Archive for the ‘ Musings ’ Category

Money

Yeah, I finally watched Into the Wild, and though I haven’t read the book and I think I might want to.  On second thought, maybe I won’t.  This is a great coming of age story about a kid who is fed up with society, or was it his parents?  Wasn’t he complaining about love too?  Okay it’s a movie about a bit of a cry baby who ran away from everything he knew in hopes of reaching some nirvana like realization.  My apologies should this reach any of the McCandless or any other friends and family of Christopher McCandless.  Truth is I see a lot of myself in Chris, but in fear of letting this post turn into a review I will stop here and get on with it.

In the movie, (I can’t speak on the actual memoir as I have not read it) he obviously displays a distaste for money and all things materialistic. I suppose its fits my demographic as a broke post-grad, but I can see how he felt that way.  It is sometimes peaceful to think of a time when we didn’t have savings accounts and stocks to watch while the nation reaches some insurmountable fiscal cliff looming over our existence as a reminder of how irresponsible we are with money.  Almost is if the cliff is taunting us saying “if your country cant manage its money what hopes do you have of ever doing so.”  Think of a time when the folds of your mattress was your bank bank account and anyone could tell you that the going price for a milk cow was just two chickens and five bales of hay, at least, as long as if you throw in your daughters hand in marriage to seal the deal.

The truth of the discussion where we say that people in simpler times had less to worry about, is that we are in fact being spoiled little pricks.  Sure they didn’t have quite as many appointments to keep track of as us but they were busy worrying about real problems like: getting enough wood to not freeze next winter, being robbed by bandits, or dying from this plague or that.  Besides, since money has been around since 2000BC is pretty much a good thing, you know things like, the wheel, and the alphabet and pet dogs.

Originally, money was a form of receipt, representing a store of food the community might share. This could be anything really; sea shells, bones, or pieces of jewelry.  The problem with this is that your currency loses all value outside of your sphere of influence.  It would be like trying to buy groceries with that holographic Charizard you saved from your Pokemon cards.  To a collector it is worth something but not to anyone outside the collector sphere.  Eventually people started digging up shiny rocks and trading them instead of those other fads like ivory beads, or Pokemon cards.

This led to coinage, where gold, silver, and copper were melted down and stamped for assurance of value.  There lies two problems with this.  First is that counter-fitting was easy as mixing gold with any old substance   Take some gold, mix it with bronze, lift the stamp, and make your own coin and -profit.  Second is that it relied on the three metals keeping the relative same price.   These days, precious metals change like Colorado weather, take a look http://www.goldprice.org/

In response, paper money was introduced and soon you have fait money, which is what most modern countries deal with today.  Fait money is currency given value by the government who issues it.  Which is why paper money from WWII was stamped “HAWAII” so that if Japan took the islands from us we could void all the currency in Hawaii.  Think of it as insurance in case the Emperor tried to buy our supplies from us with our own money.

You have to think of Money like the tool that it is.  One to keep track of worth and to unify people by giving them something everyone want to trade with, not just Pokemon cards.  True it can be hard to scrounge up at times.  Yet like the apple seed, if you invest in it and give it the right attention you can profit from it as well.

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Fame and Tranquility Can Never Be Bedfellows

As I meticulously comb through Christmas presents I tend to sort them into logical piles, such is my nature to bring order to chaos.  The piles range in neatness with the necessities like socks carefully packed away to the returns shamelessly stuffed in an old grocery bag.  But there is always the presents that don’t fit either.  You know the ones, thoughtful gifts if a little off base, or maybe just plain weird presents that are too unique to part with.  This is the fashion in which I received The Philosophy Book; it is best described as timeline of the study.  On of my favorite quotes I have read yet is “Fame and tranquility can never be bedfellows.”

Pictured here: Brittney Spears.

You see, man has been pondered thoughts about socialization since 4th century BC when Aristotle hastily claimed that a person must be social before any other philosophers could weigh in.  He said that only the godly and the beastly flourish alone.  So  introvert readers, which one are you?
Hundreds of years later a French philosopher by the name of Michel De Montaigne came along during the French Wars of Religion 1562–98 during which the Catholics and Protestants were at it yet again.

You see Michel was reflecting on his country’s harsh behavior,  he got to observe a great deal of political unrest in his time and followers of religions who were adopting a ‘mob mentality’ in his opinion. Notice that the result wasn’t just one war but a whole generation of sporadic outbursts that even had the power to draw England and Spain into the fight.  So Michel thought that tranquility depends upon the detachment from others opinions and seeking fame is gaining glory in the eyes of others, thereby seeking their opinions.  This theory would mean that if we seek fame we cannot reach detachment/tranquility, so fame and tranquility can never be bedfellows (such a fun word and never the place to use it).  This type of logical thinking is great to keep us on our minds sharp as brain-diamonds. Something like this will stick with me all day, and I find myself thinking about it waiting for the bus,  cooking dinner, at the gym etc.  Things like: “I agree monsieur, but surely that isn’t all it takes to be tranquil” or  “Do you  mean to apply this as a lifestyle, or simply mapping out social interactions on a whole?” and  “If we replace ‘fame’ for ‘anger’ and flip the sentence structure it sounds like something Yoda would say.”

Yocrates

Turns out Michel isn’t the only one to think about this  either.  Nietzsche has touched the topic and Richard Cecil says “Solitude shows us what we should be; society shows up what we are”
Cecil does seem to have a point, every time I go to Walmart I’m reminded how creepy, gross, and unhealthy we really are and there aren’t too many eligible bedfellows at Walmart either.  Don’t get mad I’m just telling it like I see it. I hope It’s not too soon in this blog’s life to tell jokes at others expenses. OH, you know what? I’m actually not
going to care what others think and just relax. Yep, it’s my blog and I kinda like doing things the way I’m doing them.

I like to eat dessert before dinner.

I like  anything Jim Henson.

and sometimes I like to find new and exciting ways to attach bread to cats.

If only I can haz such a mathematical cat

But I digress…

Philosophy is the love of wisdom, and studying it really does make us wiser, or more logical at the least.  So if you find yourself really liking logical thinking then consider doing something involving math, like computer science, because that is logical as Spock. If that’s not your thing maybe you can learn a language, also a logic task. So it would seem this entry is a bit of a tease. If you saw the title and thought I might unlock the ethics of fame and tranquility like dear Monsieur Michel De Montaigne, I’m afraid I will never be able explain the reasoning as well as he did. But you’re in luck, his work is carefully preserved forever on pen and paper and you can look up his essay “On Solitude”. Or if you want to troll me in a philosophical argument stick around, I will be writing a whole lot more of these under the “Musings” category and maybe “Observations” too, but definitely not the “Fiction” one. That category is reserved  for philosophical debates about Star Wars…

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