#17 On Selfishness

Posted on Thursday, May 14, 2015
Yay! Another Open Source Creative Podcast episode. In this one, I have a long conversation with myself about the nature of art and open source software as it pertains to selfishness. Is art inherently selfish? Is it not? Is that a bad thing? And likewise for Free Software.Originally posted on monsterjavaguns.com.

Show Notes

Yay! Another Open Source Creative Podcast episode. In this one, I have a long conversation with myself about the nature of art and open source software as it pertains to selfishness. Is art inherently selfish? Is it not? Is that a bad thing? And likewise for Free Software. Yeah… it’s an interesting thing and it was stuck in my head because of a handful of tweets with Chris Oatley, Stephen Brooks, and Amanda Carbine (and that’s the beauty of Twitter, by the way… I don’t know any of these people, but it was cool to have a conversation with them). Anyhow, have a listen and let me know your thoughts.

But first… a few personal news linkage bits:

  • Blender For Dummies, 3rd edition was released. Woohoo!
  • As a result, I re-launched BlenderBasics.com as the official Blender For Dummies website with a bunch of written tutorials there
  • And, thanks to the generous backers of my Kickstarter campaign, I was able to purchase a block of 100 ISBNs and I’ve started the publishing process for my first indie book, Definitely True: Year One, under my M. J. Guns pen name. The ebook is currently available for pre-order on Amazon and Kobo… and both the print version and the ebook will be available on all the other book selling sites shortly. Wheeeee!

And… in open source creative software news:

Open source creative software releases:

And one last thing that I forgot to mention… I’m speaking SELF, the SouthEast LinuxFest, in Charlotte, North Carolina. SELF is in June, from the 12th to the 14th. I’ll be talking about producing cool creative things with open source software. I’ve never been to a Linux conference before so it should be a lot of fun. If you’re going to be there, come track me down.

And that’s about it. See you next episode.

1 Archived Comment

Dave Hingley, May 20, 2015

Hi Jason,

sorry this episode was a little too rambley and the point didnt really make a lot of sense

but if I understand you correctly, the intent to create is selfish and the relase of the creation of selfless. so not a slong a post this time- sorry.

first up, lets abandon those terms, they are too culturally loaded. it doesn’t matter if you try and contextuallise it, selfishness still registers as a negative concept.

so instead let’s redefine the first concept that intent to create is self gratifying:

only that doesn’t work, for example, yesterday I had to solve a small problem in the office, in order to fix it i wrote a small program in processing. Do I like writing code in Processing? no. I don’t like writing it, buts its fast and gives quick feedback and i could write it quickly. so there was nothing in the process of creating it that was self gratifying. I neede a piece of software to solve a problem.

you could argue that the need for the software was self gratifying. Indeed, I could have lived without the software tool, but things would have taken longer. is it self gratifying to want to work more efficiently? or to reduce unnecesary work?

when I get home, I cook dinner for my partner and me. the intent to create dinner is driven by the nescesity to eat. otherwise we starve to death. yes we enjoy the food, you could argue that is self gratifying, although I used a different brand of tuna and it was shredded instead of flaked, and I didnt like it. I still are the whole thing, because it was a choice between that or nothing. is that still self gratifying?

so maybe we should simply say that the intent to create is driven by nescesity – after all, necesity is the mother of invention.

ok, so thats the first concept looked at lets look at sharing.

sharing is selfless.

only it isn’t, in your episode you mention that selling is a form of sharing (it isn’t, selling is selling, sharing is sharing- its part of the reason why Hollywood is so pissed with people sharing fiilms) After all, you arent giving away any of your books right? so you do gain from every copy sold. thsi can be seen to be not selfless.

In my spare time, over the last couple of years, I have been working on a pece of short animation. I am using open source software, as part of this, I have written some software tools to help me make th animation. It is my desire, when the film is finsihed to release the software tools and the source models into the creative commons.In this example, my act of sharing the source files can probably be thought of as selfless

so maybe the act of of sharing could be considered as selflessly neutral, you can share exclusively – using a shop or money to limit who can actually consume your work, or you can share inclusively, by throwing it open to the community und Creative Commons

your analogy of mugging a guy for his watch, is kind of a different discussion between intent and result, any that might be worth talking about on a nother episode

cheers Dave


Jason van Gumster

Jason van Gumster

“I make stuff. I make stuff up. On occasion, I stuff-up what I make. I don’t do much stuff with make-up… though I’m not above trying. I work in all kinds of media: words, animation, ink, coffee, wood, video. And, of course, I’m really passionate about open source and open content, so that’s what I talk about in this show. Books I’ve written and other creative experiments I’ve made can be seen on monsterjavaguns.com.”