Re: Taking the billion? Re: Gedankenexperiments

Date view Thread view Subject view Author view

From: Dave Winer (
Date: Thu Aug 17 2000 - 02:57:53 PDT

I have a different philosophy, but I respect yours and enjoy the way you express yourself.

I believe we're all barking farting chihuauhuas, no matter how much money you have you die anyway, and your lifespan is incomprehensibly short and the space you occupy infintesmally small, even if you "own" the whole earth. Build your asteroid defenses, and die before they're needed. Better not to build them at all.

People "seem" to be happy, but that doesn't mean they're happy. It's a lot of work to seem happy. It's also a lot of work to *be* happy, as an adult, but it's a totally different kind of work.

The root of unhappiness, imho, for rich or poor, is the desire to be what you can't be, to have what you can't have. What Larry Ellison and Bill Gates, the people, not the icons, really want is something their mothers didn't give them as children. Of course I don't know that for a fact, it's just a theory. But in that they'd be like every other middle aged man, which is exactly what they are.

I have a suggestion for you. Forget about other people for a moment, focus on yourself. What would want if you had a billion dollars? I find that if people really do that, write it down, edit it, revise the list, what happens is they find that the things they want have nothing to do with money. Something to play with, have fun with, if you do it, you'll solve the puzzle.

I've done it myself. My list contains things that are a little too personal to disclose on a list like this, though. ;->


  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Jeff Bone
  To: Dave Winer
  Cc: Gordon Mohr ; FoRK
  Sent: Thursday, August 17, 2000 2:25 AM
  Subject: Re: Taking the billion? Re: Gedankenexperiments

  Dave Winer wrote:

    Another thing. Above a certain, relatively low level, there's absolutely no
    point in having more money.
  Au contraire. For the purposes of argument, let's say I'm hardwired to be perpetually fearful of single points of failure for humanity, in particular let's say asteroid strikes. (I'm riffing off Flynt's near-future sci fi series [1] etc. here, not painting a picture of myself. But anyway.)
  Let's say that I'm frustrated by the lack of progress, indeed concern, in this matter by existing governments and agencies. What does it take for me, personally, to construct a reasonable planetary defense against asteroid strikes, thereby defusing my own fearful obsession? Well, lots of bucks enable building the keiretsu, buying the political influence, forging the relationships, etc.

  Dollars don't just translate into things like bedrooms or cars. Dollars can translate into desired change of just about any imaginable kind.

  Dave's point might be true for most people. I would suggest that it's true for those people because they perhaps don't have the capacity to understand what to do with large amounts of money, or needs / goals that are unattainable without that kind of money.

    Something to ponder, if it's so great being a billionaire why are there so
    many miserable billionaires?
  I only know two billionaires personally, and while I'm not like drinking buddies with either of them or anything I'd have to observe from a distance that they both seem pretty happy. Hell, one of them was even able to use their swing to change the smoking ordinance that prevented him from lighting up his stogies in this top floor office suite in downtown Houston. :shrug --- maybe your experience is different, Dave, but I suspect the unhappy billionaire is more a figment of media and popular culture than a common syndrome.
  Next time you talk to your buddies, Dave, ask 'em whether there's anything that they want that they haven't been able to buy.


  [1] Firestar by Michael Flynn

Date view Thread view Subject view Author view

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Aug 17 2000 - 03:06:37 PDT