Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Soul of Money

I have added a book to the book list of my well-received money article. (Warning: if you stray beyond that page, you'll be faced with nudity. Some like it, some don't.)
The book is The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist, and it is a wonderful insight into how we can reach sufficiency in life, both on personal levels and globally. Warmly recommended, like the others.

Intelligent Design

Currently in New Scientist, there are articles illuminating the currently raging battle in the USA about whether to teach children Darwin or Creationism (read: Christianity).

My reaction is: Those are the options? We are either naked apes or created things?

Having thus offended everybody, let me present some thoughts.
How about we:
*Are eternal beings, and are co-creators of the universe.
*Have infinite potential.
*Rule ourselves, but not each other.
*Are meat creatures, but only by choice, and the choice could be anything.
*Answer only to ourselves.

We don't know much yet. I know I am certainly confused. But maybe we are part in a game as old as time, and maybe at the same time the game is just getting started.

Note: this post has some very thoughtful comments, do read them.

Finnegans Wake

"Sir Tristram, violer d'amores, fr'over the short sea, had passencore rearrived from North Armorica on this side the scraggy isthmus of Europe Minor to wielderfight his penisolate war: nor had topsawyer's rocks by the stream Oconee exaggerated themselse to Laurens County's gorgios while they went doublin their mumper all the time: nor avoice from afire bellowsed mishe mishe to tauftauf thuartpeatrick: not yet, though venissoon after, had a kidscad buttended a bland old isaac: not yet, though all's fair in vanessy, were sosie sesthers wroth with twone nathandjoe. Rot a peck of pa's malt had Jhem or Shen brewed by arclight and rory end to the regginbrow was to be seen ringsome on the aquaface."
-- Finnegans Wake, James Joyce
(I just thought I'd give you a random sample of one of the most academically celebrated and studied novels of all time. What that proves, I'll leave up to you. :)


"My dad is turning 90 and still works full time as an engineer"
(From a blog comment)

Wow, that is very cool.
I think retirement is waaay overrated. Especially that of healthy, functional people. Not only has it a tendency to lead to depression and reduced health, it will also have a severe impact on the western economy when the baby boomers want to retire at once.

When retirement was institutionalized in the early twentieth, people were worn out at 65 and lived maybe three years after that. Today life expectance goes twenty or thirty years beyond. That is not retirement, that is a looong vacation!

Thanks guys for the great comments on this posting.
I think we all should work towards being able to do stuff we love all our lives (at least some of the time), instead of hoping to have time and money for it after we "retire". Who knows what happens? My uncle worked hard all his life (he laid bricks), and then died three months after retiring.
I think it would be much wiser not to set a fixed date to suddenly stop working (which should be a pleasurable activity after all), but instead mix work and play all our lives, and scale down work gradually if the energy wanes in our late years.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Emotions and Importance

I realized recently that for most people (everybody?), what triggers their emotions the most is also what must be the most important. They don't differentiate between the two things.
This explains many things, like:
Why the 3,000 dead in 9/11 were far more 'important' than the 5,000 killed every month by mistakes in the health care system.
Why being able to buy good things for your family is far more 'important' than working for a company which is ethical or which treats you with respect. Or starting a career which is what you want.
Why getting junk food that makes you feel good is far more 'important' than being strong and healthy in the future. (Guilty here sometimes.)

I am guessing we all operate that way, and the differences between people are mainly how big a perspective you have on life (how big are the things that affects your emotions), and how accurate your perceptions are.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Numbers and killings

If you read my post from Sep 17 named The State, you'll see the theme for which I just found this brilliant quote (thanks to Carter):

How many does it take to metamorphose wickedness into righteousness? One man must not kill. If he does, it is murder.... But a state or nation may kill as many as they please, and it is not murder. It is just, necessary, commendable, and right. Only get people enough to agree to it, and the butchery of myriads of human beings is perfectly innocent. But how many does it take?
--Adin Ballou, The Non-Resistant, 5 February 1845

By the way, Ballou's question is surely retorical, meant to illustrate that it is still wrong no matter how many people agree that it isn't. And I couldn't agree more.
But if we take the question to mean: how many does it take to ease the mind of the group that it is OK to kill? ... then I think the answer is simple: the majority.
If you have a group of ten men, and nine of them agree that Billy has to be lynched, then there is no problem. If only three of them thinks so, and they do it, then they are "wrong" in the eyes of the group, and must be punished.
If you have a very narrow majority, then you have strife, as witnessed in the USA currently.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


The sun is coming up under the horizon, I can feel it. It is dawn for mankind and the universe.
- Stobblehouse

The Law of Jante

Expanding on the ego posting:
It is pretty OK to have a big ego in the USA. People with huge egos are often admired, at least if they are also high achievers, just look at Bill Gates, Muhamad Ali, and Donald Trump.
It is much less OK in the UK.
And it is even less OK in Scandinavia (I am from Denmark), which is a very civilized, egalitarian, and socialistic society. This was actually a contributing reason to me moving out from Denmark, which I otherwise love dearly. (That and the taxes which go up to almost 70% for high earners, something which is obviously just another aspect of the same mentality.)
The Danes themselves recognize this as The Law Of Jante. Don't poke your head above the crowd! Read a great little essay about it.

Monday, October 24, 2005


Be modest if you want, going around claiming that you're really not all that great.

But don't be surprised if others (and yourself) one day start to believe you.

It seems that some people consider it a serious flaw for somebody to not be modest. I don't get that.
Seriously: if Joe Blow thinks Joe Blow is great, and he really is great, then it is just an accurate assesment, no? And if Joe Blow thinks Joe Blow is great, and he really is nothing special, then it is a charming conceipt which does nobody any harm.

I believe a low self esteem is one of the most common and most damaging social disorders we have in the modern world.

Sunday, October 23, 2005


If you can't trust your own perceptions, what can you trust?
Any evidence you will ever get of anything comes through your perceptions.