Fridgeday 9 July 1999

Pic of the day: Growth is not always straightforward. And the twists and turns that we take through life, leave their marks on us. Ugliness or beauty? Or both, depending on the eyes of the beholder?


As usual, I was the last one to come to work. In the meantime, some of the users had panicked. During the night they had forgotten which password was for which machine, and were calling various external help lines to get help. Unsurprisingly, these were as confused as anybody else. Luckily I had decided to go to work despite the protest from parts of my body. I arrived just in time to calm it all down, and now it should work well enough until Monday, when some people are bound to panic again. Not necessarily the same ones. It is the middle of vacation season, so new people will pop in with little or no warning about the whole server change affair.


Onward to my philosophy about money. The capitalist society has proved a wonder in many ways, primarily because money motivates people. It is perhaps a sad fact, but it is a fact: Most people will work harder for money than for the common good. The challenge for society, then, is to transform this greed into a force for good.

It seems to me that our society is subtly moving in a wrong direction. More spesifically, I fear that we are developing a wrong sense of honor. I think here along the maturity axis again: We are developing a juvenile honor rather than a mature honor. Let me explain:

As a child, it is our nature to receive, by guile and force if necessary. Only by getting more than we give, can we grow up: Our small and weak bodies do not have the power to work for all we need, and our untrained minds do not have the knowledge. So we depend on being on the receiving end, and by instinct we delight in this.
As an adult, however, the flow should gradually change. We no longer need to grow larger, and we move into the part of life where nature intends us to provide rather than be provided for. We now have the power, in body and mind, to give more than we get. And if our soul has matured along with our body, we should delight in giving (at least within the bounds of reason).

But it seems that our ideal person is now stuck in the childlike state where getting is better than giving. There is honor in displaying a hoard of riches, as the saying goes: "He who dies with the most toys, wins." If the ideal person was mature, then there would be more honor in being seen as a giver. Often through history there has been a balance: The kings of old did hoard riches, but they also collected honor by donating to the worthy poor and by sponsoring the arts. In more recent times, the unusually rich would often sponsor a place of learning or a museum. I notice that this still happens, such as the fabulously wealthy Bill Gates donating a minor part of his riches to libraries. (And a minor part of his wealth is quite a lot.)

But generally I feel that the giving part is weakened and the grabbing part is strengthened in our generation. Just like we in many other ways hold youth as an ideal. This is the more strange since we as a society are getting older: The average age of the population is slowly increasing and is expected to do so for a long time yet. Is it not time, then, that we move towards a more mature ideal? A society that takes pride in creating, building and giving rather than in consuming?


Oops, it seems that I must yet again postpone my somber reflections on diamonds that don't last forever and atomic friends that don't get around to marry anyone else. The diary is full again! Hopefully another day, then.

The fridge is up and running again. It is really cool!


Saw a woman in town with a rather large tummy and a T-shirt that read: "Just did it!"

Adrift in time?
Yesterday (Yes, I believe in yesterday.)
Tomorrow (if any.)
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