Re: Thirty, rest, and motion.

Adam Rifkin -4K (
Tue, 14 Dec 1999 00:23:49 -0800 (PST)

I'm going to take this opportunity to do something I haven't done in a
great long while: employ the Rifkin Plagiarism Automaton (Patent Pending)
to craft a reasonable-sounding reply that makes for fine sound bites if
deconstructed but makes no sense whatsoever if read straight through.
I'll preface this post with a single original thought: I want to live
again in a world in which ideas like don't get funded.
That said, time to let 'er rip...

Tom wrote:
> I haven't seen anyone else reply to (well, comment on, since it brooks
> no reply) Adam's amazing post, so let me simply say: amazing.

Amazing that I took the time to spew stream of conscious but didn't take
the time to make it coherent enough to actually say anything. In that
sense it is much like a buffet: not very good but at least there's
plenty of it. :)

> And right in its plea to see the circle as well as its atoms, the
> shape of the world as well as the spike in the stock.

I like to think of it this way: if you try to reconstruct someone else's
deconstruction of an original that you have not witnessed first hand,
then you may end up with something completely different from the
original, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.

> I remember a decade ago trying to write a piece about the opening up
> of Eastern Europe, as the iron curtain came clattering down, and
> copying every day the news from the AP wire, till I realized I had
> built up page after page of fish-wrap, none of it interesting in the
> least, except insofar as it could be summoned up to illustrate a
> point.

This sounds like a perfect example of the tautlogy that you're not lost
if you don't care where you are.

> And so it is as this decade ends, all our minds focussed on the
> individual dot-com dots, wondering (not wrongly, if money is all it's
> about, which of course is not so) if this dot is my ticket to fame,
> fortune, and a new Porsche once I am allowed to sell some of the stock.

My S1 Bentley does one eighty five,
I lost my license so now I don't drive.

[Memo to joebar: what's with sending an URL with no bits (or at the very
least, some void)?]

> But what's the point? (Rather, what's the circle?) Warren Buffet said
> in Fortune that when a revolution comes, it's very difficult to go
> long on the new world (because so many of its pioneers die before they
> get to the promised land); better to short the ancien regime; don't
> try to pick the winner among the 100 upstart startup car companies;
> instead, short the horse.

Blessed are they who Go Around In Circles, for they shall be known as
Wheels. And they shall be profitable both before AND after the

Speaking of which, whatever happened to revolution for the hell of it?
Whatever happened to protesting nothing in particular, just because it's
Saturday, and we have nothing else to do?

> My kingdom for a horse!

Said Ralph Fiennes in Parade magazine 9Mar1997, "The people I consider
successful are so because of how they handle their responsibilities to
other people, how they approach the future, people who have a full sense
of the value of their life and what they want to do with it. I call
people 'successful' not because they have money or their business is
doing well but because, as human beings, they have a fully developed
sense of being alive and engaged in a lifetime task of collaboration
with other human beings... their mothers and fathers, their family,
their friends, their loved ones, the friends who are dying, the friends
who are being born."

> p.s. Of course, time and creativity aren't the only challenges: The
> greatest of these is love, some guy said.

I see time and creativity as the only challenges because the living can
only have finite quantities of them as input and output, respectively,
but the gulf between them is potentially infinite.

At least with love there is duality: the one thing we can never get
enough of is love, and the one thing we can never give enough of is
love. This duality creates an interesting reward/knowledge
relationship: there is no reward for love except the experience of
loving, and nothing to be learned by it except humility.

I do believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the
final word in reality.

John wrote:
> John> That was vintage Adam stuff. I miss it.
> Perhaps "classic" is a better word. Anyway, I still miss it. :-/

I knew I shouldn't have messed with the formula, that "New Adam" could
never be as universally drunk as "Adam Classic". (Nor as existentially
drunk: once, in the wilds of India, I lost my corkscrew, and we were
forced to live on nothing but food and water for days. :)

By the way John, I'm assuming that now that you work for Cisco you have
lots of money since we've all heard the rumors about how great those
Cisco stock-equity plans are. If you have $100,000 to spare for your
love, then head for New York's Waldorf Towers for its Ultimate Fantasy.
The package includes a lavish suite, dinner, a Broadway show, a
helicopter tour, a haircut and styling for the grand outing, a $10,000
shopping spree at Saks Fifth Avenue, and oh, yes, a $92,000 red Mercedes
Benz SL500. (They charge a little extra for a Bentley S1 substitution,
though. :)

Udhay wrote:
> I suspect many such comments would have gone e2e, directly to Adam.

They did. At first I spent countless seconds crafting replies. But
then I remembers that life is not lost by dying; life is lost minute by
minute, day by dragging day, in all the many keyboard-typing ways.

> I sent it on a a few people who're hitting 30 soon...

Now that I've been to the puppet show and seen the strings, I'd like to
revisit what I wrote five years ago (pre-FoRK) when Rohit was hitting 20
two weeks before I hit 25: "[Rohit keeps as a rule of thumb the]
Mathematician's Rule of Twentyfive, which states that anything that was
ever useful in mathematics was discovered and/or proved by a person by
the time s/he was 25. We extend this rule to 30 for all fields besides
mathematics; in fact, the number 30 also corresponds to the average
person's life expectancy back when the institution of marriage was
invented. Let's face it: you make your reputation by 30, and then it's
all downhill from there. This comes from an ISI study of citations
charting scientists' initial most-cited paper vs age, where the media
ranged from very early twenties for mathematicians to early 30s for

Whew. What an agist thing for me to have written. So instead of
syndicating past sins, this time I'll plagiarize a less cringely
paragraph at 30 to look back on when I'm 35 and Rohit is hitting 30
himself: "Events unfold so unpredictably, so unfairly, human happiness
does not seem to have been included in the design of creation. It is
only we, with our capacity to love, that give meaning to the indifferent


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