These sermons always contain the weird factoid that the Bible talks more about money than other issue which isn’t something that I would want to be widely known if I where in the head of a church. Out of all the moral issues that could be put at number one (or even top ten for that matter) why intentionally go out of your way to call attention to something that makes it look like you are extracting money out of people over a more clear cut moral topic?
Much of the basic logic about finances is off too. They will say isn’t it fair that a poorer person can pay a lower amount since it is based on percentage? Well, no a billionaire won’t need to change their lifestyle at all if they give 10% of their earnings. The amount of money they have is more than they are spending. For a poor enough person to spend 10% may mean not eating their next meal. Remember you aren’t giving 10% you are giving additional 10% on top of what you are already paying. If your housing is in an area that is double the price of another low income person who has the luxury of living in a place that costs far less none of this gets taken into account. This is why it is a common practice people do with funding a service like a podcast or app these days is to say if they can’t afford it then don’t pay for it. They would give the example of struggling to buy a cup of coffee and making that the bar for forgoing a moderate amount of profit for the greater good.
Folksinger Tracy Chapman sang the lines “Money's only paper only ink we'll destroy ourselves if we can't agree how the world turns.” It seems so strange that this paper is what the world revolves around when most of the time earning money isn’t always calibrated to be awarded for hardest worker or to go to the most exceptional work. Left leaning politicians will often draw comparisons between some entry level burger flipper job and a billionaire while shouting that they should be “paying their fair share” (whatever that means.) This extreme income scale between Jeff Bezos and burger flipper is very difficult for people to get their mind around. If one doesn’t look close at the details they might think that the solution is to keep climbing the ladder out of the entry level jobs and at some point you will get to a point in between these two extreme positions. With earning numbers this big you really need the help of a site like “Wealth, shown to scale” which shows the earnings of other professions placed on top of Bezos current wealth. When you see the average lifetime, lifetime, lifetime earnings of a doctor in comparison to Bezos it is as if the difference of comparing one grain of sand to all the sand on the beach. A doctor has an important job, one day he may be the person who keeps you alive. At one point I figured that you would have to fill the massive Seahawks Stadium with doctors to roughly equal what Bezos makes.
Even people that you might guess would make a comparable amount, such as the CEO of Apple, make a sliver in comparison. All this going to a person who doesn’t necessarily make the best shopping experience. I miss the local mall I went to as a teen that I would go to often multiple times a week. As an adult physical stores provided benefits to me as a designer like being able to paper in person. Knowing what it would feel like or how it would fold or even its exact appearance gets very hard to do online. I wouldn’t even say that Amazon has the most important online shopping experience. Ebay allowed me to buy specific retro items for my 90s website that would be close to impossible to find before the internet. Etsy provides the imaginative shopping experience of allowing you to buy custom goods from an artist. The majority of what I would buy at Amazon when I was still their customer you could buy just a few miles down the road. I started using them regularly when I got out of college. The books I would purchase from them were almost always ones I first thumbed through at a physical bookstore. It wasn’t even really saving me a trip.
I so often hear that a lot that other people are envious of what a billionaire makes. For many people I am sure they just want their earnings to be somewhat proportional to the value they provide to society at large. It doesn’t have to necessarily to pay that is the exact the value of their work just are is their value somewhat inline to what they give. When we had a career day at Eckstein the kids were mostly talking about what jobs would make massive amounts of money and one girl said “what if you just want to live a normal average living?” What about all the things a person does which are important but society at large doesn’t value? It wasn’t until many years later that we had a presidential candidate that had to point out that a mother does a lot of work and gets zero pay. His universal basic income would in part address situations like this. People that practice Street Epistemology is a service that makes people deeply investigate their beliefs over the course of 1-3 meetings. The outcomes of these talks are often astonishing yet I know initial practitioners would also make nothing (and maybe that is still the case.) One of the first people to start doing this was married to a doctor whose high income paid for his video recording supplies and ability to not need to hold down a traditional job. The work he was currently doing was immensely more value than whatever he was doing before for pay.
November focused on fiscal resources and December and, the next article January, are about the value of time. I so often hear people talk about busyness as a virtue without giving the rational for doing so. So many people think that you should aspire to be a busybody. This month I just listened to a talk on the Waking Up app called “Time Management for Mere Mortals” that said you can’t do everything that is important to you. This actually frees you because you stop trying to everything when you know you can’t do it all. It allows you to put the necessary time into a few things and do the best job you can on them. I believe he said five things are what you should focus on.
During the pandemic my focus has been on making websites like this one. This project has involved several parts; writing articles, scanning and capturing photos, learning hundred(s) of tools to create the pages and then the page creation itself. While the work was a bit much keeping it around four or five things allowed the project to keep moving along. There was a few weeks were I was making two pages at the same time and I could tell that I was skidding at the edges of what was feasible. Had I kept up that workload for several months I would burn out. It also makes it difficult for others working alongside you; the developer of the website tools I use was expressing frustration in why it took me several weeks to get back to him on a page we were working on. Due to how many other people he was helping he couldn’t remember what we were doing so I had to waste time repeating it. A workload that is over-stacked can cause you to work less efficiently so you end up working to get a lot less done. The last couple paragraphs talked about the time you set aside for work; now I would like to consider how it relates to the rest of your life.
Two months in the desert coming to an end
Arrived with a workload out of control
Some duties complete now to others to send
Pushing hard rewarded with some wonderful lull
Balance between life, work off kilter.
Very little mediation and now lost in thought
Mental chaos scantly a filter
Long to restore clearheadedness I before sought.
Days same from one to the next
A step towards newness on this path I traverse.
New skills learnt I can now flex
I want not my momentum to reverse.
Only a day left in the desert as I prepare home to fly
what will become of this brand new season?
Veer from sameness to diversity I must try,
the need to be changelessness lessened its reason.
As I go back I’ll say no to thousands of things,
for how else will anything be done right?
Those with endless lists which they cling,
let it go if you ever are to take flight.