Monday, November 28, 2022

Money is everything?

I have had occasion to mention that the fact that we humans have this innate ability to swear to the truth of two diametrically opposite views...at the SAME time. And not even be conscious of being self-contradictory. Yet, you know, when it comes to money, we wish to do the same and...surprise, surprise...we find that we become all too aware of the fact that the views are contradictory. Money IS a strange beast.

I mean, on the one hand, we would all like to see the life as something that has more meaning to it than to just have a good time while you are alive. I mean, like, not everyone HAS enough money to spend on having a good time...and most have to slog all their lives to make the money which they expect will allow them a small sliver of good times near the end of their lives. So, if ALL that Life means is having a good time when you are alive, what does that leave them with? Envying those who CAN afford the good time for most of their life while slogging away in the hope of future good times? What sort of fun is there in that? If Life had a purpose beyond just the living, THEN it would be something. THEN money would not be everything, would it?

But, hey, how can one not want a good time now? I mean, how does one give up on money, give up on the good food, the good clothing, those pleasure trips, those pub visits...What stupidity to think that money does not buy happiness? Maybe it doesn't, but it is a lot better to be miserable with money than without, it is only a question of knowing where to shop for happiness, yada yada yada.

So there! We WISH that money is not everything and, at the same time, we wish FOR more money! It feels like a self-contradiction and, so, there we go getting all defensive about wanting money!

Like I have been telling (ad nauseum? I cannot be responsible for your gastric issues!), this digital view of every issue is a bleeding pain in the you-know-what. I mean, come on, if one says, 'Money isn't everything' does it automatically mean, 'Money is NOTHING'? So, why then do we think it is contradictory?

It is perfectly fine to want money to satisfy your wants and needs; perfectly fine to say that I shall restrict my wants. Because, to get the money for the rest of my wants will require so much more of my time to be spent on making the money that, overall, my life will be more stunted if I do that. (Well, to all those who prefer examples to concepts...If you'd rather take time off every year to go on long hikes and, therefore, choose a less demanding job, it's good. Everyone does not need to buy a yacht so much that they have to go in for a high pressure job which will make a yacht affordable but put the yearly hikes out of reach.)

You know, chase YOUR cheese, not someone else's. It's all good. The only rank stupidity in the world is forgetting the nature of money.

You can either be someone who wants money because you have things to do which require the money. OR you can be the sort of person who only chooses to do those things that get you money.

When money is a means to YOUR ends, it is a good servant. But when it becomes an end in itself...

Monday, November 21, 2022

Advice

You know, the one thing that I have found with people is that they all love GIVING advice. Very few actually like receiving advice, especially when they do not ask for it. AND, more often than not, someone who asks for advice is asking you to justify why what he intends doing/has done is right. They may not say it in so many words but, apparently, a lot of people believe in... 

"I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself." - Oscar Wilde.

Well, actually, a lot of advice IS like that, though I do not know whether it qualifies as good advice. I mean, like you get cancer and THEN a goodly lot of people come and tell you about how you should have given up smoking; you break a bone on a trek and hordes of people come and advice you not to take such risks at your age...things like that. I mean, really, how useful to oneself is that advice THEN?

But, yeah, even really good advice is very seldom of use to one...merely because most of such advice ends up asking you to do a wholesale character make-over which may well be beyond you. Like 'You should control your temper better' OR 'You need to be more disciplined' OR whatever that seems to run against the grain of who you are. Pass it on, guys, pass it on, you cannot use it yourself!

And, so, like those wedding gifts - the 23rd wall clock or the 37th flower vase - advice also needs passing on to the next person because it is of no use to you. OR so most of the world believes. Is it a wonder that few want to listen to it and most want to give it? I mean, like, if I am overflowing with wall clocks, am I likely to be interested in giving them away or in collecting more of them?

The modern world has made things easy. I just received some advice - dressed up nicely in graphics - talking all about living in the moment. I promptly passed it on by forwarding it to a friend. Before I could even blink, up pops a notification from another friend and....presto! I have that advice back with me again! And, without even a threat of dire happenings if it is not forwarded to ten people within seconds!

Well! Well! Well!

Monday, November 7, 2022

Identity and identifiers

I am nitpicking? There is no difference between identity and identifiers? YOU are the reason why people think that an attractive label is enough to sell a product. After all, if the identifier - the label - is good, you will assume that the identity - the product - is also good.

Ah, so YOU are not that sort of person? Too clued in to be taken in by labels? Good for you. Ever had a nickname at school or college? More often than not they tend to be derogatory, though quite rarely they may be complimentary too. Those pesky nicknames...except where they were initials or shortened forms of your own name, which is only for convenience...the nicknames, as I was saying, tend to pick on something that people consider your identifier - caste, a physical peculiarity, whatever - and, invariably, THAT identifier was picked because it could be used to make fun of you. Children, those pure souls, are that way, only. NOW, can you say that you have never assessed another person's abilities based on what the nickname made you think of him?

You see, these identifiers are not innocuous - they have identities of their own. You create a nickname that makes fun of the other guy...sooner or later, you start looking on him as a figure of fun. Identifiers are dangerous that way. You see someone as Babar Azam, then you MAY see him as a likable, friendly, talented, ambitious young man; you see him as a 'Pakistani'...oh, well! When you allow identifiers to stand in for the identity of the other person (OR for yourself)...

But, then, as I have had occasion to say before, who has the time, energy and ability to assess other people. Far easier to read those labels and assume who or what they are...

Cannot spend all day on ONE tweet, now, can we?

Monday, October 31, 2022

The virtue of remembering?

There you go again. I say 'remembering' and you can only think of that one thing. NO, NO, NO! I am not about the start on the virtues of remembering chaps who pop in thirty years after you last saw them and croak, "Remember me?" I mean, come on, how does one look at a bald, overweight, wheezing wreck of a man and recollect the svelte 16 year old who won the 100m race back at school? (Am I not a wreck too? So I am but I am not the one asking the other guy to remember me. And I will have you know that I did NOT win the 100m race either, my only success in athletics being that of applauding the loudest from the sidelines. So there!)

It so happened that I came across one of those WhatsApp videos about the design of the bullet train in Japan. Apparently, initially the sonic boom of the train exiting a tunnel used to be problem for the neighborhood and, therefore, an engineer was tasked with cutting it down/out. Being a birdwatcher, our man realised that the kingfisher dives down at such speeds to get fish and neither creates a sonic boom nor splatters upon hitting water. And, so, he based his bullet train design on the beak of the Kingfisher.

Being the sort of innocent-at-large who believes whatever he comes across, I assume that this is true. Though I'd not be surprised if someone popped out and said that it is one of the top lessons from WhatsApp University which is guaranteed false either. Any way, my point would still hold.

You see, when you KNOW you want to know something (like knowing the movie in which a song featured), you can google for it. So, it's not a big deal if you cannot remember it. The issue is that knowing AND remembering something can come in handy in a totally unrelated area where you'd otherwise not even think to check it out. As in, does a locomotive designer automatically google for questions in ornithology when faced with a problem in design? It is only when you already know AND remember facts that you can put it together creatively.

I have had to face a great deal of issues, though, because of doing it. As in, people do not even think school algebra is worth remembering. So, on a matter of policy, where the procedure looked right on the face of it but my school algebra proved that it would be wrong in application...ah, I was initially looked on as a trouble-maker trying to create problems where none existed in order to push myself into prominence. AND, later, when the problems did surface, I was suddenly the genius. GENIUS? For remembering school algebra, I ask you.

But, yeah, in a day when the job of remembering has been shelved off to Google, the chap who can actually remember IS a genius. AND only he can be a real genius.

For, after all, most of genius IS thinking out of the box. AND, normally, you will only google for in-the-box (as in what you know you ought to know but don't know) facts! How then will you be creative?