Category: Practical Idealism

2010 Review and 2011 Tentative Plans

The year 2010 went by fast. Looking at the three goals for this year, I was only able to accomplish goal #1 which was to code and document a budget-centric system. I was not able to implement even one smaller study (goal #2), although I was able to refine my conceptual approach throughout all of last year. So even though I was not able to work on actual studies, the framework for conducting studies should lead to better implementation and more convincing results. This goal is now 2011:goal #1.

As far as the third goal of recreating a more-user friendly website, I did not make any progress on that at all. It was just really at the bottom of my priority list. This goal will become 2011:goal #2.

After much thought regarding my limitations and abilities, I plan to commit 15 hours a week on currency-related projects this year, starting possibly in March. I am still settling into a new routine, so it is hard to be more definite about this year’s plan. Despite having a good view of long-term goals, I have to be able to fit personal projects around newfound opportunities in order to have a realistic chance of success. I’ll post more informative updates once I get a clearer picture of various responsibilities, schedules, and paths forward.

The Dark Mansion

An inspirational excerpt from “Fermat’s Enigma” by Simon Singh:

…getting this far has required enormous determination to overcome the periods of self-doubt. Wiles describes his experience of doing mathematics in terms of a journey through a dark unexplored mansion. “One enters the first room of the mansion and it’s dark. Completely dark. One stumbles around bumping through the furniture, but gradually you learn where each piece of furniture is. Finally, after six months or so, you find the light switch, you turn it on, and suddenly it’s all illuminated. You can see exactly where you were. Then you move into the next room and spend another six months in the dark. So each of these breakthroughs, while sometimes momentary, sometimes over a period of a day or two, they are the culmination of, and couldn’t exist without, the many months of stumbling around in the dark that precede them.” … “I really believed that I was on the right track, but that did not mean that I would reach my goal.”

Andrew Wiles spent 7 years of dedicated effort to prove Fermat’s Theorem, plus another year fixing a subtle error in the proof. Significant progress, even an outright solution to a problem, is bound to result from the right combination of skills, dedication and detachment from thoughts of rewards or hardship.

Of Workers and Worders

“I see you are a worker. You are not a fanatic. You will change whenever you find yourself in the wrong. There is no harm as long as you are not fanatical. Whether you are in the right or I am in the right, results will prove. Then I may go your way or you may come my way; or both of us may go a third way. So go ahead with your work. I will help you, though your method is against mine.” [An Atheist with Gandhi by Gora]

The above was taken from an exchange between Gandhi and the quoted book’s author, which had sought advise from the Mahatma. If the reader doubts that people could effectively work together despite having fundamental differences, I would recommend reading the short book by Gora. No one denies the idealism of these men, and yet what really stands out in their discussions is the importance of having concrete results to back theories.

Through Gora’s endearing recollection of his time with Gandhi, I could imagine myself receiving advise directly from eminent practical idealists. More than once, I have used the following curt advise to pull myself above recurring doubts: “Go and work. Work solves your difficulties.” On the other hand, when I feel getting carried away by words and flights of ideas, I find this quote brings me back on solid ground: “You are too theoretical. I am not so intellectual. Go to professors and discuss.”

Immediate relevance and clarity of insight more than makes up for the lack of eloquence in the preceding advise.

Practical Idealism

I don’t know how and when the idea of independent currency brands and issuers would become widely adopted, but a word of caution to the early adopters:

“As long as you derive inner help and comfort from anything, you should keep it. If you were to give it up in a mood of self-sacrifice or out of a stern sense of duty, you would continue to want it back, and that unsatisfied want would make trouble for you. Only give up a thing when you want some other condition so much that the thing no longer has any attraction for you, or when it seems to interfere with that which is more greatly desired.” (Richard B. Gregg recounting M.K. Gandhi’s advice, in the book The Value of Voluntary Simplicity, online copy here.)

If a person’s current line of work allows him or her to achieve peace of mind, as far as being able to provide for family and to contribute to society without personal moral or ethical objections, then the wages from that work does not have to be given up in order to try out a satconomy implementation.

As for myself, I think of this effort as somewhat of a personal hobby/duty. If and when the time comes that I lose interest in the salary that I earn as a technical writer, or if I conclude that my contract work is an obstacle to the effective demonstration of a satconomy framework system, then only at that point would I have to give up earning ‘regular money’. I will be content to be able to simply cultivate a currency brand ( at this point, just like any start-up entepreneur who hopes to eventually gain brand recognition. However, unlike an enterpreneur who looks forward to a big payday at an IPO, my goal is conceptually simpler but perhaps much harder to implement: influence the market to sustainably support what my entity’s currency brand represents.