Tag Archives: lewe

Van hier tot Eternity

Die tydelike aspek van straf verder strek as die span tussen die misdaad en die straf. Die erns van die straf, word ook gemeet in terme van sy duur. En die dood sit 'n definitiewe einde aan al mensgemaakte duur. Hierdie inmenging van die dood in ons tydelike horisonne rommel op wat ons bedoel met proporsionele straf, wat is die rede agter die algemene gebrek aan bevrediging op Madoff se lang vonnis. As 'n gruwelike misdaad soos 'n sinnelose moord bring net 'n lewe-vonnis, en as jy weet dat “lewe” beteken net 'n paar maande of so, dan is die straf in en van die self nie in staat is weerhou die misdaad. En toe die misdaad is nie so sinneloos, maar na aanleiding van deeglike materiaal oorwegings, dit is 'n doelbewuste risiko-beloning analise wat sy kommissie bepaal. 'N Omvattende risiko-beloning analise behels, Ek dink, 'n oorweging van die waarskynlikheid van die opsporing, die intensiteit en duur van die potensiële straf, en die tyd 'n mens die buit te geniet en / of ly die straf. Daar is dalk ander faktore om te oorweeg, natuurlik. Ek wil nie weet, want ek het nie eintlik gedoen sodanige ontledings. Nog nie.

Die pokke storie wat ek vroeër genoem bring hierdie oorwegings na die voorgrond, saam met hoe die relatief hoë waarskynlikheid van die dood van die siekte raak hulle. Wetende dat daar nie veel tyd lewe te geniet (of gesig die musiek), twee ouer here van die storie besluit om te gaan en fees hulself op 'n plaaslike prostituut van die dorp vir wie hulle is eying vir 'n rukkie. Dit is nie dat die gevolge (spousal woede, slegte siektes ens) van hul optrede het verander. Net dat hul potensiaal duur het drasties afgeneem as gevolg van die uitbreek van pokke. Kennis van ons dood het 'n dramatiese uitwerking op ons morele inhibisies uit risiko-beloning ontledings gebore.

Dit is in hierdie lig dat ons geykte stellings soos om te ondersoek, “Leef in die oomblik,” of “Leef elke dag asof dit jou laaste is.” Wat hierdie stellings regtig bedoel nie? Die tweede een is veral interessant omdat dit 'n direkte verwysing na die dood. Is dit vra dat ons ons inhibisies vis-à-vis al ons aksies te werp? As dit so is, dit mag nie so 'n positiewe uitnodiging (wat, natuurlik, is 'n verklaring van waarde-oordeel wat voortspruit vorm 'n gevoel van 'n moraliteit van 'n onbekende oorsprong). Of dit kan wees om 'n eenvoudige vermaning nie uitstel — 'n positiewe ding deur dieselfde onseker moraliteit.

“Lewe in die hede” is selfs meer verwarrend. Ek dink dit kom uit die Zen idee van “hier” en “nou.” Ek kan soort van verstaan ​​die Zen idee in terme van kognitiewe neurowetenskap, alhoewel dit is die soort van ding wat Zen ons sou vra om nie te doen — verstaan ​​een ding in terme van iets anders. Volgens die Zen skool, 'n ervaring te geassimileer word voordat die intellek het 'n kans om dit te kleur in terme van vooropgestelde idees en filters. In die absolute stilte van 'n gedagte, vermoedelik teweeggebring deur die jare van introspeksie en intense bemiddeling, ervarings te neem op perseptueel akkurate en intellektueel ongekleurd vorms, wat hulle sê, is 'n goeie ding. Indien die stelling “Leef in die oomblik” verwys na hierdie modus van die lewe te ervaar, fyn, Ek kan gaan met wat, selfs al het ek kan nie ten volle verstaan ​​nie, want ek is nie 'n Zen meester. En as ek was, Ek sou waarskynlik nie te veel bekommerd wees oor logies verstaan ​​dinge. Begrip is net 'n verkeerde intellektuele oefening in futiliteit.

As 'n morele stelling, egter, hierdie uitnodiging in die oomblik te leef laat veel te wense oor. Is dit 'n uitnodiging om die gevolge van jou aksies te ignoreer? Jy kompartemente jou tydlyn in 'n groot verlede, 'n groot toekoms en klein teenwoordig. Jy ignoreer die verlede en die toekoms, en leef in die hede. Geen berou. Geen sorge. Wat anders kon hierdie slagspreuk “Leef in die oomblik” beteken?

Why Should I Be Good?

Knowledge of death is a sad thing. Not as a general piece of information, but in as applied to a particular individual. I remember only too vividly my own sense of helplessness and sadness towards the end of my father’s life, when it became clear to me that he had only a few weeks left. Until then, I could never really understand the grief associated with death of a loved one, given the absolute certainty and naturalness of death. In werklikheid, I couldn’t understand my own grief and often wondered if I was romanticizing it, or feeling it because it was expected of me.

It is very difficult to know people, even ourselves. There are multiple obscuring levels of consciousness and existence in our inner selves. And we can penetrate only a limited number of them to see within ourselves. Therefore I find myself doubting my grief, despite its directly perceived realness and existence. Perhaps the grief arising from the loss of a loved one is so primal that we do not need to doubt it; but I cannot help doubting even the most obvious of feelings and sensations. Na alles, I am the dude who goes around insisting that reality is unreal!

Die “loss” of a hated one, by virtue of its mathematical symmetry, should generate something like the opposite of grief. The opposite of grief is perhaps glee, although one is too civilized to let oneself feel it. Maar ernstig, I once heard a stress reduction expert mention it. Hy het gesê, “What if your boss stresses you out? Imagine, end of the day, he also will be dead!”

Ja, the fact that we will all die is a serious social and moral problem. How much of a problem it is is not fully appreciated due to the taboo nature of the subject. I once read a novel in Malayalam describing a village in the sixties ravaged by smallpox. Some parts of this novel illustrated the connection between death and morality. Jy sien, morality is such a holy cow that we cannot examine it, much less question it, without being called all sorts of bad names. Being “goeie” is considered a “goeie” thing, and is taken to be beyond rationalization. Ek bedoel, we may ask questions like, “What is good?”, “What makes something good, something else bad?” ens. But we cannot realistically ask the question, “Why should I be good?” Being good is just good, and we are expected to ignore the circularity in this statement.

For a minute, let’s not assume that being good is good. I think the knowledge of imminent death would make us shed this assumption, maar ons sal later kry om dit te. Vir nou, let’s think of morality as a logical risk-reward calculation, rather than a god-given axiom. If somebody proposes to you, “Why don’t you shoot to be a drug dealer? [Pun attempted] Good money there…,” your natural reaction would be, “Drugs kill people, killing people is bad, no way I am getting into it.” Nou, that is a moral stance. If you were amoral, you may think, “Drug dealing involves violence. There is a good chance that I will get shot or caught. Thirty to life in a federal penitentiary is no walk in the park. No way I am getting into it.” This is a risk-reward analysis, but with the same end result.

I put it to you that the origin of most of our morality is this risk-reward analysis. If it wasn’t, why would we need the police and the criminal justice system? It is this risk-reward analysis that can get skewed because of an impending death, if we let ourselves notice it. Jy sien, the concept of crime and punishment (or action and consequence, to be value-neutral) is not so simple, like most things in real life. To be a deterrent, the severity of punishment has to be proportional, not only to the foulness of the crime, but also to the probability of its detection. Byvoorbeeld, if you know that you will get caught every single time you speed, speeding tickets need not cost you thousands of dollars — a couple of dollars will do the trick of discouraging you from speeding. Such minuscule punishments do exist for little “crimes.” In public toilets, leaving the shower or sink faucet running would be a small crime because it wastes water, and the landlord’s funds. To fight this crime came spring-loaded faucets that shut themselves down after ten or 15 seconds. So you get “caught” every time you try to leave the water running, but the “punishment” is merely that you have to push the release button again. Now we have faucets with electronic sensors with even shorter temporal horizons for crime and punishment.

The severity of a pain is not merely its intensity, but its duration as well. Given that death puts a definitive end to our worldly durations, how does it affect our notion of punishment commensurate with crime? My third post on the philosophy of death will examine that aspect.

Die taboe

Death is a taboo subject. We are not supposed talk about it, or even think about it. It is almost like if we did, death might take notice of us, and we can do without that kind of attention. If we want to be inconspicuous anywhere at all, it is in front of Death.

I have been watching Six Feet Under recently, which is probably behind these musings on death. I am curious though — why is the topic of death such a taboo, despite its natural inevitability? I don’t mean the superstitious kind of taboo (“Doen nie, doen nie, doen nie, you are not going to die any time soon, touchwood!”), but the intellectual kind. The kind of chill that comes about if you try holding a conversation about it over a beer or at a dinner table. Why is death such a taboo?

To say that we are just scared of death is a bit of an oversimplification. Sure we fear death, but we fear public speaking more, but we can still talk about the latter. We have to find the reason for the special tabooness of death elsewhere.

One thing special about death is that it is a great equalizer — a fact almost too obvious to appreciate. Everybody dies — regardless of whatever else they do in their lives. Perhaps this ultimate leveling of the field may be a bit distressing to the more competitive among us. However high we soar, or however low we sink, at the end of our days, the score is all reset and the slate is wiped clean.

This slate-wiping business also is troublesome for another reason. It is so damn permanent. Its permanence has an aspect never present in any other kind of pain and suffering we go through (including public speaking). One of my personal techniques to handle minor aches and pains (such as a root canal, or even deeper wounds like the loss of a loved one) is to make use of just this lack of permanence. I remind myself that it is going to pass, in die tyd. (For some strange reason, I do this in French, “Ça va pas tarder,” hoewel, to be correct, I think I should be telling myself, “Ça va pas durer.”) I even shared this technique with my son when he broke his arm and was in excruciating pain. I told him that the agony would soon abate. Wel, I said it using different words, and I fancy the little fellow understood, although he kept screaming his head off.

We can handle any “normal” pain by just waiting it out, but not the pain of death, which lasts for ever. Ça va durer. Is this permanence behind our fear of it? Miskien. With absolute permanence comes absolute imperviousness, as any Spiderman fan would appreciate. What lies beyond death is unknown. And unknowable. Despite all the religions of the world telling us various mystical things about what lies beyond (jy weet, like heaven and hell, Karma and reincarnation etc.), nobody really believes it. Ek weet, Ek weet, some may honestly insist that they really really do, but when push comes to shove, at an instinctive, gut level, nobody does. Not even the ones who are certain that they will end up in heaven. Why else would holy men have security details? In Of Human Bondage, Maugham caricatures this strange lack (or impossibility) of real faith vis-à-vis death in his portrayal of the last days of the Vicar of Blackstable.

To live with any sense of purpose, I think we have to ignore death. A finite span of existence is just absurd at multiple levels. It makes all our lofty goals and ideals absurd. It makes our sense of good and evil absurd. It makes whatever we think of as the purpose of life absurd. It even makes the modest purpose of life proposed in the DNA-based evolutionary explanation (that we just want to live a little longer) absurd, for any finite increment in our life span is essentially zero when compared to the infinity of time, as the nerdy ones among us would readily appreciate. In kort, there is only one real problem with life, which is death. Since we cannot avoid dying and paying taxes, may be we can avoid thinking and talking about it — a plausible reason behind the taboo nature of the topic of death.

Hoe om geld te maak

After my musings on God and atheism, which some may have found useless, let’s look at a supremely practical problem — how to make money. Loads of it. Apparently, it is one of the most frequently searched phrases in Google, and the results usually attempt to separate you from your cash rather than help you make more of it.

Om eerlik te wees, this post won’t give you any get-rich-quick, sure-fire schemes or strategies. What it will tell you is why and how some people make money, and hopefully uncover some new insights. You may be able to put some of these insights to work and make yourself rich — if that’s where you think your happiness lies.

By now, it is clear to most people that they cannot become filthy rich by working for somebody else. In werklikheid, that statement is not quite true. CEOs and top executives all work for the shareholders of the companies that employ them, but are filthy rich. Ten minste, some of them are. Maar, in die algemeen, it is true that you cannot make serious money working in a company, statistically speaking.

Working for yourself — if you are very lucky and extremely talented — you may make a bundle. When we hear the word “rich,” the people that come to mind tend to be ('n) entrepreneurs/industrialists/software moguls — like Bill Gates, Richard Branson etc., (b) celebrities — actors, writers etc., (c) investment professionals — Warren Buffet, byvoorbeeld, en (d) fraudsters of the Madoff school.

There is a common thread that runs across all these categories of rich people, and the endeavors that make them their money. It is the notion of scalability. To understand it well, let’s look at why there is a limit to how much money you can make as a professional. Let’s say you are a very successful, highly-skilled professional — say a brain surgeon. You charge $10k a surgery, and perform one a day. So you make about $2.5 million a year. Serious money, geen twyfel. How do you scale it up though? By working twice as long and charging more, may be you can make $5 million or $10 miljoen. But there is a limit you won’t be able to go beyond.

The limit comes about because the fundamental economic transaction involves selling your time. Although your time may be highly-skilled and expensive, you have only 24 hours in a day to sell. That is your limit.

Now take the example of, sê, John Grisham. He spends his time researching and writing his best-selling books. In that sense, he sells his time as well. But the big difference is that he sells it to many mense.

We can see a similar pattern in software products like Windows XP, performances by artists, sports events, movies and so on. One performance or accomplishment is sold countless times. With a slight stretch of imagination, we can say that entrepreneurs are also selling their time (that they spend setting up their businesses) multiple times (to customers, clients, passengers etc.) This is the only way to address the scalability issue that comes about due to the paucity of time.

Investment professionals (bankers) do it too. They develop new products and ideas that they can sell to the masses. Daarbenewens, they make use of a different angle that we discussed in the Filosofie van Geld. They focus on the investment value of money to make oodles of it. Dit is nie so erg dat hulle neem jou geld as deposito, leen dit uit as lenings, en verdien om die verspreiding. Diegene eenvoudige tye weg is vir 'n goeie. Die banke maak gebruik van die feit dat beleggers eis die hoogste moontlike opbrengs vir die laagste moontlike risiko. Enige geleentheid om hierdie risiko-beloning koevert te stoot is 'n wins potensiaal. Wanneer hulle geld maak vir jou , hulle vra hul vergoeding en jy is gelukkig om dit te betaal.

Sit dit op die manier, belegging klink soos 'n positiewe konsep, wat dit is, in ons huidige modus van denke. Ons kan maklik maak dit 'n negatiewe ding deur die uitbeelding van die vraag na die belegging waarde van geld as gierigheid. Dit volg dan dat ons almal is gulsig, en dat dit ons gierigheid wat brandstof die gek vergoedingspakkette van die top-vlak bestuurders. Gierigheid ook brandstof bedrog – Ponzi en piramideskemas.

There is a thin blurry line between the schemes that thrive on other people’s greed and confidence jobs. If you can come up with a scheme that makes money for others, and stay legal (if not moral), then you will make money. You can see that even education, traditionally considered a higher pursuit, is indeed an investment against future earnings. Viewed in that light, you will understand the correlation between the tuition fees at various schools and the salaries their graduates command.