when we focus more on “newer” and “sooner” we tend to skip steps, or make sacrifices which result in poor long-term quality.
It would be false to assume, however, that this mentality is restricted to hackers and makers; I think this is systemic across most human activities. We touched on some topics of power and dominance when we read Freire, and I think those themes are especially relevant here, where “newer” is assumed to be “better” and “sooner” really means “before anybody else.”
I think I am much more pessimistic than Bookchin, and I really liked this line: “We are still the offspring of a violent, blood-soaked, ignoble history–the end products of man’s domination of man. We may never end this condition of domination.” While Bookchin felt that it was possible to end that cycle through anarchy, I am not so certain.
Am I wrong to think so pessimistically of the human race? Give me some hope that we as a society can eventually move beyond “Ooh, shiny!” to some state of mind based on a better good.