When we purchase or use any software, or hardware, or thing, or craft, or product, you are in part giving yourself over to a philosophy. All products have one. Some more obvious than others. Those things we build for ourselves are guided by our own philosophy. Those things built by others are guided by theirs and through our use we accept and adopt these.

The recent controversy and numerous arguments and counter-arguments around Apple’s mute switch is really arguing about philosophy. Apple clearly has a philosophy about the way the hardware and software should treat the mute switch. Basically, mute means mute except in the cases where the user has asked it not to be. When a user asks for an alarm to sound or a video to play, ignore the switch. You don’t have to agree with this philosophy. There are several ways to get around this philosophy (one being to turn the phone off entirely). But, regardless, when you bought that phone part of what you were buying was this philosophy and any others Apple has decided to imbue.

The discussions back and forth about comments being a good or bad thing — philosophy. If you go to a site with comments enabled, the site’s owner is making a philosophical statement about a belief that comments from, and discussion with, others are an essential part of the ideas expressed. By your participation, whether it be reading them or participating by adding your own, you are buying into this philosophy. There are options to opt-out of this philosophy, one being not to visit the site at all. But, make no mistake, there is a philosophy being expressed and you are being given the opportunity to agree with and participate in it.

The solution is simple, if you are not willing to agree to or buy into someone else’s philosophy, learn the skills required to build something that closely matches your own.