tracking trouble, day four

confession: I’m a little behind on tracking my virtue. Doing this every day can be difficult. I’m on day four of tracking my practices of troublemaking. I gave myself another 3 for how I did because, as I mentioned in my last post, I don’t like using the ranking system; it just doesn’t seem like the best way in which to reflect/evaluate how or what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. As I write this entry, I’m starting to think more about how to assess my practices. One key aspect of Aristotelean ethics (yes, there are lots of different visions/versions of virtue ethics) is the idea of the mean and balancing virtue between the vices of excess and deficiency. I have a chart of Aristotle’s table of virtues and vices from Nicomachean Ethics that my college advisor, the amazing religion professor Garrett Paul, handed out in an ethics class that I took my freshman year, way back in 1992. I’m looking at it right now. In a framework of virtue (mean) and vices (excess/deficiency), you aim for a balance in which you are neither practice too much or too little of a certain virtue. While I see some problems with using balance as a goal for a virtue like troublemaking, I also find it helpful to be able to evaluate when troublemaking practices are excessive (there are limits to disruption, especially in relation to my feminist vision of social transformation) and when they are deficient. My daughter RJP reminds me (all the time) of the limits of excessive troublemaking. Here’s what I wrote a few weeks ago about it in my post, Really Rosie! and Really, Rosie?

Being beside Rosie is always very helpful for my own thinking about troublemaking. Much like me, her troublemaking usually comes in the form of an insatiable curiosity and a refusal to merely accept what she is told. Because she asks so many questions and always demands explanations for why she must do this or believe that, she reminds me that engaging in troublemaking (or being around someone who is making trouble) can be exciting, exhilarating and exhausting. Indeed, troublemaking has its limits and shouldn’t be uncritically embraced as that which we should do all of the time. And when it is practiced, we need to remember how it can drain us or those around us. Throughout the past two and a half weeks, Rosie has prompted me to exclaim with joy, “Really Rosie!,” one minute, and then utter in annoyed disbelief, “Really, Rosie?,” the next.

What if an app had a ranking system in which you aimed for the mean instead of a high number? That allowed you to focus on finding the balance between extremes? Can I (mis)use this app to do this? Speaking of (mis)using the app, the first thing that I wrote in my reflection box for day four is: Just realized that I might be hacking this app!? Am I using that term correctly? I’m thinking partly of the collection, Hacking the Academy, and their invoking of hacking–but what do they mean? Need to find a good definition. By hacking, I mean that I am troubling this app (critically questioning it and using it in ways that were never intended in order to practice troublemaking and to achieve my goal of tracking my trouble). I wonder, (how) are other people hacking their apps? I can think of some ways, mostly involving advanced technical skills (jailbreaks). What other ways are people using apps subversively?

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