the pragmatic and the profound

First, the pragmatic: today I was interested to read Paul M. Jones’ framework benchmarks.  So often benchmarks are biased – and Paul would have every reason to be biased, considering he’s the author of Solar.  But he clearly goes through his methodology, and points out what he thinks might be the flaws in it.  An excellent read from a clear mind.  I’ll be interested to see the way the comments go, although I see from that and other blog entries I’ve been reading lately that RoR appears to have a number of comment spam bots (tongue firmly in cheek here).

Second, the profound: I was pleased to find online the complete text of C.S. Lewis’ essay The Inner Ring.  When I first read it (a few years ago now) it had a deep impact on me.  It was interesting to re-read this essay as my older, perhaps wiser, perhaps more bitter self.  If you’re not planning on clicking though, you may be swayed by the fact that the subtitle is "On Making Good Men Do Bad Things".  It’s about the desire to be accepted and how this turns men into scoundrels.  Sixty years old and as true as the day it was written.

In part:

To nine out of ten of you the choice which could lead to scoundrelism will come, when it does come, in no very dramatic colours. Obviously bad men, obviously threatening or bribing, will almost certainly not appear. Over a drink, or a cup of coffee, disguised as triviality and sandwiched between two jokes, from the lips of a man, or woman, whom you have recently been getting to know rather better and whom you hope to know better still- just at the moment when you are most anxious not to appear crude, or naïf or a prig- the hint will come. It will be the hint of something which the public, the ignorant, romantic public, would never understand: something which even the outsiders in your own profession are apt to make a fuss about: but something, says your new friend, which "we"- and at the word "we" you try not to blush for mere pleasure- something "we always  do."

And you will be drawn in, if you are drawn in, not by desire for gain or ease, but simply because at that moment, when the cup was so near your lips, you cannot bear to be thrust back again into the cold outer world. It would be so terrible to see the other man’s face- that genial, confidential, delightfully sophisticated face- turn suddenly cold and contemptuous, to know that you had been tried for the Inner Ring and rejected. And then, if you are drawn in, next week it will be something a little further from the rules, and next year something further still, but all in the jolliest, friendliest spirit. It may end in a crash, a scandal, and penal servitude; it may end in millions, a peerage and giving the prizes at your old school. But you will be a scoundrel.