Tag Archives: kehidupan

From Here to Eternity

The temporal aspect of punishment extends beyond the span between the crime and its punishment. The severity of the punishment is also measured in terms of its duration. And death puts a definitive end to all man-made durations. This interference of death in our temporal horizons messes up what we mean by proportional punishment, which is the reason behind the general lack of gratification on Madoff’s long sentence. If a heinous crime like a senseless murder brings about only a life-sentence, and if you know that “kehidupan” means only a couple of months or so, then the punishment in and of itself is incapable of deterring the crime. And when the crime is not as senseless, but prompted by careful material considerations, it is a deliberate risk-reward analysis that determines its commission. A comprehensive risk-reward analysis would involve, Saya bayangkan, a consideration of the probability of detection, the intensity and duration of the potential punishment, and the time one has to enjoy the spoils and/or suffer the punishment. There may be other factors to consider, sudah tentu. I wouldn’t know because I haven’t actually done such analyses. Not yet.

The smallpox story I mentioned earlier brings these considerations to the foreground, along with how the relatively high probability of death from the disease affects them. Knowing that there isn’t much time to enjoy life (or face the music), two older gentlemen of the story decide to go and feast themselves on a local prostitute of the village whom they have been eying for a while. It is not that the consequences (spousal anger, bad diseases etc.) of their action have changed. Just that their potential duration has decreased drastically because of the outbreak of smallpox. Knowledge of our death has a dramatic effect on our moral inhibitions born out of risk-reward analyses.

It is in this light that we have to examine clichéd statements like, “Live in the present moment,” atau “Live everyday as though it is your last.” What do these statements really mean? The second one is especially interesting because it makes a direct reference to death. Is it asking us to shed our inhibitions vis-à-vis all our actions? Jika ya, it may not be such a positive invitation (yang, sudah tentu, is a statement of value-judgment emanating form a sense of a morality of unknown origins). Or it could be a simple exhortation not to procrastinate — a positive thing by the same uncertain morality.

“Living in the present” is even more puzzling. I guess it comes from the Zen notion of “di sini” dan “now.” I can kind of understand the Zen notion in terms of cognitive neuroscience, although that is the sort of thing that Zen would ask us not to do — understanding one thing in terms of something else. According to the Zen school, an experience has to be assimilated before the intellect has a chance to color it in terms of preconceived notions and filters. In the absolute stillness of a mind, presumably brought about by years of introspection and intense mediation, experiences take on perceptually accurate and intellectually uncolored forms, which they say is a good thing. If the statement “Live in the present moment” refers to this mode of experiencing life, fine, I can go with that, even though I cannot fully understand it because I am not a Zen master. And if I was, I probably wouldn’t worry too much about logically understanding stuff. Understanding is merely a misguided intellectual exercise in futility.

As a moral statement, Walau bagaimanapun, this invitation to live in the present moment leaves much to be desired. Is it an invitation to ignore the consequences of your actions? You compartmentalize your timeline into a large past, a large future and tiny present. You ignore the past and the future, and live in the present. No regrets. No anxieties. What else could this slogan “Live in the present moment” bermakna?

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. Malah, 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. Lagipun, I am the dude who goes around insisting that reality is unreal!

Yang “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. Tetapi serius, I once heard a stress reduction expert mention it. Beliau berkata,, “What if your boss stresses you out? Imagine, end of the day, he also will be dead!”

Ya, 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. Anda lihat, morality is such a holy cow that we cannot examine it, much less question it, without being called all sorts of bad names. Being “baik” is considered a “baik” perkara, and is taken to be beyond rationalization. Maksud saya, we may ask questions like, “What is good?”, “What makes something good, something else bad?” dan lain-lain. 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, tetapi kita akan mendapatkan kepadanya kemudian. Buat masa, 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.” Sekarang, 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. Anda lihat, 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. Sebagai contoh, 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.

Topic Taboo

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 (“Jangan, tidak, tidak, 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 time. (For some strange reason, I do this in French, “Ça va pas tarder,” although, 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. Baik, 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? Mungkin. 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 (anda tahu, like heaven and hell, Karma and reincarnation etc.), nobody really believes it. Saya tahu, Saya tahu, 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? Dalam 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. Pendek, 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.

Bagaimana untuk Buat Duit

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. Banyak ia. Rupa-rupanya, ia adalah satu daripada ungkapan yang paling kerap dicari di Google, dan keputusan biasanya cuba untuk memisahkan anda dari tunai anda dan bukannya membantu anda membuat lebih dari itu.

Untuk berlaku adil, this post won’t give you any get-rich-quick, skim pasti-api atau strategi. Apa yang akan memberitahu anda adalah mengapa dan bagaimana sesetengah orang membuat wang, dan diharapkan membongkar beberapa wawasan baru. Anda mungkin boleh meletakkan beberapa laporan tersebut untuk bekerja dan membuat diri anda kaya — jika itulah di mana anda berfikir pembohongan kebahagiaan anda.

Sekarang, ia adalah jelas kepada kebanyakan orang yang mereka tidak boleh menjadi kaya-raya dengan bekerja untuk orang lain. Malah, that statement is not quite true. CEO dan eksekutif atas semua kerja bagi pemegang saham syarikat-syarikat yang mengambil mereka bekerja, tetapi kaya. Sekurang-kurangnya, sebahagian daripada mereka adalah. Tetapi, secara umum, ia adalah benar bahawa anda tidak boleh membuat wang yang serius bekerja di syarikat, statistik bercakap.

Bekerja untuk diri sendiri — jika anda sangat bertuah dan sangat berbakat — anda boleh membuat berkas. Apabila kita mendengar perkataan “kaya,” orang-orang yang datang ke fikiran cenderung untuk menjadi (yang) usahawan / pengusaha / moguls perisian — seperti Bill Gates, Richard Branson dan lain-lain, (b) selebriti — pelakon, penulis dan lain-lain, (c) profesional pelaburan — Warren Buffet, misalnya, dan (d) penipu sekolah Madoff yang.

Terdapat satu tali yang berjalan merentasi semua kategori orang kaya, dan usaha yang membuat mereka wang mereka. Ia adalah idea berskala. Untuk memahami dengan baik, mari kita lihat mengapa terdapat had kepada berapa banyak wang yang anda boleh membuat sebagai profesional. Katakan anda seorang yang sangat berjaya, berkemahiran tinggi profesional — kata seorang pakar bedah otak. Anda mengenakan caj $ 10k pembedahan, and perform one a day. Jadi anda membuat kira-kira $2.5 juta setahun. Wang yang serius, tidak syak lagi. Bagaimana anda mendaki sehingga ia walaupun? Dengan bekerja dua kali ganda lebih panjang dan lebih mengecas, mungkin anda boleh membuat $5 juta atau $10 juta. Tetapi terdapat had anda tidak akan dapat melampaui.

Had ini berlaku kerana transaksi ekonomi asas melibatkan menjual masa anda. Walaupun masa anda mungkin berkemahiran tinggi dan mahal, anda mempunyai hanya 24 hours in a day to sell. Itulah had anda.

Sekarang mengambil contoh, mengatakan, John Grisham. Beliau menghabiskan masa menyelidik dan menulis buku beliau yang paling laris. Dalam pengertian itu, dia menjual zamannya dan juga. But the big difference is that he sells it to many orang-orang.

Kita boleh lihat corak yang sama dalam produk perisian seperti Windows XP, persembahan oleh artis, acara sukan, filem dan sebagainya. Satu prestasi atau pencapaian dijual berkali-kali. Dengan hamparan sedikit imaginasi, kita boleh mengatakan bahawa pengusaha turut menjual masa mereka (bahawa mereka menghabiskan mewujudkan perniagaan) beberapa kali (kepada pelanggan, pelanggan, penumpang dan lain-lain) Ini adalah satu-satunya cara untuk menangani isu berskala yang datang kira-kira kerana kekurangan masa.

Profesional pelaburan (bank-bank) melakukannya. Mereka membangunkan produk dan idea-idea yang mereka boleh menjual kepada orang ramai baru. Di samping itu, they make use of a different angle that we discussed in the Falsafah Wang. They focus on the investment value of money to make oodles of it. Ia tidak begitu banyak bahawa mereka mengambil wang anda sebagai deposit, meminjamkan sebagai pinjaman, dan mendapat penyebaran. Masa-masa yang mudah adalah pergi untuk selamanya. Bank-bank menggunakan fakta bahawa pelabur menuntut pulangan tertinggi yang mungkin untuk risiko terendah yang mungkin. Apa-apa peluang untuk menolak sampul surat risiko-ganjaran ini adalah potensi keuntungan. Apabila mereka membuat wang untuk anda , mereka menuntut pampasan mereka dan anda dengan senang hati membayar.

Letakkan ia cara yang, pelaburan bunyi seperti satu konsep yang positif, mana ia, dalam mod semasa kita berfikir. Kita boleh dengan mudah membuat ia satu perkara yang negatif dengan menggambarkan permintaan bagi nilai pelaburan yang tamak. Ia kemudian mengikuti bahawa kita semua adalah tamak, dan bahawa ia adalah ketamakan kita yang bahan api pakej pampasan gila eksekutif peringkat tertinggi. Ketamakan juga penipuan bahan api – skim Ponzi dan piramid.

There is a thin blurry line between the schemes that thrive on other people’s greed and confidence jobs. Jika anda boleh datang dengan skim yang membuat wang untuk orang lain, dan kekal undang-undang (jika tidak moral), then you will make money. You can see that even education, secara tradisinya dianggap usaha yang lebih tinggi, sesungguhnya merupakan satu pelaburan terhadap pendapatan masa depan. Dilihat dalam cahaya yang, anda akan memahami korelasi antara yuran pengajian di pelbagai sekolah dan gaji graduan perintah mereka.